Hyundai Santa Cruz spotted again in the wild, shows its crossover roots

Byron Hurd

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The Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup is coming, and these new spy photos expose just how much its underlying crossover DNA will be visible right on the surface. 

Like the Honda Ridgeline, the Santa Cruz is essentially a family hauler with a bed in place of an enclosed rear cargo area. This is the first time we've seen a Santa Cruz prototype with this skin-tight camo on the front end, so we're getting a better view of the nose this time around than we have previously

Depending on what you want from Hyundai's new pickup, this is either great or terrible news. If you were hoping that the end result would be more squared-off and truck-like than the concept or leaked body shell images suggested, well, our apologies, as that's obviously not the case. 

Taking a cue from Honda, the Santa Cruz looks like it's going to lean hard into the fact that it's essentially a Santa Fe underneath. By the numbers, this is great news for those who want something a little smaller than the Ridgeline. The Santa Fe, like the Pilot, now rides on a midsize platform, but the visibly shorter bed and overall different proportions of the Santa Cruz mules lead us to believe that the final product will end up being a bit shorter overall. 

As for what will power the Santa Cruz, well, Hyundai has remained tight-lipped. The Santa Fe is offered with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 235 hp and 260 lb-ft., either one shifting through an eight-speed automatic and sending power to the front axle or both axles when equipped with HTRAC all-wheel drive.

The automaker could increase potency by skipping the old 2.4-liter and offering the 2.5-liter from the Sonata that produces 191 hp and 181 lb-ft. The Ridgeline only comes with a 3.5-liter V6 making 280 hp and 262 lb-ft., so we wouldn't be too shocked if Hyundai decides to sell the Santa Cruz with just one engine — likely the turbocharged one. 

With its production status already confirmed, we imagine it won't be too long before we get some fresh details. Until then, we're just happy to see Hyundai's validation engineers enjoying their daily grind. 

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