Hyundai Santa Cruz pick-up truck debuts in the USA, is based on the new Tucson SUV

Hyundai has unveiled its first lifestyle pick-up truck, the Hyundai Santa Cruz, in the United States. The Hyundai Santa Cruz is effectively the pick-up version of the next-generation Hyundai Tucson which debuted internationally some time ago, which makes it one of the few pick-up trucks to be built around a monocoque architecture. The Hyundai Santa Cruz shares many of its chassis components with the Tucson but sits on a 249mm longer wheelbase. The pickup is also 315 mm longer than the Tucson, and is 66 mm wider and 28 mm taller.

 Hyundai Santa Cruz pick-up truck debuts in the USA, is based on the new Tucson SUV

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is among the rare pick-up trucks with a monocoque construction. Image: Hyundai

In keeping with its more outdoorsy focus, the Santa Cruz has shorter overhangs and a wider track as well. The Santa Cruz offers a more rugged interpretation of Hyundai’s new design direction that came with the Tucson, using the same striking grille layout with the integrated DRLs and split headlamp look. Along the sides, there are beefed up wheel arches to house the larger tyres (high-profile 18-inchers or all-season 20-inchers) while there is a more upswept glass house that ends in the angular C-pillar.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz's load bay is 1,323 mm long and features a lockable cover. Image: Hyundai

The Hyundai Santa Cruz’s load bay is 1,323 mm long and features a lockable cover. Image: Hyundai

The load bay, which is 1,323 mm long, features a lockable storage area, integrated steps in the rear bumper and a lockable tonneau cover. The triangular design themes carry on here too, with the T-shaped tail-lights and the indents to the tailgate.

The base engine option in the Santa Cruz is the same as in the Tucson, a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol expected to make 190 hp and 245 Nm. Replacing the 1.6-litre turbo in the Tucson is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol that should put out 275 hp and 420 Nm. The base engine pairs with an eight-speed torque converter automatic while the turbo gets an eight-speed DCT automatic. Like the Tucson, the Santa Cruz is FWD but gets Hyundai’s H-Trac AWD system as standard, which sends torque to the rear axle via a clutch pack in situations where more rear traction is needed.

The interiors of the Hyundai Santa Cruz are a straight lift from the Tucson. There is the same wrap-around, floating look. The centre console is a free-standing element with slim vents and a panel of buttons below the screen. There’s a 10-inch wide-screen fully digital centre screen, and the four-spoke steering wheel with the 10-inch digital instrument cluster here too. Although, the button-operated gear selector has been replaced with a traditional lever. Another new addition is that of under-seat storage for the rear seats. An eight-speaker Bose audio system, a full suite of advanced driver assistance systems and Hyundai’s Blue Link suite of connected-car features are other notable additions.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz goes on sale in the US later in the summer, priced at a slight premium over the Tucson. It is unlikely that we will see the Santa Cruz being launched in India in the foreseeable future.