Such a Tease
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz teased looking a lot like the Santa Cruz we all expected
If you were expecting anything other than a truck that looked similar to the Santa Cruz concept Hyundai showed off in 2015, your mind was deceiving you. The Santa Cruz concept was the belle of the ball in 2015, introducing a truck-like figure to the Hyundai concept lineup and giving brand enthusiasts something different to dream about.
After plenty of testing and a new generation of front-end design coming in vogue, Hyundai is nearly ready to bring the Santa Cruz to market.The company has begun teasing the model ahead of its expected debut in a few weeks, with plans to put it into production this summer. Deliveries will follow by the end of the year.
Hyundai has only provided four images of the forthcoming truck but from what we see there are a number of key differences between the two models that you'll want to be aware of.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept was shown off as a plus-sized midsize truck. The new truck is said to be smaller. Ford is viewing the Santa Cruz as a direct competitor for its forthcoming Maverick small truck and Honda probably sees the lifestyle-focused Santa Cruz as direct competition to the similarly themed Ridgeline.
The face of the Santa Cruz is straight out of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson playbook. Early test models of the truck showed it to have the face of the Palisade. While the dimensions of the truck appear mostly unchanged from that time, the face is now the Tucson's with headlights integrated into the grille and a dynamic hood design.
There are several differences between the concept and photos of the real thing. Let's start at the wheels. Those on the rendering below are not currently a part of the Hyundai lineup. They're similar to ones offered on the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe.
Side windows appear larger on the new truck than they are on the concept version. This is helped by the fact that the truck is a true four-door/crew cab whereas the concept was an extended cab model.
At the rear, the taillights and tailgate of the Santa Cruz are completely different than they were on the concept. The taillights, like the headlights, have been changed over to better fit with modern Hyundai design while the stamped model name on the tailgate fits with the current truck aesthetic as shown on Ford, Chevrolet, and Nissan truck models.
There's a shark fin antenna on the top of the production model that's not on the concept. Also, the side mirrors are closer to regulation size on the new truck.
The trucks are also very much alike. The shape of the top of the bed is similar to the Honda Ridgeline's though the Hyundai production model has a fair amount of cladding around the bed (perfect for eating up any damage done when surf boards are thrown in the back).
There are bulging fender flares that carry over from the concept to reality, much like the belt line of the model, with the overall design more refined and production-ready.