While it’s not a Ford F-150 rival, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a compelling pickup choice for urban dwellers. Not least because of features like under-bed storage and a potential 5000-lb towing capacity. However, with the launch of the Ford Maverick, the Santa Cruz has direct competition in the compact pickup world. Could Hyundai be considering answering not with a performance variant, but a related Kia pickup truck?
Kia and Hyundai already share platforms, powertrains, and other technology
The idea of a Kia pickup truck based on the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz isn’t a far-fetched one. Although Kia and Hyundai are separate brands, they’re owned by the same parent company. As a result, many of their vehicles share parts.
The Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade are excellent examples of this. While the three-row SUVs have different styling, they ride on the same platform and use the same powertrain. And apart from some equipment differences between trim levels, both offer the same kinds of options. It’s a similar story with the Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Kona.
To be sure, not every Kia vehicle has a Hyundai equivalent and vice versa. For example, there’s no Hyundai version of the Kia Carnival minivan. And with the death of the Elantra GT hatchback, the Hyundai Veloster has no Kia counterpart. Still, these are more the exceptions than the rule.
It’s also worth noting the Hyundai Santa Cruz already has a Kia connection—sort of. The 2022 Santa Cruz is built on the same platform as the 2022 Tucson. And the Tucson in turn shares a platform with the current-gen Kia Sportage. Therefore, making a Kia truck out of the Santa Cruz is theoretically possible.
A brand executive has confirmed a Kia pickup truck is coming—to Australia
‘Theoretically’ might be the wrong word to use, though. Because we already know Kia is working on making a pickup truck. And this comes straight from a Kia executive.
In June 2019, the Australian motoring site CarsGuide spoke with Kia Australia’s Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith about a potential Kia pickup truck. And Meredith confirmed that the brand was working on bringing a dual-cab pickup to market in 2022 or 2023. However, the confirmation comes with several caveats.
Firstly, Meredith only confirmed a Kia pickup truck was coming to the Australian market in that time frame. Secondly, he claimed Hyundai Australia would have its own version of that truck. If that seems odd, it’s because the Kia pickup truck wouldn’t be a “‘lifestyle vehicle’ like the Hyundai Santa Cruz,” CarsGuide explains. Instead, it would likely be styled after the Telluride.
Would a Kia version of the Hyundai Santa Cruz come to the US?
So, does all that mean the US won’t be getting a Kia pickup truck at all, let alone one based on the Hyundai Santa Cruz? The answer is maybe, maybe not.
Shortly after the CarsGuide news, Motor1 reached out to Kia North America for comment. The replying spokesperson couldn’t “‘comment on remarks made about the brand outside the US market.'” However, they also remarked that “that Kia is ‘always studying the [American] market’ for new opportunities.”
It’s worth pointing out that CarsGuide’s and Motor1’s reports date back to 2019. A lot has changed in the past few years. Most notably, as mentioned earlier, the Santa Cruz’s competition isn’t limited to the Honda Ridgeline anymore. And with the possibility of a unibody Ram Dakota, the Ford Maverick might not be Hyundai’s only truck rival, either.
Making a Kia version of the Santa Cruz would give the platform a better fighting chance on the market. Not to mention more revenue for the parent company. In short, the Hyundai Motor Group has some incentive to pursue the idea. But until there’s official word, all we can do is speculate.
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