More details have come to light on the upcoming 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickup, which will be sold in the United States and manufactured at the South Korean company’s plant in Alabama.
Hyundai confirmed the eventual arrival of the 2021 Santa Cruz late last fall, but its announcement was fairly light on details. Car and Driver has since done some digging and revealed more about the upcoming unibody truck.
The publication says the Santa Cruz will only be offered as a four-door and with a single bed length. Under the hood will be a naturally aspirated 2.4L four-cylinder engine, though a more powerful turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder will be offered as an option. Paired with the motors will be the automaker’s eight-speed automatic transmission, which will feed power to all four wheels. The small unibody truck will ride on the same platform as the Hyundai Sante Fe mid-size crossover.
“Santa Cruz is for those who want all the traditional attributes of a compact utility vehicle, but need the day-to-day versatility of an open bed,” Hyundai said previously. “It’s the crossover that creates a whole new segment that successfully combines capability and utility to meet the unspoken needs of a new generation of buyers, especially Millennials.”
The Hyundai Santa Cruz will be positioned to take on the Honda Ridgeline – the only other unibody truck currently on sale in North America. Ford is also working on its own compact unibody truck, however, in the way of the Ford Courier. The Ford Courier is expected to go on sale before the end of 2021, as is the Santa Cruz.
General Motors does not offer a compact unibody truck in the U.S. or Canada. It is currently developing the next-generation Chevrolet Montana, which will ride on the new GEM (Global Emerging Markets) platform, but the Montana is not expected to arrive in the United States or Canada. It’s possible the Montana could arrive in the U.S. or Canada if GM changes course and develops it with the North American market in mind, but as of right now, the Montana is for emerging markets only, such as Brazil.
If the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Courier are major sales successes, GM is likely to respond with its own small unibody truck. As we said above, though, GM has no plans to offer such a product at this time. In the meantime, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, which are body-on-frame, mid-size trucks, fill the demand for smaller GM trucks.