At long last, the Hyundai Santa Cruz makes a major spy photo debut. We had an up-close look at a prototype back in December, with the single photo showing a heavily camouflaged truck parked in an underground garage. Today, we have a whole set of images showing another prototype hustling through the great white north in some hardcore winter testing.
The camouflage is just as heavy as seen in the previous photo, but we’re still able to get a rough idea of what the Santa Cruz will be like when all those covers are lifted. For starters, it appears Hyundai will not follow the concept’s extended-cab configuration. Admittedly we’ve only had two sightings thus far so other models could be in the mix, but a four-door truck with standard front-and-rear seating makes sense in the current midsize truck market.
Gallery: Hyundai Santa Cruz Spy Photos
As such, we expect the new Santa Cruz to be larger than the aging 2015 concept, but these spy photos suggest the face won’t be too far removed. Hyundai’s corporate grille will encompass most of the frontal real estate, with large driving lamp positioned at the corners beneath thin headlights. Moving further back, we see body lines for the hood and A-pillar not unlike the Santa Fe SUV, and that also holds true for the distinctive kink in the C-pillar at the rear door. The truck’s back doors are much shorter, however, making room for a small exposed bed at the rear.
A connection to the SUV is not out of the question. Hyundai has already said the Santa Cruz will be assembled at its sprawling Alabama manufacturing facility, which is also where the Santa Fe is built. Should the two be linked with the same underpinnings, it’s possible the truck could offer a pair of four-cylinder engines for power – a 2.4-liter mill making 185 horsepower (138 kilowatts) or a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine good for 238 hp (177 kW). That said, we’ve also heard it will utilize a ladder-frame chassis similar to full-size pickups. If that’s the case, this would be quite interesting because these spy photos appear to show an independent suspension at the rear.
We don’t have a specific estimate as to when the truck will be officialy revealed. We do know that production is scheduled to begin next year, however, so a reveal could happen late this year.