Up until now we’ve known very little about Hyundai’s Santa Cruz ute concept.
From what we’ve seen in development mules and computer-generated images, it’s a quirky take on the traditional ute for those with ‘active lifestyles’.
However, with Hyundai Australia stating it’s a US-only proposition, don’t expect to see the cool concept Down Under.
Sadly for us, the monocoque-based Santa Cruz is only intended for the left-hand-drive North American market, with its dimensions placing it below our familiar dual-cab offerings in terms of size.
American outlet Car and Driver revealed that the Santa Cruz will do battle with the likes of the Honda Ridgeline, with the choice of two petrol four-cylinder engines powering all four wheels.
Both powerplants are taken from the USA-spec Santa Fe: a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder offering 137kW/241Nm and a 2.0-litre turbo four producing 175kW/352Nm.
However, it’s not the only ute being developed by Hyundai, with a bigger, more workman-esque dual-cab also in the wings for the Korean group – and earmarked for Oz.
What is expected to arrive on our shores is a direct competitor for the likes of the chart-topping Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, one that is being co-developed with Kia.
Speaking with Wheels last year, Kia Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith could hardly contain his excitement for the project, which is a dual- and single-cab ute based on the Hyundai Motor Group’s new ladder-frame chassis.
Local tuning on Aussie roads should start next year, according to the company’s timeline.
“Work has begun. We’re talking about a pick-up, dual-cab and single-cab. What we’ve requested [for Australia] is the full gambit of a ute: double-cab, dual-cab, diesel and petrol,” Meredith said.
While Hyundai is tight-lipped on its dual-cab plans with the company’s ladder-frame platform, Meredith shed some light by stating that a player in that Aussie segment is “logical” for its parent company.
So while it looks as though we’ll miss out on the funky Santa Cruz, the dual-cab workhorse we really want is still on its way. Watch this space.