By James Raia
After sliding sales for several years because of its emphasis on sedans, Hyundai will soon debut its first pickup truck, the 2021 Santa Cruz.
First teased as a concept in 2015, the South Korean manufacturer will begin selling the Santa Cruz as a complement to its expanding non-sedan lineup. Hyundai recently added the Kona, Palisade and Venue crossovers. The debut date has not been announced.
Hyundai sold a manufacturer’s record of 768,057 vehicles in 2016. The tally fell to 688,771 last year.
Santa Cruz will have a unibody construction
Few details of the Santa Cruz have been released, but it’s expected to share underpinning with the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, which has a unibody construction. The Honda Ridgeline is currently the only unibody truck. Ford has also discussed a new car-based pickup, but it’s not scheduled for production.
The Santa Cruz, predicted to have naturally aspirated and turbo-4 engine options, will be made in Alabama. Hyundai announced the plant will spend $410 million in upgrades.
Hyundai may offer the Santa Cruz internationally as it does with its top-selling Santa Fe. The new pickup truck may also soon be offered in hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.
Trims, optional equipment and prices were not announced. The Santa Cruz will join its stablemates and offer an industry-best 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hyundai also offers a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and complimentary maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.