Hyundai HCD-15 Santa Cruz Concept

PelicanHazard

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Car & Driver said:
Hyundai says that it came up with the Santa Cruz?s basic format after ?intently listening to customers? and recognizing their needs, and apparently enough of those folks wanted a CUV-type vehicle with a dirt-friendly place to stash cargo. Critically, those same people didn?t want to deal with a truck?s huge size, poor fuel economy, or price. But that group has to be a tiny bunch, right, especially in the bigger?s-always-better U.S.A.? Indeed?but Hyundai?s research shows that full-size pickup purchases are decreasing among both women and the under-30 crowd, and that those groups could be wooed with the right vehicle. Thus was born the Santa Cruz, one of the cooler-looking vehicle ever to be focus-grouped into existence.

...

Like the Brat, the Santa Cruz strives to provide nearly boundless practicality. To maintain a parking-spaaaaaace-friendly footprint, the Santa Cruz?s pickup bed is quite short, but can extend to about the length of that of a mid-size pickup, or roughly five feet. The extension mechanism is particularly nifty: The entire aft section of the bed slides out like a drawer, bringing the tailgate, taillights, and rear bumper with it. (Unbelievably, this is a feature Hyundai actually is considering for production.) The bed also offers a built-in slide-out tonneau cover, as well as a plethora of tie-down hooks. In spite of what the Santa Cruz?s cab design might suggest, the truck is a genuine five-seater, making it as useful (at least on paper) for hauling people as a typical crossover.

In fact, Hyundai refers to the Santa Cruz as a ?crossover truck,? and says that payload, maximum towing, and ground clearance weren?t huge concerns during its development. Be that as it may, we?d suggest that Hyundai perhaps avoid any mention of intentionally leaving capability on the table, especially in the ego-driven American truck market. Still, some off-road ability is baked in, thanks to available all-wheel drive, and the plastic-lined bed should repel scratches and dents with ease.

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There?s no official statement as to whether or not Hyundai will build the Santa Cruz, but signs point toward the affirmative. In addition to the highly specific powertrain details (A 2.0L I4 diesel getting "high 30's mpgs". -PelicanHazard), Hyundai dropped mention of a mysterious second powertrain option?and concept cats don?t offer engine choices. We?re thinking the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder is a possibility, if not the corporate turbocharged 2.0. And we?re told the trucklet would be front-drive as standard, with AWD optional. We also understand that the extended-cab look would be it for configurations, although the company is still deciding between a suicide-door configuration and a more conventional forward-hinged solution.
If this comes with Hyundai's 10-year warranty, it is going to establish a loyal niche market.
 

bone

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that's one awesome side-profile!
 

AiR

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Didn't expect that! Sharp! Not too outlandish either, so maybe not too far from production.
 

Blind_Io

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It's a nice looking vehicle, but I just don't see much of a place for it in the market. It might see some success as a small work truck/delivery vehicle now that the Ranger is gone, but the sliding bed would probably be an optional extra on a stripped-down fleet model. The Subaru Baja tried something similar and you just don't see those around anywhere these days. The sliding bed would also make it nearly impossible to mount a cover or rack to the bed and the CUV chassis would quickly be bottomed on the stops by even a moderate Home Depot run and those who need lighter cargo capacity are switching from the now-extinct small-truck market to vans like the Transit Connect or Nissan NV200 - which even here in the center of Mountain Truckland, USA, are everywhere.

I'm really not sure who would buy this vehicle. I'm sure someone will, I just don't know who that would be or if there are enough of them to justify production.

Still, I love the look and the size. Part of me wants to see this as a pre-runner or serious off-road machine. It has the right size to maneuver many tight trails and the truck bed would be great for overlanding flexibility; I just doubt this chassis is up to the challenge.
 

laxmax613

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Seeing as Honda has stated that they are in the process of redesigning the Ridgeline, maybe this segment will become more competitive. I think there's a place for it in America and maybe even in other places, but if the products aren't robust enough to really be used to transport things the fad will fizzle quickly.
 

