Among the of series announcements made by Hyundai this week – for instance the unveiling of the 2022 Tucson, and the plan to expand the offering of N and N Line models – is one many have been waiting for for years: the Santa Cruz, a much-anticipated pickup truck first presented as a concept in 2015, will be ready by next year.
The future rival to Honda’s Ridgeline is was part of a series of models, both new and current-but-renewed, that the Korean automaker plans to roll out in the coming months. Specifically, the Santa Cruz will be presented next year.
The 2022 Santa Cruz will be built at Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, Alabama, where the Elantra, Sonata and Santa Fe are assembled. It’s expected the Santa Cruz will borrow the chassis of the next-gen 2022 Tucson introduced this week.
As part of the announcement Hyundai confirms that the pickup will benefit from a unibody structure, similar to Honda's Ridgeline model, which itself is based on the Pilot SUV. Meanwhile, Ford has also promised to launch an even-more-compact car-based pickup.
When the concept was unveiled, Hyundai said that the Santa Cruz was not an alternative to traditional pickup trucks because its priorities were not towing, payload or ground clearance capabilities. Rather, Hyundai played up its potential appeal to SUV buyers who want the utility of a pickup truck, without having to opt for that type of vehicle.
The automaker even refers to its future model as an SUV.
The company will spend $410 million to upgrade its Alabama plant so it can assemble the Santa Cruz. Some 200 direct jobs will be created in the process. The ripple effect on suppliers and logistics companies is expected to add another 1,000 jobs in the region.
Mechanically, the expectation is that the Santa Cruz will also inherit the Tucson’s powertrain. Which raises the intriguing possibility that we could eventually see hybrid and plug-in hybrid approaches make the leap to the new pickup/SUV as well. Which of course would give it some unique appeal in the budding segment.
We'll be following this closely. This model could very well be a big hit.