Back in 2015, Hyundai began teasing the public and motoring press with a pickup. At that time, the new Sante Cruz pickup concept was a slab-sided unibody vehicle based upon the Santa Fe structure. Since then, the project has been on-again, off-again a few times. Now we have proof that the project has gone forward.
Proof the project is moving forward
Even though rumors of the project being green-lighted for production have been swirling for months and years, and spy shots of a test vehicle have been spotted, a picture that just posted was the most encouraging for those following the progress of the vehicle. The image is of a Santa Cruz pickup shell being wheeled around by a forklift. There was no camouflage on the shell. So, most of the body lines are clearly visible.
According to Motor1, a reader sent them the image of this Santa Cruz. It’s a good clear image that seems to confirm that the vehicle will retain the unibody architecture. Although the idea of switching the architecture to that of the Palisade had been floated around the internet, it looks like the proportions closely match that of the concept. So, it more than likely will remain built upon Sante Fe.
Fender flares might have options
It looks like the fenders will allow for multiple sized flares, as the wheel arches have depressions where they can be attached. So, it is probably safe to say that larger tire and wheel combinations are at least planned for, if not immediately available at the launch of the vehicle. An off-road package would certainly make an interesting proposition for those looking for something a little more aggressive than the Honda Ridgeline offers.
The front end
As far as the front end of the vehicle is concerned, we can expect the Hyundai design language to carry through on this model. That means that a variation of the large grill and four light pods that have been migrating from the Palisade down to the new Venue model will also show up in some form.
The rear end
The rear end of the vehicle is still a question mark. We know that since it is a pickup, it will have a tailgate. But the popularity of multi-function tailgates has been booming thanks to the full-sized pickups in the market at present. So, don’t be surprised if Hyundai decides to do something other than just a plain single function tailgate. Granted, this is a smaller class of pickup than the big boys, but Hyundai is not afraid to punch above its class.
For now, that is all we can surmise from the image. But, what we do know for sure is that the Santa Cruz will be built at Hyundai’s plant in Alabama alongside the Elantra, Sante Fe, and Sonata. It will also only be available for the North American market. The expected launch date is sometime in 2021.
For those that have been waiting for Hyundai to finally launch out into the pickup world, rest easy. The truck is coming. The forklift driven shell in the image proves that the Santa Cruz is not only coming, but it is pretty far along in development. In the meantime, feel free to stare at the shell in the image and start your creative juices on how to modify it.