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This year Hyundai will be bringing a Custom Hyundai Tucson crossover to SEMA. In collaboration with Rockstar Performance Garage, the Tucson will be outfitted with rock-climbing gear, rugged looks and accessories, and upgrades under the hood as well.

All this got me thinking about the Santa Cruz, and whether or not it might come in any special editions or versions. First let's look into more details about the Hyundai Tucson that will be heading to SEMA. Following that we can imagine what is possible with the Santa Cruz.

The SEMA-bound Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai's SEMA-bound Tucson has a lot of modifications to rattle off here. It has custom bumpers, smoked lights, skid plates, multiple LED light bars, light "spikes", and an upgraded sound system.

Those accessories are just the beginning though. This special Tucson has been raised 6 inches and the fenders have been modified to make space for some 32-inch Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 tires that wrap around KMC 17-inch "Bully" wheels. Suspension also received some attention with new 2.5-inch adjustable coilovers and shocks from King Shocks.

If we move under the hood now, there is new turbo plumbing, a high-flow exhaust and new intake and intercooler systems. All that must make some significant improvements to the 1.6-liter turbo four engine, but Hyundai has given out the details of exactly what those improvements look like in real numbers.

Of note is the fact that there was no mention of changes to the Tucson's AWD system.

So that's the SEMA Tucson. The Santa Cruz is being built on the same platform as the Tucson, so it is theoretically possible for many of the changes that we see on the Tucson to happen to the Santa Cruz as well.

Would there be a market for a more off-road oriented Santa Cruz?

It would have improved suspension, raised a few inches, a skid plate underneath, and hopefully an improved AWD system (that the Tucson doesn't have).


There aren't many competitors in the segment at the moment, but there are a few precedents for vehicles like this. There was the Ford Ranger FX4 which came with " with a special 31-spline 8.8-inch (223.5 mm) Ford 8.8 rear axle equipped with a Zexel-Torsen limited-slip differential, three skid plates, upgraded tow hooks, 31" BFGoodrich All Terrains, 15-inch forged Alcoa wheels, and Bilstein shocks." There is also the Colorado Z71 Trail Boss which has an off-road package as well as some other unique features for functionality and appearance. Finally there is the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro which boasts that it is "ready to help you dominate extreme terrain... [and] is just as comfortable running the dunes as it is towing your boat."

The Santa Cruz isn't meant to have the capability of the Ranger, Tacoma or Colorado, so as far as off-road capability goes, it simply won't measure up to these competitors. I am reminded of the off-road package for the Audi Q3, however, that only added cosmetic bits to give it that look. A similar intention could be taken with the Santa Cruz in an off-road form.

What about a N-Performance Santa Cruz?

A more likely variant would be an N-Performance version of the Santa Cruz. We know that Hyundai is working to develop its N-Performance brand. If the Santa Cruz got some good performance increases, it could be a really popular vehicle for people who want something that is fun to drive, small enough for an urban environment, yet still provides a useful truck bed for whatever you may need it for.
 

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Hard to say. Depends on what people are going to use a compact pickup truck for. I will most likely just use it to carry things across paved roads because I have better vehicles for off road fun.
 

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I can see this going well for them, if they can do something up to par with the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk then they might have some luck with tapping into that volume of buyers and even bringing in new first time buyers to a product like this.
 

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I think that they will make more headway if they do a performance model. Just thinking about the people who will be going for this vehicle -- urbanites.
 

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I think that they will make more headway if they do a performance model. Just thinking about the people who will be going for this vehicle -- urbanites.
Agreed.

As far as offroad, Hyundai just needs to make sure it comes with a capable AWD system to handle very light trails or sand.
 

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Can't really see the Santa Cruz as a off road vehicle unless they raise it a good few inches but it certainly has the potential of being a fun truck to take on off road camping trips and such.
 

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Can't really see the Santa Cruz as a off road vehicle unless they raise it a good few inches but it certainly has the potential of being a fun truck to take on off road camping trips and such.
Raising it is just the beginning, a true off road package comes with a whole host of parts. Just look at what Jeep does to its Trailhawk models and how rugged those Jeeps are off road.
 

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Hello to everyone, new member, I am really excited about the Santa Cruz. The compact truck segment has vanished over the last few years, nothing but large gas sucking monsters that all look alike from a distance, and then you have the Santa Cruz. What a design, looks like nothing else on the road. Do ether performance or off road Hyundai will have a winner ! Please don't change anything with the exterior, and please don't make it bigger. If it is built, I will be the first in line to trade my Lexus.
 

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Trading in a Lexus for a Hyundai, boy oh boy, Hyundai has come a long way.

I have a feeling the production Santa Cruz might be a bit more truck looking than the concept. Rather than the more ute looking style that the concept has.
 

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They sure have.

The new Genesis is a good example of how much they improved, i'm sure even sales numbers help to show how much people are loving them since i've been seeing a good amount of them.

Now they just need to boost Kia.
 

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Isn't the Lund Genesis a full sized truck?
As for Kia, they seem to be stuck with the Soul. Sure they've had a lot of concept models but a lot of them doesn't go into production.
 

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Isn't the Lund Genesis a full sized truck?
As for Kia, they seem to be stuck with the Soul. Sure they've had a lot of concept models but a lot of them doesn't go into production.
I only know of the genesis coupe and sedan... never heard of the Lund Genesis.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I haven't seen anything about a Lund Genesis either. Google isn't turning up much.

Kia is pretty married to the Soul. I think often the thought is, why do something different when we can just modify the Soul and we already know everyone likes it.
 
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