Hyundai Santa Cruz ‘goes home’ – ad campaign taps California beach city’s local surfers, skaters, artists

Tucson, Arizona. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hyundai has a habit of naming its SUVs after American cities, and when it came to their new compact truck, they called it Santa Cruz. That’s a Californian beach city on the northern edge of Monterey Bay, south of San Jose. The small truck is more “lifestyle” than “work”, and as we’ll see here, Santa Cruz is a rather fitting name for the new model.

Hyundai says that the Santa Cruz is inspired by the city it is named after and the passion for adventure that lives there. In the marketing launch for its first-ever “Sport Adventure Vehicle”, Hyundai is partnering with former pro skateboarder and documentary filmmaker, Stacy Peralta, and local legends of the city to show how their spirit of adventure carries into the journeys the truck can deliver.

Developed and executed by Hyundai’s agency Innocean USA, the digital-led campaign launches with a long-form digital video. “Journey Through Santa Cruz” features pro surfer Matt Rockhold, artist Jimbo Phillips and female skate crew Lady Lurkers. These Santa Cruz locals embody the truck’s intent, showing how it is equally at home in urban and adventure settings, Hyundai says.

“The Santa Cruz is a new type of vehicle that combines SUV benefits with open bed versatility to enable the adventures that make journeys fun. This digital-first campaign is all about showing the adventure and lifestyle this unique vehicle can deliver for people who live in the city but are driven by nature and outdoor activities,” said Angela Zepeda, Hyundai Motor America’s chief marketing officer.

In addition to the video above, Hyundai will run digital pre-roll targeted directly at the Santa Cruz’s “distinct, adventure-minded audiences” where 30- and 15-second TV spots with footage from the “Journey Through Santa Cruz” shoot will air on US national TV, including during Sunday Night Football on NBC.

Hyundai released revealed pricing and packaging details for the 2022 Santa Cruz last month. The Alabama-made truck starts from US$23,990 (RM101,341), which the company says is an attractive entry point for target buyers. The top 2.5L Turbo AWD Limited you see here is US$39,720 (RM167,785).

The unibody Santa Cruz – a faithful reproduction of the similarly named concept from 2015 – shares the same platform as the current Tucson SUV. It comes with two 2.5 litre engine options, both paired with eight-speed automatics. The standard engine is a direct-injection naturally aspirated one with an estimated 190+ hp and over 245 Nm of torque, paired with a conventional torque converter gearbox.

There’s also a turbo option (estimated 275+ hp, over 420 Nm) with a dual-clutch gearbox and steering shift paddles. Both engines offer HTRAC all-wheel drive. The AWD is a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between front and rear axles. The Sport setting gives a more agile feel by sending more torque to the rear wheels.

Towing capacity is surprisingly strong for such a small truck – the Turbo AWD can pull 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg), which is a fair bit more than the also-fresh Ford Maverick with the top 2.0 litre EcoBoost turbo engine and optional 4K Tow Package (1,800 kg), and even more than a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon.

GALLERY: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

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