A ute crossed with an SUV – it may very well be the right marriage within the automotive panorama of 2021.
Each ute and SUV gross sales present no signal of slowing down, neither in Australia or the USA, which is why the subsequent massive factor may very well be SUV-based pick-ups just like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Each all-new fashions are set to formally break cowl someday in 2021 as prospects search for adventurous, lifestyle-orientated automobiles which can be nicer to drive and simpler to dwell with than a full-size, one-tonne ute.
The Hyundai is essentially the most distinguished face of this potential new pattern, having first appeared as an idea approach again on the 2015 Detroit Motor Show. Whereas it’s been an extended gestation interval, experiences from the US are assured that the ultimate production-ready Santa Cruz will arrive by the tip of the yr.
That matches neatly with the arrival of the brand new Santa Fe SUV, which the Santa Cruz is believed to be based mostly on, as these life-style utes signify an economical approach for manufacturers to broaden into new markets.
The Santa Cruz is more likely to share powertrains with the brand new Santa Fe too, which suggests four-cylinder petrol and turbo-diesel engines that can supply extra gasoline effectivity than a full-size ute, albeit on the expense of towing capability. It additionally means the Santa Cruz may very well be provided with front-wheel drive, which isn’t very ute-like, however all-wheel drive can be on the playing cards.
Whereas the Santa Cruz has formally solely been spoken about as a left-hand-drive product (and might be constructed within the US), Hyundai Australia has lengthy maintained an curiosity in it and its latest success in getting the Palisade SUV in-built right-hand drive suggests nothing is off the desk.
The Maverick is predicted to be a right away rival for the Santa Cruz, utilizing the identical underpinnings because the new Escape and Bronco Sport however with a novel, harder ute physique on high. That doubtless means the selection of the Bronco Sport’s three-cylinder turbo or four-cylinder petrol engines and each front- and all-wheel-drive choices.
Whereas the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger are the most well-liked new automobiles bought in Australia – and the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 SUVs within the high 5 – the thought of a lifestyle-focused ute is nothing new in Australia.
The Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon-based utes turned extra life-style and efficiency oriented as they acquired older, assembly market demand for sensible automobiles that drove extra like a automobile than a truck.
Which suggests if the Santa Cruz and Maverick are successful within the US and make their option to Australia ultimately, we may very well be wanting on the subsequent main enlargement marketplace for automobile manufacturers. With passenger automobile gross sales in decline, automobile makers are searching for SUV-based derivatives to fill out the showroom.
There are quite a few potentialities for the main manufacturers available in the market: Toyota might construct a junior HiLux on the RAV4 underpinnings; Mazda may discover incremental gross sales with a CX-5-derived ‘BT-30’; and Subaru has the trump card as a result of it might revive the Brumby nameplate as a Forester-based ute.