After a prolonged teaser period, over two years of speculative reports and multiple pre-production sightings, Hyundai officially unveiled its first ever bakkie, the Santa Cruz, late on Thursday (15 April) evening.
Debuting six years after bowing as a concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Santa Cruz, as already known, rides on the same unibody platform as the Tucson and in North America, will aim for the segment leading Honda Ridgeline and incoming Ford Maverick.
Touted as a more of a lifestyle bakkie rather than a work-hard, play-hard entrant like the US Big 3, the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram, the Santa Cruz measures 4 970 mm in overall length with the wheelbase coming to 3 004 mm, the height to 1 694 mm and its width to 1 905 mm.
It’s loadbed measuring between 1 229 mm to 1 323 mm, the Santa Cruz, as reported last year and shown by the last teaser earlier this month, confirms its relations with the Tucson further in the look of the front facia resplendent with the Parametric Hidden Lights incorporated into the grille, and horizontal T-shaped LED integrated into the rear lights. Block letter Santa Cruz lettering on the tailgate finishes the rear off.
Riding on 18-inch or optional 20-inch alloy wheels, the double cab only Santa Cruz, like the Ridgeline, boasts a dual compartment loadbin in which a section can be lifted up to reveal a storage area underneath. As ever, a range of accessories will be offered.
Despite not disclosing the Santa Cruz’s payload or indeed releasing images of the interior in full, the Santa Cruz will come with tech such as a standard eight-inch or optional ten-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an optional ten-inch digital instrument cluster, push-button start, an eight-speaker Bose sound system, wireless smartphone charger and remote start.
Notable safety and driver assistance systems comprise Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Warning with Junction, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Warning with Collision Avoidance, Smart Adaptive Cruise Control, Driver Attention Waring, Highway Driving Assist, Safe Exit Assist and a surround view monitor.
Underneath the bonnet, the Santa Cruz will initially be offered only with two four-cylinder petrol engines unlike the V6 only Ridgeline. Both displacing 2.5-litres with drive going to all four corners as standard, the normally aspirated mill produces 140kW/244Nm and the turbocharged variant 205kW/420Nm.
Two transmissions are also offered; the former sporting an eight-speed automatic and the latter and eight-speed dual-clutch with gear shift paddles. Claimed towing capacity is 1 587 kg for the former and 2 267 kg for the turbo.
Confirmed to enter production at the Montgomery Plant in Alabama in June, the Santa Cruz, as known by now, will not be offered outside North America as its position in other markets will be taken by the still unnamed body-on-frame bakkie rumoured for unveiling next year or in 2023.