Ask Nathan: 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz N, Your Overpriced Gladiator, And Where Are Porsche Reviews?

  • Will we see a 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz N, or N Line?
  • Hate your video about the “inexpensive” Jeep Gladiator
  • Why don’t you guys review new Porsches?
Will we see a 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz N? (Images: TFLtruck)

The first question comes from a viewer who wants to know if we will see a 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz N.

Q:  (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen – PM) I wanted to know Nathan if you think they will build a 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz N or N Line?

Why is it taking so long? I want my Hyundai pickup now! Now if they could make it a N versions it would be amazing!

Elle CK – Pasadena, CA

A: Interesting question.

Over the past six years, I’ve received hundreds of questions about the Santa Cruz. The “Ask Nathan” post has published about a half a dozen responses so far. It is a remarkably popular topic, despite all of its delays. In that time, no one has asked about the possibility of a 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz N (or N Line).

From what we know, Hyundai intends to unveil the Santa Cruz sometime in 2021. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a utility with a pickup bed that’s based on the Santa Fe crossover. Think of a slightly smaller Honda Ridgeline, and you’d be on the right track.

Over the past few years, Hyundai made it very clear that they would begin making high performance versions of their vehicles. They weren’t specific about which cars would get the upgrades, but about half of their fleet already has N and N-Line options. The “N” versions of their cars are rip-snortin‘ fast machines, and the “N Line” option gives you go-fast bits – without the atomic powerplant.

I’m not too sure about a 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz N right off the bat. It may take a few years, or it may not happen at all. The Santa Cruz should be pretty good on rough roads and snow, but it’s built for consumers to haul and move, so high-end power may not be a priority. Still, if they did build an “N” version of the Santa Cruz, it could be epic. Hyundai has a 2.5-liter turbo-4 producing 290-horsepower, and it makes 311 lbs-feet of torque. That powerplant is in the brilliant Hyundai Sonata N.

That type of power in a light utility pickup would trounce the Ridgeline.

At this point, I’ll just be happy to see the Santa Cruz in person. Still, the idea of a beefier version is downright exciting.

We’ll see soon (I hope).

— N

The next batch of comments comes from viewers of a Jeep Gladiator video I did were I stated that the inexpensive version is a great deal. Lots of pro and con opinions on this one.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
Our Jeep Gladiator Rubicon in overlanding mode

Q: (A few examples via: YouTube) “Affordable” LOL! (PJ1)

  • I feel like 39k for that is still too much (PingPngBallZ)
  • No jeep is a deal…. I’ve bought a lot of new cars and jeeps are so bare at base its no deal (Jake the Snake)
  • Affordable =/= $40,000 (Chris O)
  • My Gladiator Sport with the max tow package and the hard top stickered for $33,700. No power windows or door locks. I checked the dealer websites then moved when I found the right price. (Nicolas Livioti)
  • We have different definitions of what affordable means (Se-Llama-Sal)
  • This is an affordable vehicle if you make 90k + a year (Vincent Sluga)

… and this snippet from an email:

“I’m glad you can afford a useless and overpriced toy. You can get a better Toyota for less! I’m sure you can easily blow so much money being rich. But us blue collar guys don’t find $40,000 hanging off trees. You need to get your priorities straight!” E Peterson II

A: Thanks for reaching out.

I want to be clear: this vehicle in the video was an example, the model I was talking about was a $33,500 Gladiator before incentives. The model in the video had options (like a hard top) that I’m not interested in.

Now, let me explain why the Jeep Gladiator Sport is an awesome bargain. For a low $33,000-$35,000 price-tag you get a crew-cab, 4×4 with solid front and rear axles, a convertible roof and a utilitarian truck. Sure, it needs some upgrades to make it right, but that’s the joy of the Jeep brand – they are easily customizable.

Oh, and for those of you who mentioned Toyota: I know about the Tacoma. I even owned one. Unfortunately, I don’t fit very well and I like the front seat comfort of the Gladiator over the Tacoma.

Yep, unless something else jumps out at me, I find the Jeep Gladiator Sport to be right up my alley.


The last question comes from a fan who wants to know why we don’t review Porsches that often.

Q: (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Nathan. Why doesn’t TFL review Porsche?

Is it like Subaru when they took them away because you were honest?

— Pinald

A: Hi there.

Actually, Porsche is different than Subaru with us. Simply put, Porsche doesn’t think that they need to supply cars to fleets that are not located in coastal locations. The Rocky Mountain region has been without Porsche for nearly a decade. Occasionally, a journalist will get their mitts on a Porsche that’s outside their fleet locations – but those guys are VIPs.

It’s a shame; we love Porsche and TFL Studios has owned four over the years. Every chance I get to drive a 911 (any 911) I jump at it. On top of that, Porsche has some outstanding SUV/crossovers that would kill it, in the Rocky Mountains.

We were saddened when they pulled out of the region. Hopefully, they will make a return to our neighborhood. From time to time, we do get to play with one at larger events, but that’s rare. Also, we get our friends to review them for us – when possible.

— N

Speaking of Porsche…