We had almost forgotten about the Hyundai Santa Cruz pick-up, to be honest. The concept that debuted in 2015 at the North American Motor Show caused a stir due to its sporty crossover styling, coupe-like proportions, two doors, and invoked genuine curiosity about the Korean marque’s ambitions.
The ute itself did not seem all too far away becoming a production reality, but since then Hyundai had kept rather quiet about going down this experimental path. Now, however, it seems that the project has been fast tracked to a tentative 2018 launch if a report by MSN is to be believed.
The media outlet stated that Dave Zuchowki, president and CEO of Hyundai North America, professed that the decision has indeed been made on the vehicle’s production premiere, leaving only the official announcement to be made.
The lifestyle pick-up, unknown whether it retains its two-door layout, will be based upon the current Tucson compact crossover. It follows that the engine and transmission choices could mirror that of the Tucson’s as well, but we’ll have to wait until Hyundai makes a confirmation.
Other automakers have tried to tackle the two-door lifestyle pick-up niche as well, such as Honda with the Ridgeline and Subaru with the Baja (which are actually four-doors, and only the former still being produced). Both models haven’t experienced the roaring success Hyundai is doubtless chasing with the Santa Cruz, but seem confident enough that the upcoming model could appeal to more buyers with the right product, price, and marketing push.
It’s also possible that the Santa Cruz’s arrival could spawn an equally new model from sister company Kia that would, in turn, be based upon their Sportage crossover. This, though, would be very dependent on how the coupe pick-up is received in the primary market’s it’s targeted at.
Speaking of which, we know that Hyundai will be targeting North American buyers with the Santa Cruz but no word yet has surfaced about the possibility of other countries, such as Australia and other established pick-up strongholds, being recipients.
If the Santa Cruz does become a new Hyundai model for 2019, though, we can be fairly certain that HMCA will be raising their hands high to make sure it has an Aussie presence before long.