Hyundai Has Now Entered The Chatroom..
Anyone whose been around the small truck market for any length of time will tell you that the Old S10, Ford Ranger's, even the old school Nissan Hardbody and Tacoma when it was just a good ole' Toyota Pick Up were on a smaller scale in North America. People were looking for better than decent MPG with something that wasn't a tease for usefulness because it could carry more than just 2 rolls of R14 insulation and a bucket of drywall mud.
With the recent release of the 5th Gen Ford Ranger on US shores since 2019, now word of it's 6th Gen variant bringing together the 2012+ T6 Based World Ranger and the US Spec'd Ford Ranger into what I believe is a streamlining of the model itself again; Ford also introduced word about the new Maverick.
Now for those who've even missed the fun and open airness of the Subaru Brat from back in the day, which was an AWD utilitarian styled CUV/PickUp truck with two rear-facing bucket seats that was quite the rage on the beaches back in the day. The Ford Maverick, the Ford Courier similar based truck, and the now Hyundai Santa Cruz sized trucks seem to be bringing in a new market we haven't seen in quite sometime.
Now before all the peacocking of Tacoma and Frontier owners gets initiated and out of hand.. no ones going to even remotely accuse these smaller CUV styled pickups as a takeover in the truck scene, not in any seriousness anyway.
First off, the model is 10-17" inches short of even a mid-sized truck let alone what most people feel comfortable calling a truck as a truck. It's approximately 3-4" shorter than your below average height small styled pickup truck and at its longest, the bed is 4.3 feet long. It splits the differences between the two widths of all things. Which brings up another oddity is that the edge of the bed, considered the firewall of the bed isn't even a vertical flat plane. It tucks in at the bottom to give that 4.3ft number. At the top its four-feet. I can already hear all the cereal box toy references bubbling to the top of all the forums and message boards and no ones even scuffed a sill plate on one yet.
The small bed will likely turn some people off after being used to the larger sized vehicles we have in the market already, but this truck really isn't for that demographic which will likely be as usual, people who would never buy a vehicle like this will be the ones really complaining about it, Sorry but there's a reason why I don't go to a burger joint to buy my tacos amigo.
The rear well in the floor of the bed is a novel idea, it was the only thing I personally thought was awe inspiring on the Honda Ridge-line to be honest.. The standard N/A inline 4 will let you pull 3,500 lbs of trailer which does sound promising until you find out the turbo version offers 5000 lbs of towing capacity. Total payload capacity is 1748 lbs but only 660 of those lbs can be in the bed which gives me the feeling of being back on square one in some thoughts but again, I am trying to remember what I am working with here.. It's not my 2020 Tacoma, and it's not my neighbors 2021 Ford Ranger either.
As stated, there are two engine options. The standard N/A 2.5L inline-4 comes in at 190 Hp with 180 Ft lbs of TQ coupled to an 8-speed Automatic trans of course. All the drones of no manual trans are echoing in the chamber here I am sure but on the plus side, the turbo charged version does give you a 275hp boost with just over 310 FT lbs of TQ with a dual clutch 8-speed Automatic transmission dressed up with paddle sifters. Standard is going to be a FWD drive train with an AWD as an option that varies torque front and rear based upon acceleration, cornering, and any tire slip. It stated as providing more rear torque by default when the truck is put into the vehicles "Sport-Mode". I kinda spied some off-road features such as the center differential lock and hill-descent control.
I will be a little smitten to see how receptive the smaller CUV market will take to it with the explosive reactions Subaru WRX, Outbacks, and Foresters and even the Toyota RAV4 are all over the outdoor scene. Who knows, maybe North America has an answer to the popular Japanese KEI Truck scene development?
Interior wise, the Santa Cruz is said to mimic the interior of the Hyundai Tuscon, which has its dual cowl like styling cues. From whats been said, the standard dash screen is 8 inches in size but a 10 inch version is also available and oh yes, Apple Car Play and android Auto are standard features for those who find their vehicles integrity determined by screen size of a radio still.
Not leaving anything to chance safety wise; Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) are standard with available options for Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC w/Lane centering), and a surround view camera system.
Santa Cruz should hit showrooms this summer after its 6 year long concept to production trek.. Pricing hasn't been announced just yet, but should be available closer to sale date. The other good news is the truck will be built in Montgomery, Alabama which means Jobs here in the US
Until it goes on sale allegedly in summer of 2021, we over here at 12° North might just have to see what comes of these newer "mini-trucks"
12° NORTH INDUSTRIES