In the States, they are talking about meeting the unspoken needs of urban adventurers. In Australia, they say a Ute had better be a Ute, a commercial bakkie sitting on a ladder frame. So two totally different vehicles for two totally different markets. Let’s look at these options.
Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept
One vision of the future is the unibody Santa Cruz, a sleek 4-door, 5-seat pickup. Like an SUV, but with open bed instead of the usual boot. It does not compete with the traditional truck/bakkie idea, so ground-clearance, towing capacity and payload are not priorities.
During the week you will use it as a car, with a retractable cover on the bed keeping your laptop or groceries safe. After hours and on weekends the load-bed will provide an outside-the-cab space to put the recycling, chuck your wet and sandy wetsuit, or put the compost and new plants from the garden centre.
This gives you the benefits of a compact SUV, the drive, the ease of parking, even the looks. But anyone who has ever tried to fit a mountain bike into the boot of an SUV will immediately see the problem here. The bed is too small, so where does that take your lifestyle?
Enter the tailgate extension. You can expand the bed to a similar length of that of a mid-size bakkie, to pack the bikes or haul the couch. The Santa Cruz is a Compact Utility Vehicle, or as Hyundai calls it, a Crossover Truck. A car with space for the dirty stuff in the back.
Hyundai will reportedly be making the Santa Crux in its Alabama plant, based on the Hyundai Santa Fe underpinnings.
The Aussie vision.
According to Hyundai Australia CEO John Kett: “If we are going to bring a Ute out, it had better be a Ute.” That means a full range of one-ton Ute-based commercial vehicles that are based on a ladder-frame chassis. So robust single and double cab bakkies, in 4 x 2 and 4 x4. Bakkies that can go rough, pull and carry a load. Competing with the likes of the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.
This rough and tough Ute could be launched somewhere between 2021 and ’23. And a little New Zealand birdie whispered that it may well be called the Pavise.
So two totally different vehicles for totally different markets. Which Hyundai bakkie will fit in South Africa? I would venture both would find a home in our current Hyundai range. What do you think?