Hyundai revealed a new concept ute this week at the Detroit Motor Show, which they dubbed the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck.
In America, where larger pickup (ute) sales are declining, the vehicle could fill a largely unmet need. However in Australia, demand for larger utes is still strong with the Hilux, Triton, Navara and Ranger taking out four of the top 10 best-selling cars in 2013.
Certainly for tradies, the Hyundai Santa Cruz seems unlikely to appeal thanks to its short (but extendable) tray space, car-like features and Hyundai’s HTRAC AWD technology that lacks low range.
However Hyundai say the Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) ute is designed for what they call “Urban Adventurers” – those who want a smaller car they can manoeuvre easily through high density areas, yet still want a ute that they can throw stuff in the back of.
“To meet the specific needs of these Urban Adventurers, Santa Cruz doesn’t focus on all the same attributes as traditional pickups,” a Hyundai media release stated.
“This new crossover allows them all the expandable utility they need… without the typical compromises they have come to expect from the industry’s current product offerings.”
“Whatever the day’s activity might bring — all that dirty, sweaty, wet, sandy, bulky gear remains in the back of the truck, cleanly separated from the passenger compartment,” the release added, stating that a rigid, retractable tonneau cover would keep things locked and secure.
While production plans or dates are unconfirmed, Hyundai Australia’s chief operating officer is reported as saying he wants the car in the Australian market if production goes ahead.
“We have no doubt such a tough, good-looking Hyundai ute will be popular with Australians,” Elsworth told CarAdvice, adding that the final decision on whether it would reach the Australian market rested with Korea.
“We’ve made our enthusiasm for the Santa Cruz very clear – it surely has enormous potential.