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by Matt Campbell

A production version of the Hyundai Santa Cruz pick-up truck is still yet to be given the green light, but US reports suggest the lifestyle-focused ute will be built upon the underpinnings of the new-generation Hyundai Tucson.

Edmunds.com reports that the production model of the Hyundai Santa Cruz ute will be a quicker turnaround than a ground-up development, as it will share its architecture and parts with the new Tucson (which replaces the ix35).

This is further to CarAdvice’s report in April at the 2015 New York auto show, where Hyundai America CEO Dave Zuchowski told us the South Korean company had missed an opportunity to fast track the vehicle’s production earlier this year.

Hyundai Tucson - 004

“The way our product development cycles works is you officially get product included in either February timing or November timing, so February timing was too close to the show itself, but we are trying to get it included for the product plan in November, which doesn’t mean we will wait till November as we are doing a lot of the development work and feasibility studies [now].”

And earlier this month, Hyundai Australia labelled the Santa Cruz a “speculative product”, one that isn’t on the brand’s mid-term model radar.

Though the underpinnings of the Tucson are front-drive-biased, it is expected the pick-up that Hyundai sells – if it is approved – will be all-wheel drive, according to the Edmunds.com report. As is the case with the current ix35 medium SUV, the new Tucson will be offered in front- or all-wheel drive, with a selection of petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines.

Indeed, that publication published an earlier story about the Santa Cruz where Scott Margason, Hyundai Motor America’s director of product planning indicated the company wouldn’t be starting from scratch with its pick-up truck, before saying the brand is doing “a lot of active work going on within the company in terms of whether we take that concept to production.”

By basing the new model off an existing platform, it could save Hyundai two years of development time, and the production model is apparently set to be aimed at buyers who want a more car-like experience than the traditional hardcore utility vehicles.

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