Hyundai Santa Cruz blends pickup, crossover utility

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LOS ANGELES — Hyundai’s Santa Cruz utility vehicle blends the driving comfort of a compact crossover with the utility of a short-bed pickup, creating a unique model in terms of size and pricing when it goes on sale this summer.

Hyundai, which released 2022 Santa Cruz photos and specifications on Thursday, is calling it a “sport adventure vehicle” and not a pickup. The automaker is targeting buyers looking for a flexible alternative to crossover cargo space. The Santa Cruz has four doors and a 4-foot bed.

“Santa Cruz features a secure, open bed area which includes a lockable tonneau cover, hidden bed storage and versatile bed extension accessories,” the company said. “At the same time, these customers still value the secure utility of a compact SUV, with its comfort, passenger space, fuel efficiency and parking ease.”

The Santa Cruz will be built in Alabama alongside the Tucson crossover. The two vehicles share a platform, a base engine and interior equipment. They also share a design language, although the Santa Cruz is just over a foot longer to accommodate the bed.

Hyundai hasn’t announced pricing for the Santa Cruz, but it will be offered in a base trim with front-wheel drive and pricing that shouldn’t be too far from the Tucson. The base 2022 Tucson starts at $26,135 with shipping. Hyundai has said that shared components between the Santa Cruz and Tucson helped keep product development and manufacturing costs down.

The only other crossover-based pickup on the market, the Honda Ridgeline, competes with midsize pickups such as the Toyota Tacoma and starts at $37,665, with shipping. Ford is working on a crossover-based compact pickup, but it’s likely to be more truck-focused than the Santa Cruz.

The base engine for the Santa Cruz is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 191 hp and 181 pound-feet of torque. The optional 2.5-liter turbo motor is estimated at 281 hp and 311 pound-feet of torque. The base engine gets a traditional eight-speed automatic transmission, and the optional engine gets an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters, Hyundai said.

Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive is available with both engines. Towing capacity for the base motor with fwd is rated at 3,500 pounds. That rises to 5,000 pounds for the turbocharged engine with awd. Wheel sizes are 18 inches as standard and 20 inches as an option, the automaker said.

Inside, the Santa Cruz comes with a standard 8-inch infotainment screen and available wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also available are a wireless charging pad and an eight-speaker Bose stereo. A 10-inch digital screen in the instrument panel is also optional.

The Santa Cruz offers both standard and optional safety features similar to Hyundai’s crossover lineup, along with three years of complimentary Blue Link telematics to operate some vehicle functions with a smartphone.

Forward-collision assistance with pedestrian and cyclist detection is standard, as is lane-keeping assist and driver-attention warning. Safety options range from blind-spot monitor with collision avoidance to highway-drive assist with lane centering, Hyundai said.

Pricing and trim levels will be announced closer to the on-sale date for the Santa Cruz, Hyundai said.

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