Santa Cruz crossover truck concept

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz Gets a Pickup Bed

It’s official: Hyundai will bring us a small pickup in 2021. The Hyundai Santa Cruz truck will be made in Montgomery, Alabama.

Sadly, there is little information about this new Santa Cruz truck besides what we’ve seen of the concept Hyundai, showed at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit (as seen in these images).

Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Design

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

We do know that the truck will look different than the 2015 concept, as Hyundai’s design language has changed a lot over the past few years. We’d expect the little truck to take some design cues from the new Hyundai Palisade while also having quite a few new unique design details that should make this truck stand out for more than its small size.

Hyundai said, “The Santa Cruz is for those who want all the traditional attributes of a compact utility vehicle but need the day-to-day versatility of an open bed. It’s the crossover that creates a whole new segment that successfully combines capability and utility to meet the unspoken needs of a new generation of buyers, especially millennials.”

The concept truck had an extended cab design, with rear suicide-style doors. But we expect the production Santa Cruz to have four forward-facing doors. Crew-cab-style trucks are what sell these days.


The Hyundai Santa Fe midsize crossover is built at the same Alabama plant where the new Santa Cruz will be built, and the two vehicles are likely to share parts. Will they share nearly identical chassis and parts like the Honda Ridgeline and Pilot do? Only time will tell.

Rumors are flying, and the most interesting to me is that it might actually be a proper body-on-frame 4×4 truck. While I find that extremely unlikely, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. A proper off-road-capable, durable, small pickup is something that the U.S. truck market has been missing for decades.

More Small Trucks

Hyundai is betting big on this new little truck. It’s investing over $410 million into expanding the Montgomery assembly plant to build it. The Santa Cruz will also require an additional 200-person workforce at the plant and create a projected 1,000 more new jobs in the region. It sounds to me like Hyundai plans to sell a lot of Santa Cruz trucks!

The midsize U.S. truck market is super-hot and competitive right now, with the Gladiator, Ranger, Tacoma, Colorado, Frontier, and Ridgeline. Hyundai hopes to find its own niche by building an even smaller, sporty, city-friendly truck.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz will be an interesting offering no matter how it turns out. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of one and find out what it’s all about.

Bryon Dorr

Bryon Dorr caught the outdoor adventure addiction through whitewater kayaking, and worldwide adventures to remote places ensued. He crafted his own professional path as a photographer, journalist, and marketing consultant in the automotive and outdoor industries, while full-time overland traveling for nearly 8 years. You’ll usually find him out exploring by 4x4, adventure motorcycle, or sports car while seeking out opportunities to ski, mountain bike, and kayak. Bryon now has a home base in Portland, OR with his wife and young daughter.