2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Spied Testing in Korea

So you want a pickup truck that's small, fuel-efficient and rarely gets its bed dirty? We perfectly understand, and so does Hyundai, who plans to introduce the Santa Cruz, a unibody compact truck, in a couple of years.
2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Spied Testing in Korea 4 photos
Photo: Road Test
2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Spied Testing in Korea2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Spied Testing in Korea2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Spied Testing in Korea
The automaker has already announced that its sprawling facility in Alabama will be the hoast of Santa Cruz production starting in 2021. However, like any good Hyundai product, it's getting a lot of early testing in South Korea.

The Santa Cruz was shown as a concept back at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. At the time, it looked like a sharpened up version of the earlier Tucson. However, the prototype we have before us clearly has different design ideas.

Even with the thick camouflage, you can tell that it's got a set of super-narrow upper lights and another pair of headlights below that in the few spy photos provided by the Korean website Road Test. You see this style on about half of all crossovers made by Hyundai and Kia, so no surprises there. I think there's no better way to make a vehicle look rugged and modern right now, save for maybe the Tesla ice cube.

If the pickup ends up being based on the Santa Fe platform, it should have very similar engines. Since affordability is a big thing, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder with about 185 horsepower will be the main one, but we see no reason why they can't have a more expensive turbocharged option.

We obviously want a 300-ish horsepower hot rod with the engine from the Sonata N-Line, but that's unlikely to happen. Instead, Hyundai is probably going to focus on tried and tested money-making solution. Toyota's TRD business model seems really successful, so expect plenty of accessories designed to make your Santa Cruz more off-road worthy or a better looker.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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