Pick-up trucks are big business in the States. But not everyone loves them. Apparently, so-called Millenials (25 to 30 year-olds) aren’t really interested. Hyundai spotted an opportunity to target the golden geese of the American car market.
And they came up with this, the Hyundai Santa Cruz (or Hunday Sanna Cruse as it’d be called in California). It may look like a pick-up, but Hyundai is at pains to point out that it is, in fact, not.
Instead, they have effectively taken the roof off the back of a crossover. So it retains the car-like handling and performance of a crossover, but adds sling-it-in-the-bed practicality.
Hyundai is specifically trying to attract “urban adventurers”; young people who work in cities during the week and go hiking/biking/sailing/antiquing at the weekends.
The Santa Cruz is about the same size as a Nissan X-Trail, powered by a plug-in hybrid diesel powertrain, with a 187bhp 2.0-litre motor driving all four wheels. Fuel economy is claimed to be in the high thirties per US gallon.
If this all sounds like marketing nonsense, think again. Hyundai might actually be onto something. Honda tried something similar with the highly regarded Ridgeline. But it was too big for buyers used to conventional car and not tough enough for pick-up drivers, so it failed in the market, finally being put to rest last year.
On the other hand, small trucks used to sell in huge numbers, but don’t really exist in the US any more. About the smallest one you can get is the Nissan Navara which is, by most definitions, enormous.
Even if it never gets beyond the concept stage, the Santa Cruz is an interesting idea. If nothing else, it’ll grab attention which is, after all, largely the point.