Truck fans give vehicles like the Honda Ridgeline a lot of crap for not being a "real truck." Maybe that's true in some respects, but the Ridgeline opened the door for other companies to sell something truck-adjacent that offers tons of practicality and utility without a massive price tag.
That's where Hyundai comes in. The Korean manufacturer has been alluding to the fact that it had a truck, or at the very least a truck-adjacent vehicle in the works for the US for a while now. But it's looking like that vehicle could be closer to a debut than we thought. Automotive News published a report on Tuesday that Hyundai where a US executive essentially confirmed its existence.
"It'll be a very versatile vehicle," said Michael O'Brien, vice president of product, corporate and digital planning for Hyundai North America, in a statement. "That has the promise of creating a whole new class of buyers."
We use the Ridgeline as a comparison for several reasons. First, Hyundai debuted a concept called the Santa Cruz back in 2015 at the Detroit Auto Show, and it bore something of a resemblance to Honda's hauler. Next, Hyundai doesn't currently offer any vehicles with body-on-frame construction, which would make it likely that it'd sport a unibody, like the Ridgeline.
The Santa Cruz concept had a turbo diesel engine, but given the current climate for diesel passenger vehicles in the US, and the fact that Hyundai doesn't sell any other diesel models here, we're expecting to see some variant of the brand's turbo-four or six-cylinder gasoline models.
Finally, we'd expect to see this new model built here in the US as opposed to Mexico or back in Korea in an effort to keep it price-competitive in an increasingly challenging political landscape with threats to increase tariffs ready to eat into potential profits.
Hyundai's first US pickup expected to look like its 2015 Santa Cruz concept