Such a Tease

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz teased looking a lot like the Santa Cruz we all expected

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

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 Santa Cruz Concept

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America
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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.

Size

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.

Design

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.

Differences

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.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

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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.

Similarities

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.

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Frightening security

Boston Dynamics' robot to patrol Kia factory

The robot is being tested as a security patrol unit.

Hyundai

Breaking into an auto manufacturing facility was already a very bad idea, but new security tech being tested by Hyundai Motor Group makes it downright terrifying as well. In addition to cameras, sensors, and armed security guards, would-be burglars at a Kia plant in South Korea now have to face off with a semi-autonomous robot dog.

The Boston Dynamics quadruped robot, named Spot, is being tested as a safer and more effective way of providing security patrols to the plant. The dog is one of several robots designed and tested by the firm, which has long terrified the internet with its physically capable electronic beings.

Boston Dynamics Spot Robot The robot uses various sensors to detect danger and intruders.Hyundai

If you haven't seen it, the Boston Dynamics robot dog is frightening enough on its own, so it's an excellent choice to provide factory security. The robot uses an integrated thermal camera and 3D LiDAR to detect people around it, and can monitor high-temperature situations and fire hazards. It can be controlled remotely through a secure webpage, which allows personnel to see what's going on in the factory without putting themselves in danger.

The robot is capable of navigating tight spaces and can identify issues not visible to the human eye. It's also able to semi-autonomously navigate its environment, and has been developed with task management and deep learning-based vision technology. Boston Dynamics says that its tech can be expanded to other types of robot platforms.



The robot dog is currently in the pilot stage at Kia's plant in South Korea. It will be used to support late-night security patrols and increase safety for workers. Hyundai Motor Group will assess the robot's effectiveness and suitability for the job before expanding its use in other industrial sites.

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Buying guide

How to buy a modified car: Three tips

This is a clean modified truck, but they don't all end up this way.

Bring a Trailer

Modified cars are a mixed bag. Sometimes, they're incredibly well built and better than the original, but too many times they're only partially finished or end up being rushed as their owners get late-project anxiety. Whatever the case, buying a modified car can be a stressful process if you haven't done your homework ahead of time. The good news is that you can get a good deal on a reasonably well sorted project or modified car, but you'll need to be careful. Looking at used Lexus LXs earlier today, it became clear that there are as many modified vehicles for sale as there are clean examples.

This LX got me thinking about the breakdown between buying a rig and building one. The modifications made by this Lexus' seller are almost exactly what I would do if I were building a light overlanding rig. What could go wrong? I'm still on the fence about the Lexus, but the three topics below will help you make the right decision on buying a modified car.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Even if the mods are well done, you'll want to have the vehicle inspected before you buy.Bring a Trailer

Understand your personal taste

I mentioned the LX470 and how the owner's updates were pretty close to what I'd do with the truck. That's an exception to the rule, because 90 percent of the time I walking away from a sales listing because of modifications, rather than the other way around. If you're hoping to find a tastefully modified car that matches your exact tastes, you could be waiting a while. If you're hoping to sell a modified car, the same is true in reverse. Finding a buyer for your extremely personalized project car may not be the easiest thing you've ever done.

2004 Lexus LX 470 It's a good idea to seek out vehicles in solid shape, regardless of mods.Bring a Trailer

Be aware of condition and quality

This Lexus looks to be well maintained and in good shape. It also doesn't hurt that the LX is one of the most reliable vehicles built by one of the world's most quality-conscious automakers. Even so, it's hard to know what you're getting with this, or any other, modified vehicle. There's a little rust in this image, but the lift kit, wheels, and bumper mods all look good. However, even if the truck looked brand-new, you'd want to get a pre-purchase inspection. An independent mechanic can tell you if there are potential issues that are unrelated to mods, and you'll want to be sure that any modifications are installed properly.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Some mods are more useful than others.Bring a Trailer

Keep an eye on the price

Most people are reasonable when it comes to selling their modified cars, but there are hundreds of "I know what I got" memes on the internet for a reason. Some sellers want to recover every penny of the money they spent customizing their cars. They're convinced that the mods drastically increased the car's value and can't understand why the customized car isn't as attractive to you as it is to them. Tread lightly and be careful not to insult the owner, but it's your job to work toward a reasonable, fair price.

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