Hyundai’s Ridgeline-punching pickup takes shape

Hyundai confirms it will sell its first pickup truck in the U.S.

It’s been about a year since former Hyundai Motor America President and CEO, Dave Zuchowski, stated that the Santa Cruz concept (pictured) had received the internal green light but the South Korean automaker has been awfully quiet since then.

Breaking the silence, Hyundai Motor America’s Vice President of Corporate and Product Planning, Michael J. O’Brien, told Reuters that Hyundai will build the stylish pickup and it will sell it in the U.S. O’Brien also confirmed the truck will look similar to the Santa Cruz concept but did not say whether it would use the concept’s name. During the same conversation, O’Brien confirmed Hyundai will sell a small SUV called the Kona in the U.S. later this year.

Hyundai’s design team will inevitably made a few modifications to the futuristic-looking Santa Cruz concept. Notably, the production model is expected to ditch the design study’s rear half doors in favor of four full-size doors. However, the overall silhouette should 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 turbo diesel unit that is 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.

The production model will go on sale in 2020 — later than anticipated. Along with the Santa Cruz-inspired truck, Hyundai will introduce three other new or refreshed SUVs by 2020. We can expect a redesigned Santa Fe Sport, a new seven-passenger SUV to replace the three-row Santa Fe, and a redesigned Tucson.

The Santa Cruz pickup is 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.

Update: Added news that Hyundai will build its Tucson-based pickup and sell it in the U.S.