Don't call it a pickup truck.
Hyundai has positioned the newly launched Santa Cruz as a "sport adventure vehicle," as it blends qualities of both SUV and truck.
This SAV will be built in the USA, and Hyundai North America is now taking reservations for the model.
Hyundai said that the "sport adventure vehicle" tag was a result of the brand's consumer research. The study found that city dwellers, who like to play during the weekends, carry with them "various gear and equipment that is better suited to an open bed rather than a typical SUV body style."
That's why Hyundai has fitted the Santa Cruz with an open bed area with an integrated and lockable tonneau cover, and hidden bed storage, all of which aim to offer the security of an SUV.
Moreover, it promises to deliver SUV-like comfort, passenger space, fuel efficiency, and parking ease.
That parking ease and superb maneuverability will be a result of the Santa Cruz's size, which is more compact than its pickup truck rivals in the US, Hyundai said.
Meanwhile, the SAV's A- and C-pillars have been raked to give a more SUV look, and the daytime running lamps (DRLs) integrated into the Hyundai's signature grille will stand out among more utilitarian rivals.
The Santa Cruz is powered either of two 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, one naturally aspirated (190hp, 245Nm), and one turbocharged (275hp, 420Nm). The non-turbo will be mated to an eight-speed auto, while the turbo will come with an eight-speed dual-clutch.
All Santa Cruz SAVs will come with an all-wheel-drive system called HTRAC. Hyundai said it distributes the torque between the front and rear axles, depending on conditions, straight-line acceleration, cornering, and hill-starts.
The SUV characteristics continue inside, where occupants are given plush seats, the expected infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and even an optional Bose audio system. A nifty interior feature is the storage tucked under the rear seats.
The now-standard safety features included in the Santa Cruz is the Blind-Spot View Monitor, Lane Keeping Assist, and Smart Cruise Control. All of these and more are included in the Korean carmaker's Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS).
In the USA, prices for the Santa Cruz are expected to be at US$25,000 (around P1.2 million). Could it be the same story when it reaches the Philippines?
Hyundai Philippines had the public speculating. The company posted a photo of the Santa Cruz on its Instagram with the caption: "Who wants to see the world's first SAV on our side of the globe?"
It answered "cross fingers" to one Instagram user who asked if it is indeed Philippines-bound.
And so we're doing as told.
Photos from Hyundai USA