Hyundai’s city-slicking Santa Cruz ute has been teased for the USA, but it’s still off the menu in Australia.
A spokesperson last year confirmed the Santa Cruz is “not available to us in right-hand drive”, although they also confirmed Hyundai Australia is “interested in that vehicle for sure”.
Although Hyundai has previously said it’s working on a ute for markets like ours, it won’t be a small, road-focused pickup like the Santa Cruz.
Speaking in 2019, then-Hyundai Australia boss J.W Lee told media the company has sent engineers to Australia and other south-east Asian markets to research what’s required of a dual-cab ute.
The vehicle’s exact capabilities haven’t yet been confirmed, but expect a payload of around a tonne and a braked towing capacity of around 3500kg – any less would put the new ute at a disadvantage compared to its rivals
Hyundai is targeting 15,000 annual sales for the dual-cab ute, which would help bump it above Mazda in the Australian sales race.
The Santa Cruz is believed to be based on the Tucson’s platform, and will be built in the USA for North America.
It’s expected to be powered by a range of four-cylinder petrol engines, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
Its most logical competitor in the USA is the unibody Honda Ridgeline, however the Santa Cruz is expected to be smaller than the slow-selling Honda.
Despite lagging behind the likes of Chevrolet and Ford in sales, the Ridgeline has a passionate following among satisfied owners who love its car-like driving experience and cabin.
Ford is also working on a similar car-based pickup in the form of the Maverick.