It looks like a truck.
It acts like a truck.
And despite Hyundai pitching its new Santa Cruz as a "lifestyle vehicle," it's probably going to get used like a truck.
"We're not calling it a pickup truck, of course. But we know because it has a bed, it's going to be treated like a pickup truck," Dave Curtis, one of Hyundai's senior engineering managers, told me.
That means that the Santa Cruz, with its stated 5,000-pound towing capacity, may end up working for a living: hauling lawn equipment, getting loaded down with bags of cement, etc.
So Hyundai made the Santa Cruz a little more rugged than its specifications show — a sensible move for the company's first North American pickup product. Buyers don't often read the owner's manual or heed the warnings contained therein. They've also have been conditioned to think trucks can move just about anything.
Hyundai officials admit as much: "We know people will overload the vehicle, and it's tested past that point. I can't say how much," Curtis said.
"If it has a bed, there's going to be some expectation that it can deal with heavy loads."