This isn’t an April Fools’ joke. The long wait is nearly over: Hyundai’s 2022 Santa Cruz, a combination SUV and pickup truck, will make its debut April 15 — and “long wait” isn’t sarcasm, either. The Santa Cruz has been rumored since the early 2010s and has existed in concept form since 2015.
Let’s take a look at how the Santa Cruz saga has played out using coverage from our sister site, PickupTrucks.com:
Feb. 20, 2012: Hyundai Says No, But Kia Could Say Yes
April 23, 2013: Rumors Continue About Hyundai Small Pickup
Jan. 12, 2015: Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept: First Look
May 28, 2015: Hyundai: Chances ‘Good’ It Will Make Pickup
July 29, 2015: Is Hyundai One Small Step Away From a Pickup?
Jan. 15, 2016: Hyundai Greenlights Pickup
Aug. 25, 2016: Could Hyundai Be the Next Major Mid-Size Player?
Aug. 22, 2017: Hyundai Officially Confirms Plans to Build Pickup
April 24, 2018: Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Takes Another Hiatus
Nov. 14, 2019: Hyundai Officially Announces It Will Build Santa Cruz Pickup in 2021
That’s more than nine years of speculation and more than six years of a concept version existing before the production vehicle ever makes its debut. The Acura NSX had a similarly lengthy process from rumor to concept to production; Hyundai is likely hoping the Santa Cruz has better luck when it comes to sales.
As far as what we can see in these latest images, the grille design is cribbed from the recently redesigned Tucson, with lighting integrated into the grille itself. In fact, the production version has taken so long to appear that the last concept we saw from 2015 has a grille design that’s now outdated compared with Hyundai’s current design language.
We don’t have any dimensions for the Santa Cruz yet, but it looks in profile like it might be closer in size to the Santa Fe — and it seems to share a similar wheel design with the current Santa Fe, too. We can also see that the production version will have four full doors, unlike the concept. If the Santa Cruz is indeed very close to the Santa Fe’s length, it would be significantly shorter than many current traditional mid-size pickups.
Hyundai says “the 2022 Santa Cruz will break new ground within the SUV, truck and crossover segments by offering a new category of vehicle unlike anything else in the U.S. market.” Without knowing more details, like just what Hyundai defines as a “flexible open bed,” we can’t be sure how different the Santa Cruz will be from the Honda Ridgeline pickup or past SUV-based offerings from Ford and GM. Depending on its size, the Santa Cruz may also face competition from the rumored — and more traditional — Ford Maverick compact pickup truck.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Santa Cruz, it will debut April 15 at 12:00 p.m. EST on HyundaiUSA.com.