The rivalry between Ford and Toyota in the bakkie category has been fierce over the years, with the Hilux and Ranger among the top-selling vehicles in the country. We know South Africa to have a huge fan base for bakkies, and other manufacturers seem to like the idea of striding into the bakkie industry.
Last week we had a foretaste of how the Mercedes-Benz bakkie could look like, but if you look closely at the picture, you notice that it’s the Hyundai Santa Cruz bakkie based on the Tucson crossover.
According to Motor Trend, we could see the the vehicle in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show. If not, Hyundai will likely choose to unveil the model in January 2017 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Sources also claim that the Santa Cruz has received Hyundai’s green light for production after internal research has shown the South Korean company could sell as much as 50 000 units a year.
According to Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, the production-ready Santa Cruz will be a viable candidate for a diesel engine. While the Euro-spec Tucson is available with 1.7- and 2.0-litre CRDi turbodiesel engines, the Santa Cruz might get something else.
A word from HyundaiSA suggests it’s still too early to know if the bakkie will get a taste of South African sunshine any time soon. The Hyundai Santa Cruz remains a concept for now, with more details to emerge probably during the first quarter of next year.