Will We See the Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept?
C/D: This Santa Cruz treads on turf where many have failed. What makes this different?
Mike O’Brien: If you look at another product that was most recently on the market, the rear axle was actually exactly between the cab and the bed, so the bed was completely cantilevered. [He’s talking about the Subaru Baja—Ed.] As a design exercise you look at that and say, “There’s something wrong.” From our perspective, design is paramount, and we built the concept around that so it has the right proportions.
Dimensions on the Santa Cruz are a little hard to find, but from images taken at the reveal you can see that the concept is nowhere as imposing in size as an F150 or Toyota Tundra. Here are a couple of obvious questions, if you think that history is doomed to repeat itself:
C/D: Would the Santa Cruz compete against mid-size trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma?
MO: No. This is targeted at people that have not owned a pickup, that need something more than a CUV. Product planners are always looking at rejection, so they look at what people bought and they look at their second choice. There’s a very large number of people whose second choice is a pickup, and they reject them for typical reasons: maneuverability, parking, fuel economy, and price. We want something that gives most of what people need for daily open-bed utility without the compromises of thirsty fuel economy and difficult parking.
C/D: Is there a reason it doesn’t look more like a conventional truck?
MO: My personal view is that the more we make it look like a truck, the more consumers will look at it the way they look at a pickup, so then they’re going to look at towing and payload. If we make it look like a full-size pickup, people are going to expect it to do what a full-size pickup does. I think, personally, that would be a mistake.
If someone tells you they’re looking to create something that isn’t targeted towards truck owners or aficionados, why ask them the reason the vehicle doesn’t look like a truck? But I digress…
Here’s something cool:
C/D: Is the extending bed feasible for a production truck?
MO: Yes. We’ve already applied for patents on some of the work that’s been done.
Now THAT’s cool. Extending beds, done right would be very cool. I could extend it when I hit the Home Depot, and retract it once I’m done. O’Brien had some other interesting answers about the Crossover as well:
C/D: The concept truck is four-wheel drive. Would you offer two-wheel drive?
MO: We would offer both.
C/D: Would that be front-wheel drive?
C/D: What would the price be?
MO: You could imagine if we were to bring a concept like this to market it wouldn’t be much of a premium over a compact CUV.
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