Speaking to caradvice.com.au at the recent launch of the updated Tucson, Hyundai Australia’s Product Planning Manager, Andrew Tuitahi, said while the Santa Cruz remains on its wish list for market launch, it could no longer go beyond the bounds of stressing its importance enough.
“If you want to look at product gaps that we have in the market they're pretty easy to identify. We couldn't push any harder, and yeah it will work outside of Australia, a dual cab pickup. Huge market in south-east Asia, reasonable market in Middle East and South Africa. So, it's a tough one,” Tuitahi said.
“It's too soon to confirm what we're pushing for, but I think you can have a look at what our global powertrain offering is within Hyundai Motor Group and make some guesses as to what may work in that car – whether it's petrol, diesel or an evolution of current engines”.
Asked about a possibility of there being a performance version of the Santa Cruz to rival the Ford Ranger Raptor, Tuitahi, who remarked last year that it would keep a close eye on both the Raptor and the 200kW Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI, said a case would definitely be drawn-up if approval is given for release in Australia.
“It'll be interesting to see how the more performance oriented utes go over time, we've been watching it [performance utes] closely and looking at something like Ranger Raptor and a lot of the customer feedback about a smaller four cylinder. Seems to be a lot of requests about performance petrol as well. So you know, we'll keep a close eye on it,” he said.
Based on spy images that emerged back in July, Hyundai appears to be working on two different types of pick-ups with the Santa Cruz, which will reportedly ride on a unibody platform, due to go on sale in the States only, while global markets will receive a more workhorse focused variant with more traditional styling and a ladder-frame chassis.
While rumours are that the Santa Cruz will come powered by the 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 also used in the Kia Stinger and various Genesis models, the world model will be less sophisticated and instead opt for the new Santa Fe’s 2.2-litre turbodiesel or speculatively, the 2.5-litre motor from the H-1.
Aside from the Santa Cruz, Tuitahi also said that a SUV bigger than the Santa Fe would be welcome addition, hinting that the eight-seat Palisade, which will go on sale in the States next year, could be the perfect fit as a possible rival for the Toyota Prado and Land Rover Discovery. At present though, Hyundai is not expected to make Palisade available with right-hand drive.