Detroit auto show highlights: Hyundai Santa Cruz concept

Pickup trucks aren’t traditional evo material, but Hyundai’s concept still caught our eye in Detroit

We all know what pickup trucks look like: Big, brash, square-edged and designed to intimidate.

Manufacturers such as Mitsubishi have attempted to change that – the L200 pickup available in the UK is relatively curvaceous – but the world’s big-sellers all conform to traditional descriptions.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

Hyundai tried a different tactic entirely with its Santa Cruz concept, presented at the Detroit auto show.

It trades square edges for complex surfaces, square arches for pronounced haunches and blocky head and taillights for slim, LED-lit ornaments.

Advertisement - Article continues below

In Hyundai’s words, it’s ‘designed to meet more of their desires for expression, efficiency and manoeuvrability’. An extended-cab layout with four doors and five seats remains, but the Santa Cruz’s footprint is more like that of a compact SUV than a truck, and it eschews a traditional V8 engine in favour of a 190bhp, 300lb ft 2.0-litre turbo diesel.

Concept car features abound, of course – the crystalline headlights, intricately-constructed 22in alloy wheels and luminous yellow accents come straight from the designer’s computer.

But the vehicle is practical – it has all-wheel drive, for example, and an extendable bed at the back to accommodate greater loads – and Hyundai has spotted a gap in the shrinking pickup market for vehicles that closer meet the needs of younger buyers.

In other words, while the Santa Cruz itself probably won’t reach production, something like it might. The only question then would be whether it offers greater evo thrills than existing pickups on the market…

Read about our other Detroit show highlights: The BMW 3.0 CSL and Honda RA 272.




Hyundai RM19 prototype review

26 Nov 2019

Hyundai RM19 points to future N brand performance flagship

21 Nov 2019

Hyundai i30 N v the North Coast 500

1 Nov 2019

400bhp Hyundai iMax N revealed as eight-seater drift monster

21 Oct 2019

Most Popular


Mercedes-AMG One hypercar shown in new teaser video 

AMG’s F1-powered ultimate hypercar has been shown on track in a new clip
6 Dec 2019
Nissan GT-R coupe

Limited-run Nissan GT-R50 to enter production in 2020

First customer GT-R50s set to hit the road next year, with prices starting beyond the €1million mark
5 Dec 2019
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
5 Dec 2019
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019