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Hyundai’s Ridgeline-punching pickup takes shape

Hyundai is preparing to break into the reinvigorated mid-size pickup truck segment, a new report finds. The well-received Santa Cruz concept (pictured) that the South Korean firm introduced at last year’s Detroit Auto Show has been given the green light for production.

“We have made the decision, we have not made the announcement,” confirmed Dave Zuchowski, the president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, in a recent interview with Motor Trend.

Hyundai’s design team has inevitably made a few modifications to the futuristic-looking Santa Cruz concept. Notably, the production model is widely expected to ditch the design study’s rear half doors in favor of four full-size doors. However, the overall silhouette will make the jump from concept to production without any major tweaks.

The truck will ride on the same unibody platform as the Tucson crossover. Hyundai insiders have revealed that one of the engines it could be offered with in the United States is a brand new four-cylinder turbodiesel unit that’s being developed to power Genesis-badged models when the brand launches in Europe in a couple of years’ time. The lineup will include both front- and all-wheel drive variants.

Read more: Hyundai shows off its wild side with another mid-engined concept

Hyundai will reveal more details about its upcoming mid-size truck either later this year during the Los Angeles Auto Show or early next year at the Detroit Auto Show. The production model — which might not retain the Santa Cruz nameplate — will go on sale in 2018 as a 2019 model, according to Motor Trend.

It’s expected to carry a base price of about $25,000, a figure that will make it roughly $5,000 more expensive than the Chevrolet Colorado but $5,000 more affordable than the Honda Ridgeline, its most direct rival. Hyundai believes it can sell anywhere between 50,000 and 70,000 examples of the Santa Cruz annually.