Hyundai reveals truck compact crossover concept

Hyundai Santa Cruz
It makes work fun, or something...

Not content to rest on its laurels following the release of the snazzy Genesis, Hyundai has unveiled arguably its most significant model in years.

Looking like a cross between a futuristic beach mobile and a tough working truck, Hyundai caught everyone by surprise at the Detroit Auto Show with its Santa Cruz concept, which is unlike anything we've seen from the South Korean manufacturer before.

Powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, the Santa Cruz delivers around 140kW and 407Nm of grunt, and the inclusion of Hyundai's HTRAC all-wheel drive system means there's plenty of off-road potential.

Work hard, play hard

Those looking for a working vehicle will probably hesitate at the lack of space in the Santa Cruz's tray, although it features a tailgate extension system that can temporarily accommodate larger objects.

While we can't see Hyundai taking on big trucks like the Ford F-150 in the US or Toyota Hilux in Australia just yet – Hyundai has admitted that towing, payload and ground clearance were not priorities – the Santa Cruz still takes Hyundai in a new direction and could pave the way for competition with those larger models further down the road.

Hyundai hasn't announced plans to place the Santa Cruz into production – that may never happen – but the vehicle's unveiling confirms Hyundai's willingness to expand what the brand stands for.