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Hyundai Altering Design of its Future Santa Cruz Pickup

Prototype Hyundai Santa Cruz | Photo: Hyundai
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Daniel Rufiange
Hyundai has made clear it wants each of its model to be distinctive and carry its own visual signature

When it was introduced in the flesh back in 2015 at the Detroit auto show, Hyundai’s pickup concept got tongues wagging due to its unusual design. Overall, after all the wagging was said and done, the reception it got was generally positive.

That concept’s design has left traces in the visual signature of several of Hyundai current products, particularly in regards to their fascia.

The company has been clear in the past year, however, that it no longer wants its vehicles to all look alike. This has led the design team working on the Santa Cruz pickup to make some significant adjustments in mid-stream as it works on the model. So the truck as you see it in these images from the 2015 Detroit show? It won’t look like that, or at least not completely.

Speaking with MotorTrend, Hyundai’s head of design SangYup Lee made it clear that the design shift is a result of a new philosophy at the company, which calls for each product to be able to turn heads instead of being instantly recognizable as a Hyundai.

| Photo: Hyundai

As a result, the Santa Cruz’s production version will be quite different from anything we currently see on our roads with a Hyundai name on the back. According to SangYup Lee, the pickup will show more character and be very distinctive, and “the look of it is a lot more progressive”.

Many will be happy to hear that, in this age when the rush to conform (and save on costs) sometimes leads to cookie-cutter products.

Our one wish is that the designers hold on to the existing approach to the rear end of the Santa Cruz. Its design in the back is utterly exceptional.

Production of the Hyundai Santa Cruz is scheduled to get underway in 2021.

Article by

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists