For once we are jealous of hipsters because this truck is built for them

Urban gardening, stand-up-paddleboarding, shopping for vintage furniture: either Hyundai has been conducting targeted research on the favourite activities of the so-called millennial buying segment, or the development team for the Santa Cruz watched too many episodes of Portlandia. We can pickle that! Or rather, pickup that!

Meet an all-new segment you didn’t even know existed, the compact crossover pickup market. The compact Santa Cruz is a concept designed to provide light carrying abilities without the penalty at the pump, and comes equipped with a diesel four-cylinder engine making 190hp and 300lb/ft of torque. Neat!

There’s an integrated extendable bed that actually slides the tailgate out, tie-downs wrapped around the wheel-wells, and enough room inside for five. The idea is, most urban-dwellers don’t want to live with the limited maneuverability and high fuel cost of a pickup truck, but they still sometimes need the flexibility and durability of a bed. Hyundai’s trying out their concept for reaction, and while some of the styling cues will never make production (exhausts like a neon parallelogram), the Santa Cruz actually looks pretty good.

Coming back to ideas more solidly anchored in reality, Hyundai also showed off their Sonata plug-in hybrid, to be released as a 2016 model. Equipped with a lithium-ion 9.8kWh battery pack, the plug-in version of the Sonata hybrid has a total power output of 202hp, an electric-only range of 30kms, and a projected total fuel consumption of 2.5L/100kms when charged. It also comes with a conventional 6-speed automatic rather than a continuously-variable transmission, which Hyundai says should give a more connected driving feel. PHEV Sonatas should also come very well equipped, as the full suite of driving aids (forward collision warning, blind spot alert, etc.) will come as standard, along with adaptive cruise control, navigation, and premium audio.

Best of all, the new Sonata hybrid no longer resembles a basking shark with braces, and is in fact a handsome-looking, if not particularly memorable sedan. Hybrids remain just a tiny sliver of the sedan market, but if you liked the idea of a hybridized Hyundai, you’ll probably like the ability to plug it into the wall even more.


Connect with