Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Dresses Down in Spy Shot

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
hyundai santa cruz pickup dresses down in spy shot

Interesting, segment-shunning product isn’t as commonplace as it once was, but some automakers are still willing to think outside the box. The two-box shape, that is. Hyundai’s one of them, as the automaker’s long-awaited Santa Cruz pickup is now greenlit and headed for production in Alabama in 2021.

More consumer-friendly than the concept vehicle released in 2015, the production Santa Cruz has already been spied undergoing testing while wearing frumpy camouflage. Now, it’s been seen in the buff.

Not unclothed in the traditional sense, however. The body shell turned up in a photo sent to Motor1, free of drivetrain and suspension components. Still, it’s our best look yet.

With its Elantra-esque side creases giving it away as a Hyundai (not Ford’s upcoming company, unibody pickup), the vehicle’s profile seems to match the earlier spy pics of a driveable product.

Yes, it’s unibody, as Hyundai brass surely wouldn’t have signed off on a niche model of dubious demand if they couldn’t reach deep into the parts bin. The platform underpinning the Santa Fe is expected to serve beneath the Santa Cruz, and one imagines the crossover will offer up its engines, as well.

With brawny wheel arch (and rocker) cladding a certainty, the Santa Cruz boasts a pleasing profile that distances itself from such oddly-proportioned creations as the defunct Subaru Baja. Sadly, the angle of the pic prevents us from seeing whether the model carries a bed-lengthening midgate. Too bad. We already knew a conventional four-door arrangement was in the cards, as sexy clamshell doors rarely carry over from concept to showroom.

As it gets its act together following the coronavirus shutdown, it will be interesting to see Hyundai move forward on this product. Priced correctly, it could prove a viable model with buyers who see no need in spending more to gain excess capacity they’ll likely never use.

[Image: Hyundai]

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2 of 19 comments
  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on May 07, 2020

    I'm hoping it's not going to be a disaster, but I think it will be, and they have nobody to blame but themselves. They had the look down, they didn't need to mess with it, but they did, and...?

  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 07, 2020

    I would settle for the crew cab as long as I could fit my rear engine riding mower in the bed and be able to close the tailgate. I still would rather have the basest model. I still prefer the concept with the extended cab and a rear seat delete.

  • Carlson Fan I think it is pretty cool & grew up with a '75 Ford window van so I can attest to their utility. $60K is a lot for any vehicle and I'm not convinced EV's are ready for prime time for a number of reasons. It would make an awesome 2nd or 3rd vehicle in a multi-car household but again the price would keep most from considering it.I agree with the other comments that those who have to have it will buy it and then sales will drop off. Offer a panel version for the commercial market, that could have possibilities.
  • Wjtinfwb Panther Black? or Black Panther? Shaped like a decade old Ford detectives sedan? Seems like an odd way to send out your marquee car...
  • Kwik_Shift Instead of blacked, how about chromed? Don't follow the herd.
  • Carlson Fan Nicest looking dash/gage cluster ever put in any PU truck. After all these years it still looks so good.
  • Wheatridger Correct me if I'm wrong, but has the widescreen digital dash usurped the space formerly occupied in every other car by an HVAC vent? I see one prominent vent well right of center, where there should be two. I rely on twin driver's side vents to warm my hands on cold mornings, and I wouldn't give that up for more screen area.