Hyundai just announced that they will build the Santa Cruz pickup truck. Yep, it's no longer just a rumor. When the concept was introduced a few years ago, there was some speculation that the South Korean brand might build it, but nothing even remotely was confirmed. Luc Donckerwolke, Hyundai's head of design, just confirmed that formal steps are being taken to actually build the Santa Cruz, and that's huge news for both the brand and the lifestyle pickup truck segment.  

santa cruz rear 34
You could call it a Korean El Camino. Maybe.

Donckerwolke said that the actual design of the racy-looking Santa Cruz is finished and that "the process to put it into production is now under way." Look for the Santa Cruz to come to market in 2020, which is fairly quick considering it's a wholly new model. Like the successful Honda Ridgeline unibody construction lifestyle pickup truck, the Santa Cruz will go after customers who want fun, style, and utility who don't want to commit to a hardcore body-on-frame pickup like the Chevy Colorado or the upcoming Ford Ranger.

santa cruz rear window

Look for the production model to carry over the same sleek style, though perhaps not nearly as aggressively as the concept, which pretty much garnered rave responses from automotive journalists everywhere. As far as the configuration is concerned, the Santa Cruz will have an extended cab and a shorter bed. Supposedly, it will even have suicide doors that open backward. How cool will that be?

santa cruz headlight

Of course, Hyundais have evolved since the Santa Cruz concept was introduced, so some current styling cues found on the Kona, the new Veloster, and the upcoming 7-passenger Palisade may make it to the new truck. The grille will probably be the wider "cascading" style found on newer Hyundai designs, and the Santa Cruz may even get the fancy trick extendable bed from the concept vehicle, feature that will add to its uniqueness and utility.

santa cruz front

The concept vehicle was powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four turbo diesel engine with 190 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. Though there's no guarantee the diesel will show up in the production car, it's possible. The more likely engines will probably be two different four-cylinder gas engines, one possibly with forced induction like the new Santa Fe crossover. Base models should get FWD with AWD optional.

santa cruz profile

santa cruze grille
santa cruz exhaust
santa cruz bed motorcycle
The concept's tailgate works in conjunction with bed side extenders.

It's exciting to see Hyundai embark on a completely new segment for them that gets only marginal amounts of love from other manufacturers, pretty much with just the Honda Ridgeline. The pickup market is as hot as it's ever been, and it's good to see Hyundai go well beyond their sedan lineup. They made their mistake focusing too much on sedans, and now they're picking up the pace with the expanded crossover line and now with the Santa Cruz.