Hyundai eyes ute market with Santa Cruz concept

Hyundai eyes ute market with Santa Cruz concept

The reveal of the Santa Cruz Pickup Concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit shows that the Hyundai Motor Company is contemplating an entry into a growing and competitive market segment.

The Santa Cruz remains at this stage a pure concept only – no plans have yet been announced for its design and production. However, the company says market opportunities for a Hyundai utility vehicle globally are very real, especially in New Zealand.

Hyundai New Zealand says it is very interested in selling a utility vehicle to New Zealanders and believes the brand’s reputation for toughness and reliability will stand it in good stead if, and when, such a vehicle is brought to market.

Hyundai Motor Company says its concept reflects a new interpretation of pickup utility for Millennials, who represent the second-largest population of car buyers.

The concept is purposefully compact, and although it has four doors and seating for five, its overall footprint is similar to a small crossover utility vehicle (CUV).

Hyundai says the Santa Cruz, by design, isn’t an alternative to a pickup, so towing, payload and ground clearance were not primary goals. Rather, the Santa Cruz is intended to attract CUV and sedan buyers who are seeking greater utility, without the compromises offered by traditional pickups.

According to Hyundai Motor America corporate planning director Mark Dipko, the Santa Cruz pickup concept has been designed for ‘Urban Adventurers’.

It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel power-train delivering 142kW of power, and 407Nm of torque through Hyundai’s HTRAC All-wheel drive system.

The Santa Cruz Pickup concept features rear-hinged rear doors. The wheel arches, roof, and bed rails offer tie-down cleats for securing cargo of all shapes and sizes.

From the rear, the concept presents contoured bed forms, and the expandable bed can be reconfigured for longer cargo, using a drawer-like sliding function.

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