Hyundai’s Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Is a Pickup for the Millennials

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Hyundai’s Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show is the kind of pick-up truck the automaker believes the Millennials would buy. Why bother designing a truck for the Millennials? Well, they represent the second-largest population of car buyers, that’s why.

Hyundai calls these people “Urban Adventurers” and says the Santa Cruz meets their unspoken needs. In the words of Mark Dipko, director, corporate planning, Hyundai Motor America, “this new crossover allows them all the expandable utility they need throughout their active week, from work-life professionalism, to social interests, to a whole variety of outdoor pursuits, without the typical compromises they have come to expect from the industry’s current product offerings.”

So basically it’s about versatility and the Santa Cruz knows a thing or two about that. Unlike traditional pickups, it’s designed to meet the specific group of customers’ desires for expression, efficiency and maneuverability.

The bold design features a wide stance and an aggressive side-profile rake, with the front end sporting an upright, hexagonal grille, dual lens-free, honeycombed headlamp projectors, and prominent LED fog lamps.

The oversized wheels, shod with Michelin tires with a special tread design, center-locking hubs and yellow Brembo brake calipers, highlight the side profile. Speaking of the profile, the Santa Cruz features rear-hinged rear doors which integrate with the front door design and improve access to the rear seats.

The study also has tie-down cleats for securing cargo of all shapes and sizes placed on the wheel arches, roof, and bed rails. Furthermore, for extra utility, the expandable bed can be easily reconfigured for longer cargo, using a unique drawer-like sliding function. When fully extended, the tailgate extension system makes the Santa Cruz’s bed length similar to a mid-size pickup.

The Santa Cruz is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo diesel powertrain delivering 190hp and 300lb-ft (406Nm) of torque, which achieves fuel economy in the high 30 mpg (7.8 l/100 km) range. The truck is also fitted with Hyundai’s HTRAC All-wheel drive system.

Although it offers five seats, the concept is compact, with its overall footprint being similar to a small CUV. This makes it suitable for the city, as well as giving it crossover-like driving characteristics.

Hyundai says the Santa Cruz was designed to attract crossover and sedan buyers who are seeking greater utility, without the compromises that traditional trucks often require. This is why towing, payload and ground clearance were not primary goals. No word though on whether this study will eventually spawn a production model.