PelicanHazard

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It's a nice looking vehicle, but I just don't see much of a place for it in the market. It might see some success as a small work truck/delivery vehicle now that the Ranger is gone, but the sliding bed would probably be an optional extra on a stripped-down fleet model.
I think Ford and competitors are capturing most of those Ranger fleet sales with the Transit Connect and similar vehicles. Only companies I don't see switching to the vans are those like Orkin that handle toxic chemicals; wouldn't want those in the cab with the driver.

The Subaru Baja tried something similar and you just don't see those around anywhere these days.
I see them bloody everywhere :lol: They're like odd little cockroaches, every one I've seen has a 6-digit odometer reading yet looks no worse for wear.

The sliding bed would also make it nearly impossible to mount a cover or rack to the bed and the CUV chassis would quickly be bottomed on the stops by even a moderate Home Depot run and those who need lighter cargo capacity are switching from the now-extinct small-truck market to vans like the Transit Connect or Nissan NV200 - which even here in the center of Mountain Truckland, USA, are everywhere.

I'm really not sure who would buy this vehicle. I'm sure someone will, I just don't know who that would be or if there are enough of them to justify production.
From the sound of it, this isn't close to being greenlit. Basically, Hyundai did a bunch of market research to determine which class of vehicle to build next and saw a little bit of open space in the former Baja's spot of "lifestyle utilities". So they do some rough calculations, figure out that the engineering side is sound, and created the Santa Cruz to see if there is enough interest to actually make a business case for it.

They're not going after towing or payload because the target market is imagined to throw dirty and bulky (but relatively light) shit in the back for lifestyle reasons. Think young 20-something who rents in the city and wants to take friends camping/kayaking/trail riding/forest orgying, not homeowner doing house work with it. Hence why the concept has a bed extending mechanism, to fit a motorcycle (which the Baja can't do without some jury-rigging) for trails, or mountain bikes, or dirty camping gear or what have you. The supposed target user doesn't have the capacity to renovate their living space, so the most the Santa Cruz will go to Home Depot for is gardening supplies. It also lets the Santa Cruz be cheaper since the young 20-something can't afford a full-size truck.

Which is ok by me, because going after towing or payload means inevitably losing to the Big 3. Just look at the Tundra and Titan. Even midsize trucks are dicey, they're wrapped up in the same EgoBoosting testosterone fight as the half-tons.

Still, I love the look and the size. Part of me wants to see this as a pre-runner or serious off-road machine. It has the right size to maneuver many tight trails and the truck bed would be great for overlanding flexibility; I just doubt this chassis is up to the challenge.
Probably won't ever be a serious off-road machine, given the target market. Sure, it'll be depicted in marketing as going off-road, but nothing Jeep-esque, just the same trails that a Camry can go down. Still, that's all they'd really need to attain "lifestyle" use, as my favorite FIAT Strada picture shows.
 

CraigB

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One major design flaw I see with it? Even with the slide out, what if you wanted to haul a sheet or two of plywood and folded the tailgate down to do that? Your tail lights will now be pointed at the ground...
 

PelicanHazard

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One major design flaw I see with it? Even with the slide out, what if you wanted to haul a sheet or two of plywood and folded the tailgate down to do that? Your tail lights will now be pointed at the ground...
That's why it's a concept. If it gets produced that'll be fixed.
 

argatoga

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I'm all for small trucks. I don't do major hauling, but I do like having something I can throw mountain bikes, hiking equipment, and the occasional bulky item into. I live in the city and having a big truck is inconvenient.

I'm not sure however how big the urban active lifestyle (I hate that term) market is however.
 

CraigB

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A wagon is always the answer. A truck would be second.
 

bone

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It's a nice looking vehicle, but I just don't see much of a place for it in the market.
over here that would be those people that only need 2 seats, and want to benefit from the ridiculously low tax there is on cargo vehicles...
i think it would sell rather well over here

many pickups around, yet hardly any have anything but groceries in the bed...
 
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