Does The Production Hyundai Santa Cruz Look Like The Concept?

Man, Hyundai has sure been hyping the upcoming 2021 Santa Cruz. It’s their slick car/truck similar to Ford Rancheros and Chevy El Caminos in days of yore. Now a bare Santa Cruz shell has been leaked and we can tell a lot. Will the production Hyundai Santa Cruz look like the concept? Let’s compare and try to decipher how Hyundai designers adapted the concept for production.

First, you have to understand that in this guise it might be hard for some to visualize what the finished product will look like. But there are building blocks that can help give a fairly good idea of how close it will be.

We knew the production Santa Cruz would be a four-door

We knew early on that Hyundai was going to make this a four-door. That takes it away from the concept in a big way but scooting down the road will it be that noticeable? There has to be some give and take when a concept is productionized. If the bean counters don’t like the numbers it will never happen. So expect some changes.

Overall proportions are very similar and that’s great. We placed a similar concept image over the leaked body image to compare. They’re pretty close. Body mass, overall height, and wheel centerlines are spot-on. Even the windshield angle is the same. The top got lengthened slightly but not enough to disturb the concept proportions.

The B-pillar between the side windows or DLO will be blackened out to give the appearance of a single-window graphic. So, we can accept this deviation. Just imagine the whole side window area as black. Can you see it now?

The entire side window graphic has been lengthened to the back. We wish the C-pillar could be thicker like the concept, but again…

Overhangs have lengthened a bit but some of that can be masked

The Santa Cruz concept | Hyundai

Overhangs have changed a bit as well. The concept had nice, short overhangs. But with everything that needs to be packaged ahead of the front axle centerline we knew it would have to increase. We don’t like it as much but how the designers handle the wrapping front in plan view can help to visually diminish the amount of overhang. We’ll have to see once it is released. 

In the rear, the overhang looks to be more in keeping with what we see on the concept. The taillight outline looks like it will match the concept. The body sections, wheel opening bulges, and sculpturing look to be extremely similar with one exception.

More cowbell

That vent with the chrome detail in the front fender is gone. In its place is the folded-V design detail we’ve seen on other Hyundai concepts. It is more arbitrary than the vent. Plus, everyone loves vents-it’s like cowbells in music. More cowbell. 

While we lament the loss of the vent it can visually shorten up the side of the Santa Cruz. So in some ways, it might be better gone. Maybe it will come back in a refresh or as an option. Make your desires known to Hyundai. 

Overall we’re anxious to get a look at the production Santa Cruz after seeing this leaked body image. If you’ve been jonesing for an El Camino or Ranchero since they were axed, or if you just like the idea of a car/truck, then give the Santa Cruz some serious consideration. If it sells well you know other manufacturers will jump into the segment and that will be good for us all.