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2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz spied again

The company's car-based ute shows more of itself ahead of going into production in the US next year.
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The Hyundai Santa Cruz ute has been photographed during cold weather testing in Sweden.

This latest prototype is wearing the same amount of camouflage as the vehicle spotted back in December, but this time around we can see the car from a great number of angles and tease out a few extra details.

We can now see the Santa Cruz's grille treatment, and like recent Hyundai crossovers it will have a thin strip of driving lights near the bonnet and the main headlight beams housed in a disguised pod further down the fascia.

Last year Hyundai confirmed it will begin building the Santa Cruz in 2021 for the North American market at its factory in Alabama where it already produces the Santa Fe crossover and Sonata sedan.

It's unclear if the Santa Cruz will be made in right-hand drive or sold in Australia, although JW Lee, Hyundai Australia's former CEO, said the company believes a ute is "necessary for the Australian market".

The design for the production Santa Cruz seems as though it will share very little — badges aside — with the 2015 concept car as the company's design language has been radically reshaped since then.

When the Santa Cruz goes on sale in North America it will join the Ridgeline as the only car-based ute available over there. The Ridgeline shares its underpinnings with the Pilot three-row crossover.

Compared to other "mid-size" utes, the Ridgeline sells in small numbers with just 33,334 sold in the US during 2019, compared to the Toyota Tacoma (248,801), Chevrolet Colorado (121,703), Ford Ranger (83,571), and Nissan Frontier (72,369).

Although it did edge out the Colorado's twin, the GMC Canyon (32,826).