Hyundai has revealed its first ever pick-up truck/ute. Named the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, Hyundai’s new entrant to the utility scene is based on the new generation Tucson. But rather than being a Toyota HiLux or Ford Ranger competitor – which Hyundai reportedly also has in development – the Santa Cruz is a size smaller and is intended as more of a lifestyle option.

“Santa Cruz, with its bold styling, breaks open all new segment territory, both for Hyundai and the industry. Open-bed flexibility coupled with closed-cabin security meets the changing everyday needs of its adventure-oriented buyers, while powerful and efficient engines and superb manoeuvrability ensure it is a pleasure to drive in urban or off-road environments. Our customers will wonder just how they managed before owning one,” said Jose Munoz, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America.

Loosely based on the 2015 concept of the same name, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz uses a lot of the Tucson’s styling features – the nose with the new Hyundai grille, the side creases and even the window line – and mixes them with a smartly-styled ute body. It also sits on the same platform as the Tucson.

Measuring 4,971mm long, 1,905mm wide and 1,694mm high with a 3,005mm wheelbase, the Santa Cruz is 354mm shorter, 50mm wider, 121mm less tall and with an 80mm shorter wheelbase than a Toyota HiLux.

Two engine options will be available: a 142kW/244Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 205Nm/400Nm turbocharged version of the same engine that’s used in the Sonata N-Line. Both are available in either front- or all-wheel drive and use eight-speed automatic transmissions – the turbo engine’s is a dual-clutch unit, whereas the naturally aspirated engine is a torque converter.

The naturally aspirated Santa Cruz is capable of towing 1,600kg, while the turbo can tow 2,270kg.

Available safety tech for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz includes auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention alert, lane keep assist, a 360-degree parking camera and safe exit assist.

Alas, while the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz sounds like a great package that would appeal to many Australians, it’s only going to be made in left-hand drive for now and that means that it won’t be sold here. Those wanting a Hyundai ute, however, shouldn’t be too disappointed as a larger HiLux-sized ute is reportedly in development.

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