2020 Kia Telluride pickup mock up

What the Hyundai Santa Cruz Means for Kia’s Pickup Truck Ambitions

Is Kia Getting a Pickup Truck in 2019?

When the Hyundai Santa Cruz was announced, the industry stopped and paid attention. After all, the pickup truck market is one that is known especially for shopper loyalty and a new entry is challenging and difficult to nail. Plus, they’re expensive vehicles to manufacture to scale. For Hyundai, this would mean entering a brand-new market, challenging icons like the Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and Honda Ridgeline.

For that reason, the Santa Cruz was thought to be an aspirational concept and little else.

[READ MORE: Our Original Look at Kia’s Chances of Building a Pickup Truck in the United States]

If Hyundai, and its cousin Kia, have one skill above all else, however, it’s challenging the status quo. This last year, Hyundai confirmed the Santa Cruz for production. Hyundai will join the compact pickup truck class currently occupied by the Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. Could this signal entry for Kia in this competitive class?

We think so.

hyundai santa cruz pickup truck

We hope it doesn’t look anything like this.

2020 Kia telluride driving in desert over dust

Call us biased, but this…we could get behind.

2020 Kia Pickup Truck

With Hyundai making this announcement, it will likely be the 2020 or 2021 model year before the Santa Cruz hits the market. With Hyundai and Kia sharing many platforms and the Santa Cruz being a FWD-bias truck that will be presumably built on the Palisade SUV platform shared with the upcoming Kia Telluride, a pickup truck version would require little rethinking on Kia’s part.

Additionally, it would be a wise move for Kia as drivers who prefer the smooth ride of a unibody vehicle and the utility of a truck will have only the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the Honda Ridgeline to choose from. Kia could provide a third option that extends their unique value proposition and performance focus to the segment.

Finally, the choice of engine in the 2020 Kia Telluride – a naturally-aspirated 3.8L V6 – is likely a clue that Kia plans to use this engine for bigger ambitions. Rather than relying on a turbocharged 4-cylinder like the Subaru Ascent or even using the Kia Sorento’s 3.3L V6, Kia has given the Telluride a bigger engine with higher torque figures.

This engine will likely have a focus on towing, making the Telluride an ideal platform for Kia to build out a pickup truck.

We’ve mocked up the Telluride pickup truck in the past and here is what we’ve come up with.

mocked up Kia Telluride pickup truck

I’m sorry, we’re not at this time accepting more graphic design commissions.

For more information on Kia’s lineup or wild speculation about the future of Kia, contact us today!

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