The new Hyundai Santa Cruz won’t be arriving until sometime next year. But it seems the automaker is hard at work trying to make its first-ever pickup as attractive as possible. Ahead of its official debut, the model was spotted testing its towing capabilities.
Hyundai first introduced the Santa Cruz as a concept vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show in 2015. At the time, the company announced it will be built alongside the Santa Fe midsize SUV in Alabama.
In recent spy photos, the unibody pickup appears to be undergoing tests for its towing capabilities. So far, Hyundai has not released information on the maximum towing and payload capacity of the pickup. However, it is expected to be lower than other body-on-frame models that it will be competing against in the segment such as the Chevrolet Colorado and Ford Ranger. Instead, the Santa Cruz may have a similar capacity to the Honda Ridgeline, which is 5,000 pounds.
The same 2.4-liter and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engines that power the Santa Fe SUV are expected to make their way to the Santa Cruz. They are believed to be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive.
Furthermore, based on the photos, the Santa Cruz also appears to be getting a jagged, wide grille pattern that’s the same with the refreshed Santa Fe’s, plus some polished LED headlights that make it look like a “lifestyle” truck.
Hyundai has not released the official pricing for the model yet, but a unit with a single bed and four-door crew cab could fetch a starting price of $25,000.
The 2021 Santa Cruz is set to arrive in the U.S. next year.