So you thought it was a really big deal back when Jeep introduced the Gladiator, huh? We can assert with reasonable confidence that this rollout will be a bigger splash, because Hyundai is about to introduce a pickup. A car kind of morphed into a truck as per Honda Ridgeline practice, to be sure, but the new Santa Cruz from Hyundai is clearly, undeniably a truck. Hyundai doesn’t call it that, preferring to label this assured segment-smasher as a Sport Adventure Vehicle, but hey, that looks like a cargo bed out back to us.
Just like a car, the Santa Cruz utilizes unibody construction and while mechanical and dimensional particulars have yet to be disclosed – that’s coming at the official Hyundai reveal, which is set for April 15th – the teaser images released today clearly show it to have a smallish bed, just the ticket for a weekend getaway, position aft of its four-door passenger cabin. It will join the Ridgeline as one of the few U.S.-sold pickups that don’t use traditional cab-and-bed-on-frame construction. Another such rig, the Ford Maverick – not a rebodied Falcon this time, but instead a small pickup slotted below the Ranger – will be joining the unibody-trucklet class in the near future. The Santa Cruz will be built at Hyundai’s U.S. assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama, which already produces the Santa Fe SUV, suggesting that the Santa Cruz will be sharing some of its mechanical components.