Hyundai's first double-cab ute – albeit one based on an SUV – is another step closer to showrooms in the US, but Australia is set to miss out.
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The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pick-up has been teased in shadowy images ahead of official photos being released with the studio lights turned up a fortnight from now.

Hyundai USA released these darkened images overnight so it still has something left to show on 16 April 2021 when the Santa Cruz is due to be formally unveiled.

We did what most websites do in such situations, and brightened the digital images and turned down the contrast to see if we could see more.

Unlike Australia's top-selling utes such as the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max – which have a heavy duty body-on-frame design, serious off-road ability, can tow 3500kg, and carry up to 1 tonne – the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is based on the Hyundai Tucson family SUV.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz promises to have car-like levels of comfort and luxury features, but more modest towing and carrying capacities. And it won't be able to venture too far off the beaten track.

Despite these compromises, Hyundai USA believes it is onto a winner and will target buyers who want a pick-up that suits their lifestyle – and is more affordable to run than a full-size pick-up, and easier to manoeuvre in car parks.

Such a vehicle would be a home run in Australia, too, given the sharp rise in ute sales locally – and the fact not everyone needs the towing and carrying capacity of workhorse-based vehicles.

However, despite Hyundai Australia mounting a strong case for the Santa Cruz to be sold here – and going on bended knee to both Hyundai USA and the South Korean head office – the vehicle is not planned for right-hand-drive and is only destined for North America for now.

Above: A disguised version of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz not coming to Australia.

Feel free to plead your case for the Hyundai Santa Cruz coming to Australia in our comments section below, but best not to place any bets on its local arrival, at least with this generation.

Hyundai and its sister brand Kia are believed to still be working on a body-on-frame double cab ute (similar to a Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger) however it is unclear if development has been paused as other models are prioritised.

In the meantime, we're trying to think of what else to write about the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz when the proper photos are released. At least we have a fortnight to think about it.