The Honda Ridgeline has always had trouble fitting in with the full-size, body-on-frame pickups offered by American manufacturers. Even when it comes to other midsize offerings, it's always been an outcast, but now, thankfully, it has a friend. Or rival. Not sure which.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz is the Korean automaker's only pickup, and like the Ridgeline, it's not the roll-coal, solid-axle truck Americans are used to. It's a lighter-duty vehicle designed to be a bit more fun and stylish. How fun it is to drive and how capable it is off-road is yet to be seen, though. For now, we'll just have to compare the two on paper.
Power: 275+horsepower | 310+ lb-ft of torque (190+horsepower | 180+ lb-ft of torque)
Dimensions: 195.7 inches long x 75 inches wide x 66.7 inches high
Bed Length: 52.1inches
Max Towing: 5,000 pounds (3,500 with 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four)
Curb Weight: TBA
Fuel Economy: TBA
There are a few vital things we still don't know about the Hyundai despite its reveal today—primarily the cost, curb weight, and fuel economy. We can make some educated guesses, however. The truck is somewhat similar to the Hyundai Tucson so prices will likely be in that neighborhood—a near-$30,000 base is theoretically possible. As far as fuel economy goes, that's a big unknown. The Santa Cruz's wheelbase is a full 13 inches longer than the Tucson's, so while the two models share a platform, there's no telling how the Santa Cruz will fair in that department. The Tucson gets 23 mpg city, 28 mpg highway but that's with a different engine and a curb weight of 4,060 pounds—not exactly apples-to-apples.
As it compares to the Ridgeline, based on what we know, the Santa Cruz is actually pretty distinct from its Japanese competitor. It's smaller in every dimension and takes a decidedly different drivetrain approach, though at the same time, it has an identical towing capacity to the Honda. At 52.1 inches—only 4.3-feet long—its bed is nearly a foot shorter than the Honda's as well.
So it seems like while the Santa Cruz is competing with the Ridgeline as a similar-sized import pickup, it's trying to carve out its own niche. Its bed space and overall size cap its utility somewhat, but with a shorter wheelbase and more torque than the Ridgeline, it might just be the pluckier off-road option that's a bit more style than substance, for the better.
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