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We spy the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickup truck

Hyundai's first truck, based on the next-gen Tucson crossover, will go into production next year.

2022-hyundai-santa-cruz-pickup-spy-photo-promo

The Santa Cruz will be Hyundai's first pickup

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

Sometimes wonderful things can happen when you're sitting at a stoplight. Case in point: A few days ago I was waiting in my car at a four-way intersection in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a camouflaged Hyundai Santa Cruz prototype just happened to drive by. What luck!

Originally previewed by a 2015 concept, the Santa Cruz will be Hyundai's first foray into the pickup truck segment. Unlike the original concept it will have four regular-size doors, and the Santa Cruz will be a true "compact" pickup, likely a bit smaller than a Honda Ridgeline or Ford Ranger .

The Santa Cruz will be based on the next-gen Tucson crossover, which itself was previewed by last year's Vision T concept. The Tucson will have angular surfacing and a wild front-end design, and from what I could see the Santa Cruz will take the Tucson's theme and butch it up a little. Through the camo I could spot a blocky grille, Hyundai's now-ubiquitous tiered headlight setup, black cladding around the wheel arches and a kicked-up side window.

The bed was completely covered, but it seems like the Santa Cruz will have slanted bodywork around the rear window in the vein of the original concept and the first-gen Ridgeline. If I could estimate based on what I saw and the Vision T's dimensions, the Santa Cruz will probably be around a foot longer than the Tucson, putting at around 194 inches long. For comparison, the current Ridgeline is 210 inches long and the Ranger double cab is 211 inches long.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup

The Santa Cruz should be smaller than the Honda Ridgeline and Ford Ranger.

Daniel Golson/Roadshow

At this point we can only speculate about powertrains, but expect a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive as standard, or at the very least as an option. The Santa Cruz concept had a diesel engine, but with Hyundai canceling the Santa Fe diesel before it even went on sale, we doubt that will happen. There's a chance the Santa Cruz may be offered with a hybrid powertrain, as the Vision T used a plug-in setup. The current Tucson will tow up to 2,000 pounds, and we bet the Santa Cruz will at least be able to double that. 

Hyundai has previously confirmed that the Santa Cruz will enter production in 2021 and be built at the same factory in Alabama as the Elantra, Santa Fe and Sonata. This timeline might have to be pushed back due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, though. We expect the Santa Cruz will start at around $25,000 when it goes on sale as a 2022 model.