Could we see an N-branded pickup?
Hyundai has not been shy regarding its plans to build a small, affordable pickup truck for the US market. The company initially showed off a well-received concept vehicle called the Santa Cruz, though the final production version will likely go in a different design direction and use a new name. There are still too many variables left to figure out and Hyundai's pickup truck could go in a number of different directions, including a Kia version.
We assume Kia's pickup truck will be based on the same platform as Hyundai's but like the Telluride and Palisade, they will be styled and marketed very differently. Speaking with Hyundai N boss Albert Biermann, Motoring learned a Raptor-rivaling performance version may even be on the table.
When asked if there would be an N version of Hyundai's upcoming pickup truck, Biermann answered, "You have to be ready for everything from Hyundai and Kia, everything is possible. So there's no limitations." If Hyundai does end up building an N-branded truck, it could make an excellent rival for the Ford Ranger Raptor, which is not sold in the US market.
Since this is just speculation, for the time being, it is unknown what engine would power Hyundai's performance-oriented truck. One option would be the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Veloster N, which currently produces as much as 275 horsepower. This would be plenty more than the Ranger Raptor's 2.0-liter twin-turbo diesel engine with just 210 hp but a whopping 369 lb-ft of torque.
Despite being a lot heavier than a Veloster N, the N-branded pickup could still hit 60 mph in less than seven seconds, making it much quicker than the Ranger. Biermann also hinted at a future N-branded SUV, possibly the Kona or Tuscon, and said an all-electric vehicle would come eventually but buyers are "not ready yet" for such a vehicle.