2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Pros: Tidy exterior dimensions mean good close-quarters maneuverability; peppy acceleration with turbo engine; D-rings, cleats, and pockets in cargo bed enhance load-carrying versatility, as does the underfloor trunk and available cargo cover

Cons: Pickup bed may be too small for many prospective buyers; can’t carry long cargo with tailgate up; tight rear seat space; subpar rearward visibility; limited towing capability with base engine

CG Says: Hyundai introduces an all-new compact pickup truck for 2022, with splashy styling and scaled-down dimensions that blur the lines between the compact SUV and compact-pickup-truck categories. Compared to traditional pickup-truck rivals such as the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevrolet Colorado, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is considerably smaller. It’s based on a unibody-design platform shared with the redesigned-for-2022 Hyundai Tucson compact SUV, and it integrates the cab and cargo bed into one seamless unit—unlike the separate cab-and-bed configuration of most pickup trucks.

The Santa Cruz is offered in just one body style: a five-passenger, four-door crew cab with a 4-foot bed. Four trim levels are available: SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and Limited. The SE and SEL are powered by a 191-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and offer a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The SEL Premium and Limited come standard with AWD and a 281-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder paired with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Santa Cruz’s maximum towing rating is 3500 pounds with the non-turbo engine, or 5000 pounds with the turbo all-wheel-drive version.

For greater hauling flexibility, the Santa Cruz’s bed features an array of D-rings, cleats, and pockets that allow users to customize their cargo setup as needed. A lockable under-bed storage trunk with a removable drain plug is a handy standard feature. An available lockable roll-top tonneau cover conceals cargo and retracts into an enclosure beneath the rear window when not in use. The Santa Cruz’s cabin features contemporary tech amenities such as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity and wireless device charging. These and other infotainment features are accessed via a standard 8.0-inch or an available 10.0-inch touchscreen. Also available is Hyundai’s Blue Link service, which provides remote-access features such as starting the engine or locking/unlocking the vehicle via a smartphone app or Amazon Alexa. A wide array of safety tech features are also offered, including lane keeping assist, driver attention warning, blind-spot monitor, and forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

The genre-bending Santa Cruz aims to blend the cargo-carrying versatility of a pickup truck with the sleeker styling, smaller dimensions, and better overall refinement of a compact SUV. Though we categorize it as a compact pickup, the Santa Cruz will likely be cross-shopped against traditional compact SUVs as well. For now, its only direct competition is the equally new Ford Maverick, which has similar dimensions and a unibody/crew-cab configuration.

Aside from that comparison, however, Santa Cruz’s tidy size, energetic design, and handy features offer a refreshing “adventurous urban dweller” alternative to more established competitors.

The Facts
Class Compact pickup truck
Body Style(s) Crew cab
Passenger Count 5
Drive Wheels front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive
Manufacturer Hyundai
Nation of Manufacture USA
Base Prices SE FWD: $23,990
SEL FWD: $27,190
SE AWD: $25,490
SEL AWD: $28,690
SEL Premium AWD: $35,680
Limited AWD: $39,720

Base Engine
2.5-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower
191
Std. Transmission
8-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
21
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
26-27

Optional Engine
2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower
281
Std. Transmission
8-speed automatic w/ dual clutch
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
19
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
27

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
NHTSA Ratings
Overall - NA
0%

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Crash - NA
0%
Side Crash - NA
0%
Rollover - NA
0%

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