The upcoming pickup looks a lot more adventurous than the Honda Ridgeline.
As far back as 2015, we've had our interest piqued by the idea of Hyundai entering the popular pickup segment with the Santa Cruz Concept. Today, we know that the truck is slated to enter production and now, we have two new digital drawings that more clearly showcase what the truck could look like, based on a spy shot of the pickup's naked body shared earlier this month. Although deviating from the funky original concept quite a bit, it's still a modern, interesting truck to look at.
That said, this is no rugged Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado in its appearance. The Santa Cruz has a softer design - the Honda Ridgeline is another good example of a pickup with a more car-like appeal. Like the Ridgeline, the Santa Cruz will be comparably sized and use unibody construction, so it will likely offer a smoother drive than many other trucks, at the expense of maximum capability.
In the new images from the Russian motoring website Kolesa.ru (created by Nikita Chuyko), we get a much clearer look at the truck's face. Slim headlamps flank a large grille and there is a definite resemblance to the latest Santa Fe SUV. It's a neat and inoffensive styling job that ties in well with the rest of the Hyundai family. We've seen the side aspect before, which is quite distinctive with a beltline that kicks up to the chunky C-pillar.
At the back, Chuyko takes a much more divisive approach. The rounded back window (with a large spoiler above) is an unusual styling feature on a pickup, and looks a bit like the back of a normal hatchback with a bed tacked onto the back. The rear perspective has wraparound taillights that span the width of the tailgate, a design cue that is more commonly found on sedans, such as the latest Sonata.
The proportioning of the Santa Cruz makes it clear that interior space was prioritized over a large bed, so we don't anticipate that it'll be a stand-out load-lugger. However, it could end up being - like the Honda Ridgeline - all the truck that anyone needs, with comfortable on-road dynamics and greater refinement than is typical for a pickup. Engine choices are unknown at this point, but a 2.0-liter turbo with around 238 hp is speculated.
As a 2021 model, the Santa Cruz could shake up the compact truck segment, and with even Ford looking to build a truck to slot in below the Ranger, could a new breed of small trucks start poaching compact SUV sales?