Confirmed: Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Truck Coming in 2021
The compact unibody pickup truck will be built in Alabama.
Remember that cool compact pickup truck concept that Hyundai showed off at the 2015 Detroit auto show called the Santa Cruz? Well, it's officially going into production and it will be made in the U.S. at Hyundai's Montgomery, Alabama, facility. Hyundai says the official production date for the Santa Cruz pickup truck is sometime in 2021.
Currently, Hyundai's manufacturing plant in Alabama makes the Santa Fe and certain Sonata and Elantra sedan models (the Sonata hybrid and Elantra Sport hail from Ulsan, Korea). The Hyundai Santa Cruz will be the fourth model that the Korean automaker makes in the U.S. Hyundai will invest $410 million to expand the facility with additional area for stamping, welding, and parts processing. The addition of the Santa Cruz truck to the Alabama plant will also create 200 jobs there, while suppliers and logistics companies supporting the operation are projected to add another 1,000 employees in the Montgomery and River regions.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz is a compact unibody pickup aimed at buyers who need a truck's utility in a smaller package. Earlier this year, we learned that the Santa Cruz's design has changed significantly, which means the look derived from the current-generation Tucson compact SUV has been ditched in favor of something bolder.
Although powertrain options are currently unknown, we suspect that the Hyundai Santa Cruz will come with the latest Smartstream engine lineup. The 191-hp 2.5-liter inline-four paired to Hyundai's own eight-speed automatic transmission from the 2020 Sonata appears to be the safest bet, but we wouldn't be surprised if the new turbocharged 2.5-liter unit that was recently announced at Hyundai/Kia's yearly powertrain conference finds its way under the Santa Cruz's hood. Considering its unibody underpinnings, expect front-wheel drive to come standard and Hyundai's HTRAC all-wheel drive system to be optional. Now we just need VW to bring its Tarok pickup here—the more tiny trucks, the better.