Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Advertisement feature
WELCOME TO HYUNDAI’S HAPPINESS MACHINE
View the latest news
Truck

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is a real neat pick-up

Whether Hyundai's carved a new niche or not, this 275bhp mini-truck looks ace

Published: 16 Apr 2021

Thought all the niches had been occupied? Hyundai reckons it’s just found a new one. Meet the Santa Cruz, the car (or should it be truck?) that lives somewhere between the worlds of SUV and pick-up.

While it looks rather a lot like the latter, it’s much smaller than stuff like the Nissan Navara and Isuzu D-Max – proper workhorses – and wears the chintzy face of the latest Tucson crossover. Dig the way that Tucson looks, but don’t want the SUV ‘image’? Several hands are aloft here, and the Santa Cruz appears to answer our woes.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Power comes from a 2.5-litre 4cyl turbo petrol, available in 190bhp and 275bhp tunes, both hooked up to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive. Yep, it’s a wee truck with i30N levels of power. Maybe they’ll even paint it baby blue for you.

That oversize engine ought to betray something, though. It’s built in America, where it’s likely to stay. It’s created a stonking 1,200 jobs at Hyundai’s Alabama plant on the outskirts of Montgomery (where the Wright Brothers set up a flying school and Rosa Parks took that bus ride, history fans), which rather makes us question why it’s named after a Californian city that’s 2,500 miles away.

Let’s assume it’s something to do with sopping wet surfboards, because Hyundai really reckons it’s on to something, having identified buyers who want the ease-of-use of an SUV but the practical open bed of a pick-up.

“Our customers will wonder just how they managed before owning one,” says Hyundai’s North American boss, Jose Munoz. Immodest, perhaps. But are you now clamouring for one?

Advertisement - Page continues below

Top Gear
Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

More from Top Gear

Loading
See more on Hyundai

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

subscribe