Its Alabama plant is now producing more models than ever before.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz was revealed back in April, and it's definitely one of the most stylish pickups around - despite Hyundai being adamant it's an entirely new class of vehicle altogether. But as good as it may be, we haven't had a chance to drive it yet. Fortunately, we'll get the opportunity soon enough, as Hyundai announced yesterday that production of the little truck - sorry, Sport Adventure Vehicle - has begun. It's taking place at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, where the Sonata, Elantra, Santa Fe, and Tucson offerings are all assembled. With the addition of the Santa Cruz, the Montogmery assembly line is producing five different models at once for the first time.
To help HMMA produce the new 'SAV', the plant was recently extended just for the Santa Cruz, and Hyundai is very proud of what the future holds. "We are excited and honored to be producing Hyundai's first open bed vehicle for the North American market," said HMMA President and CEO, Ernie Kim. "The launch of the Santa Cruz is a further testament to the trust Hyundai Motor company puts in HMMA and our Alabama home. I am so proud of our Team Members for accomplishing this achievement while the world is going through such difficult times. We can't wait for our customers to experience the innovative design and world-class quality the Santa Cruz will bring to the table."
Now that production has begun, we will finally get the chance to do real-world tests comparing the latest Hyundai model to its Ford and Honda rivals. As for when exactly this will happen, Hyundai says nothing beyond that the truck will start to arrive in US dealerships later this summer. At that point, we'll be able to evaluate its 2.5-liter four-pot, which is to be available as both a naturally aspirated and as a turbocharged power plant. The former produces 190 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, while the latter offers 275 horses and 310 lb-ft of twist. Hopefully, the Santa Cruz will be worth the wait.