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Hyundai’s new ute caught in the bare metal

This is the first look at the shape of Hyundai’s upcoming Santa Cruz, a lifestyle ute that will land with a bold look.

WHAT WE’RE looking at is apparently the real body skin for the upcoming Hyundai Santa Cruz ute, which the SOuth Korean carmaker has already confirmed will hit production in 2021.

It’s unclear if the image – first published by Motor1 of the four-door ute was snapped at Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama production site where the model will be built, or perhaps at a transport yard on route to the southern state. It does, however, clearly look like a strong interpretation of the company’s official concept renderings of the Santa Cruz, so it’s likely this is the real thing.

The metal shows blistered wheel arches, sharp crease lines top and bottom on the sides, and a thick, raked C-Pillar that should add up to a bold appearance on the road. The tray bed is certainly shorter than most mid-size pickups in the US, like the Toyota Tecoma, but Hyundai has told us that this is lifestyle ute rather than a stout workhorse.

Available in the US and not confirmed for Australia, engine options are reported to come from the Santa Fe SUV, with its 2.0 and 2.4-litre petrol drivetrains able to deliver up to a 175kW/353Nm punch.

While the ute seems unlikely for Australia at this point – a lack of right-hand drive production commitment the biggest constraint in consideration for our market – we are looking forward to Hyundai’s first dual-cab ute which we’ve previously reported should deliver a strong package on a ladder frame chassis in Australia.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae