An official reveal surely can't be too far away now.
The Honda Ridgeline is one of America's most underrated pickup trucks, but it will soon be facing some stiff competition from other unibody trucks. Ford is preparing to start production of the Maverick, a new small pickup truck that will slot below the Ranger, and we're also still waiting for the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup to break cover.
Hyundai's compact pickup has been spied undergoing testing several times, but this latest sighting provides our most revealing look yet. YouTube channel 80% Garage spotted a Santa Cruz prototype at a parking lot and was able to get some close-up footage. While the prototype is still wrapped in body cladding to hide the details, there's no traditional camo here, which suggests the design beneath the shrouding is finalized.
The Santa Cruz shares the same platform as the new Hyundai Tucson and the design similarities are clear, from the side mirrors to the triangular headlight design. Despite the similarities, the Hyundai Santa Cruz sets itself apart with a unique grille featuring rectangular slats.
Since it rides on a unibody platform, the Santa Cruz isn't designed for serious off-roading and is aimed at buyers who don't need the capability and storage offered in mid-size and full-size trucks. The YouTuber believes the short bed is around four feet long, which is much shorter than the Ranger's bed, but the tailgate looks deep enough to provide extra storage space for longer items when lowered.
Technical details for the Santa Cruz haven't been confirmed yet, but the compact pickup is expected to share the Tucson's 2.5-liter direct-injected gasoline engine that produces 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. A hybrid version could also be offered with an electrified 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that produces a combined 226 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in the Tucson Hybrid.
An undisguised Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid was also spied alongside the Santa Cruz prototype, in what could be the first sighting of the production version in America before customer deliveries begin. As for the Santa Cruz, Hyundai hasn't confirmed when the compact pickup will debut, but this latest sighting suggests the official reveal will happen sooner, rather than later.