Hyundai Santa Cruz: More Details Leaked as Release Date Looms

The Hyundai Santa Cruz leaves the Ford Maverick feeling far less alone than its name would lead you to believe.

The Hyundai Motor Company has thrown its hat into the ring of the Outdoor/Adventure demographic dominated by Jeep. Although the upcoming Hyundai Santa Cruz won’t match Jeep’s segment penetration, it will turn some heads and convert some skeptics.

Hyundai Santa Cruz: What is it?

Look, it’s a truck! No, it’s an SUV. Wait a minute, is that a gigantic El Camino?

Um yes. And—no. Well, maybe. It’s the Hyundai Santa Cruz, for sure. That we know—but what makes this bad boy so highly anticipated?Spoiler Alert: It is DEFINITELY not an El Camino. Sorry about that; yeah, I love the old-school El Camino’s too.

The Santa Cruz is being marketed as Hyundai’s first-ever “Sport Adventure Vehicle,” or “Sav” as I’m sure only I am calling it. It’s awesome and if the intent is any indication of success, Hyundai is betting heavily on it to make a splash in the compact-SUV/Truck market.

Hyundai Santa Cruz: Poised for market disruption?

You can’t just position your new vehicle to take on the well-entrenched Jeep market. Certainly not—at least not without trying. The Hyundai Motor Company knows this and will certainly be just fine with taking a small slice of the ever-growing Adventure//Outdoors demo. Here’s what to expect with the soon-to-be-released Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Is it an SUV? Yes and no. While it’s branding checks all the boxes on what folks want out of an SUV, it’s more of a truck/SUV combo. In terms of size, it’s midsize rather than full-sized. Think of it as somewhere in-between the Kia Sportage and the Kia Telluride. Is it a truck?

Yes and no again. The best way to position the Hyundai Santa Cruz is to consider it as a midsize Truck/SUV combo. One solid comparison is to think of the Ford Maverick—the only other unibody truck available in the US.

The Santa Cruz is priced right, and its features stack up against its unibody contemporary, the Ford Maverick. Although it’s too soon to predict a midsize disruptor to rival smaller trucks and SUV crossovers, it should sell well from the word go.

And on the strength of having a similar-sized SUV/Truck hybrid to market against in the Maverick is not to be overlooked. Especially considering that both Hyundai and especially Ford have their own well-entrenched brand-loyal enthusiasts.

Over the next year or so, I’m willing to bet you’ll see a good amount of new Santa Cruz models for sale at your local Hyundai dealer and roaming the streets of America.