Hyundai Santa Cruz Confirmed For 2020, KIA Pickup Put On Hold

We already wrote about the first pickup truck from South Korea in the US market. Both Hyundai and Kia developed their models. But, it seems like fans will have to wait for a bit for these two companies to step into pickup truck market. According to the latest news, Hyundai Santa Cruz is definitely coming, but not as soon as everybody expected. On the other hand, Kia put on hold its plans for pickup trucks.

Hyundai and Kia are the two fast-growing companies in the automotive world. The first one already made an impact in a compact car, sedan, and especially in SUV classes. The other one is following the steps of its sister company. Cars are economical, affordable, and durable. Crossovers Sportage and Stonic are modern and stylish, and also powerful. We believe both companies could carry over these characteristics to pickup class. However, it will take some time until we see the Hyundai Santa Cruz, and even more before Kia Pickup Truck head into showrooms.

2018 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup grille

Hyundai Santa Cruz Comes in 2020

Initially, the first Hyundai pickup truck was planned for 2018. However, the latest news about this vehicle is saying that development is not going according to the schedule. Officials said they hope that the 2018 Hyundai Santa Cruz faces the delay of at least two years. It is not impossible to see it in 2021 though. One thing is sure – the vehicle got a green light.

Santa Cruz Competition and US Release

Designers and engineers will have a full hand of work before the first test mules come out on the street. The concept is already there. Rendering is showing a cool vehicle that will definitely be a rival to Ford Ranger in most of the world. Nevertheless, the US market is much tougher to conquer, so we can see the Santa Cruz compete there after few years. According to experts, this won’t happen before 2020, and production models could come to North America in 2021. Also, differences will be significant, so we can expect changed model for the major truck market in the world.

2018 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup side


Since the bosses are happy with an idea about the pickup truck, the Hyundai Santa Cruz can continue the development. According to first signs, the ute will debut in Australia and Thailand. So, designers will have to adapt its styling to these markets at the beginning. Launching in Australia means a right-hand drive. Also, that confirms that Ford Ranger will be the main rival to 2020 Hyundai Santa Cruz. Bill Thomas, PR of Australian branch, said this vehicle will be a complete work of the company’s men. No exterior associates will be acquired. First information says we can see Hyundai truck with dual-cab configuration and a 4×4 wheel drive. Besides Ranger, this pickup will compete the Toyota Hilux.

Hyundai Santa Cruz Engine

The truck could borrow an engine from its crossover sibling Santa Fe. A 3.3-liter unit could produce enough power for the compact pickup. Rated at 290 horses, this drivetrain should make all truckers in the US happy.

However, as we said, before the US launch, we will see Hyundai Santa Cruz in Australia. For this market, the Korean carmaker could launch a diesel unit. Our favorite is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder powertrain. It will be slightly less potent with hp rating, but torque should go over 300 lb-ft. But, engineers are still considering all options. Until we see first test mules, we can’t know anything about this brand-new truck.

2018 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup rear

Kia Pickup Truck out of Favor

If fans of Hyundai are disappointed with a delay, the enthusiast will be crazy to hear that Kia is leaving the idea of its pickup truck. Again. This is not the first time that the Korean manufacturer gave a hope to their fans, and then just quit.

Kia Mojave Concept

Back in 2004, the Mojave was a pickup truck that should be a competition to big-three from Japan. However, Kia opted out of the fight against Nissan, Toyota, and Honda, since chiefs believed their company had no chance to battle against all three giants. Nevertheless, the popularity and the market of Kia vehicles are now larger than ever, so the idea of the pickup truck was there again. The Kia Mojave concept was cute, and some solutions could be the same, even after 15 years.

2018 Kia Pickup Truck Concept

Hold in Production or Leaving the Concept

Reasons why Mojave never head into production are still part of speculations. Although model had to test on streets and in the desert, something went wrong and bosses decided to leave the development. Some say that market analytics show that Kia has no chances against other companies. Poor selling records of truck-based crossover Borrego were one of the indicators. For the new Kia Pickup Truck, we still don’t know why it is put on hold.

Some experts claimed that Mojave had a future in the US. Now is the same with a new vehicle that should come out as 2018 Kia Pickup Truck. But, it is official we won’t see it. Also, we will have to wait for an explanation.

Kia Pickup Truck Future

As its predecessor, we doubt that this concept will revive. Instead, it is more likely that Kia will develop a new one. However, they must act fast. The truck market is growing every day, as well as the company. Sales records are making this carmaker so popular. So, it is a right moment to test its capabilities. Furthermore, the Kia Pickup Truck was designed to head directly to the US market. As the stage where competition is very tough and the regulations are strict, Kia had no time or right to make a mistake. The Pickup Truck concept probably didn’t meet all demands, and the carmaker decided to stop its development.

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