Hyundai has used this week’s Detroit Auto Show to unveil the Santa Cruz concept, its vision of the off-roading pickup that ‘Millennials’ have been waiting for.
Speaking in Detroit, Hyundai America’s Mark Dipko said that young buyers, particularly the ‘Urban Adventurer’ set, are looking for capable and stylish options in the pickup market - and they're coming up short.
“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,” he said.
Despite the absence of a player in the hugely competitive pickup segment, the carmaker has made great strides in Australia’s sales race, holding down fourth position overall and recently passing 100,000 sales for the first time.
A pickup that can take on Toyota’s dominant HiLux, Ford’s Ranger and the incoming new Nissan Navara could be the ticket to Hyundai stealing third place from Holden (only 7000 units ahead of Hyundai at the end of 2014).
The Santa Cruz isn’t that model, however: although specific dimensions have not been revealed, Hyundai says its concept is around the same size as a small crossover - a deliberate move that highlights its focus on recreation rather than commercial work.
The Santa Cruz appears more than ready for hauling duties in other ways, however, with power provided by a 141kW and 406Nm 2.0 litre turbodiesel engine matched to Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel-drive system.
Hyundai has offered no word on putting the Santa Cruz into production, but this may yet be our first look at things to come.
Watch this space.