There are many combinations in life that should never happen; ice cream and raw mince, guns and children,Kardashians and…well anything – all things we’d rather not think about. Yet there are some matches that should be considered; and in this instance, I’m talking about a Hyundai illustrated in ‘Pickup Truck’ format. Rewind back to this year’s Detroit Motor Show and you’ll no doubt recall Hyundai revealing its Santa Cruz compact utility concept. It was Hyundai’s interpretation of a vehicle that would cater to the needs of people wanting something slightly more practical than an SUV, but not a full-blown pickup.
Recipe for great success may you say? Remember the Subaru Baja? I’m not so sure that it would be a cash cow like Hyundai would want it to be. Lets move that concept to one side and look at something that could do big things for the Seoul-based manufacturer; I’m talking about a smaller, mid-size truck that looks great with decent off-road and haulage capabilities. Sure, Hyundai and “truck” may be foreign for those looking at a Tacoma, Colorado or Frontier; yet I think with the right attributes it could do well.
Firstly, the design has to appeal; in this instance, a rugged take on Hyundai’s “Fluidic Precision” design language would mix the current corporate look with aggressive creases and diagonal design elements. The brand’s signature hexagonal front grille (which the rest of the industry seems to be hell-bent on using) sits proudly between recessed LED headlamps, while prominent air inlets house the fog-lights.
Protective plastic cladding protects the lower portion of the body, whilst the rear has a separated cargo bed for other utilitarian configurations. There is only so much you can do with the design of a pickup’s glasshouse – so here it’s rather traditional looking, with a hint of Santa Cruz in the C-Pillars. Under the hood would ideally sit Hyundai’s current 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo from the Sonata; coupled with a new electric-hybrid for fuel efficiency and low-end torque. Power would be sent via an all-wheel drive system and a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch auto from the all-new Tuscon SUV.
Unlike the Santa Cruz concept which could be based off the new Tucson, this 5-seat compact truck would need to be body-on-frame for better stiffness and load-carrying capacity; unfortunately Hyundai doesn’t have such a dedicated platform, so would need to develop this type of vehicle from the ground up with a lot of investment.
Whilst this offering might have its work cut out for it in the United States of America-land, it could do very well in other parts of the globe like Europe and Asia-Pacific. Light commercial sales in these areas are generally dominated by the likes of Toyota’s Hilux, Ford Ranger (global version), Mitsubishi Triton/L200 and Nissan Navara/Frontier.
Ultimately, this is just my interpretation of a Hyundai pickup, we’d love to know your thoughts on whether or not Hyundai should build such a vehicle in the comments section below.
By Josh Byrnes