It’s a truck-U-V? Hyundai targets ‘urban adventurers’ with wild Santa Cruz concept

As the car industry continues to mature and evolve, the lines will become increasingly blurry.

There was once a time where you chose between a car, truck, or SUV, and it was as simple as that. Now, there are Sports Activity Coupes, Sports Activity Vehicles, and crossovers aplenty, a name that can be applied to just about anything.

At the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Hyundai revealed the Santa Cruz crossover truck concept, a vehicle that the company is calling “convention-shattering.”

Of course, the Korean automaker could be playing off the buzzing excitement within the walls of Detroit’s COBO Center, but more likely the Santa Cruz was meant to challenge the way younger generations move about.

The concept is half-truck, half-CUV, with the high points of both and seating for five. There’s room in the extendable bed for whatever the “urban adventurer” may come across, but with the city-friendly footprint of a small crossover.

Practicalty aside, the Santa Cruz is not a Ford F-150. During the vehicle’s global premier, Hyundai’s Director of Corporate Planning Mark Dipko said, “max payload, towing, and ground clearance aren’t the point, at all.”

What is the point, then? Well, like all CUVs, the Santa Cruz is designed to simultaneously appeal to different customer bases in pursuit of a greater market share. Part of that strategy is word of mouth and media presence, which brings us to the styling.

The crossover is bold, with huge wheels, an LED-laden front end, and an aggressive, Honda Ridgeline-esque side profile. It makes an aesthetic statement right off the bat, one that will get people talking in both positive and negative ways. It will get people talking though, and that’s half the battle right there.

Codenamed HCD15, Hyundai’s wild concept equips an “ultra clean” 2.0-liter turbo diesel that delivers 190 horsepower, 300 pound-feet of torque, and a fuel economy rating “in the high 30-mpg range.” The Santa Cruz also fits Hyundai’s ‘HTRAC’ all-wheel drive system.

“The Santa Cruz crossover truck concept meets the unspoken needs of a growing Millennial lifestyle we call ‘Urban Adventurers’,” continued Dipko. “This new crossover allows them all the expandable utility they need throughout their active week, from work-life professionalism, to social interests, to a whole variety of outdoor pursuits, without the typical compromises they have come to expect from the industry’s current product offerings.”

Stay tuned for more details about the Santa Cruz crossover concept and our continuing coverage of the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.


Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.

Move mountains with the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty and its 1,000 pound-feet of torque

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck boasts 1,000 pound-feet of torque -- outgunning rival trucks from Ford and Chevrolet. The new Ram goes on sale later this year.

The 8-seat, 3-row 2020 Telluride SUV is the biggest Kia ever

It's fitting that the 2020 Kia Telluride debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, as it was built specifically to meet U.S. buyers' insatiable demand for SUVs. Kia packed the eight-seat cabin with family-friendly tech as well.

Cadillac is finally ready to take on Tesla with its own electric car

At the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac announced plans for its first electric car. The unnamed model will be a crossover, based on a new platform to be shared with other General Motors brands.

With 341 horsepower, the WRX STI S209 is the most powerful Subaru ever

The Subaru WRX STI S209 is the latest in a series of special editions that have never been sold in the United States before. The 341-horsepower pocket rocket debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.