Hyundai is targeting what it calls "Urban Adventurers" with the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept unveiled at the North American International Motor Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Designed to be small and maneuverable enough to navigate city streets and cramped parking lots during the week, but big and versatile enough to ferry cargo on the weekends, Hyundai calls the concept a re-imagining of the truck utility for the Millennial generation.
Packing Hyundai's HTRAC all-wheel drive system delivering power to the oversized wheels wrapped in Michelin tires sporting a special tread design, under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbo diesel powertrain generating 190 hp (142 kW) and 300 lb-ft (407 Nm) of torque. Hyundai says the vehicle achieves fuel economy in the high 30 mpg (around 6.2 L/100 km) range.
The four-door concept has seating for five, with access to the rear seats provided by rear-hinged doors that blend with the front doors and share a door handle recess. It features a wide stance and aggressive side profile rake, with an upright, hexagonal grille up front framed by dual lens-free, honeycombed headlamp protectors and LED fog lamps in the lower corners.
At the other end, the wheel arches, roof and bed rails in the open bed boast tie-down cleats for securing cargo of different shapes and sizes. Speaking of the bed, the tailgate can slide back like a drawer to extend the length of the bed so as to accommodate longer cargo. The tailgate can also be open or closed when the bed is extended.
Although it is only a concept at the moment, Hyundai's research suggests there could be a market for such a vehicle. The company says that those under 30 make up just seven percent of all pickup sales, which are down more than five percent in the last decade. This has coincided with a rise in sales of CUVs (which have an overall footprint similar to Santa Cruz), more than 50 percent of which are attributed to women.
At the same time, Hyundai says the concept isn't intended as an alternative to a traditional pickup and isn't aimed to attract traditional pickup customers. As a result, towing capabilities, payload and ground clearance weren't primary considerations when designing the vehicle. Instead, the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept is aimed at CUV and sedan buyers looking for some of the benefits of a pickup truck, without many of the compromises inherent in such vehicles.
Whether Hyundai takes its own research on board and follows through with a production version of the Santa Cruz remains to be seen, but in the meantime check out the pics of the concept in our gallery.