The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is an entirely different type of vehicle. Not only is it a compact pickup, much smaller than the Toyota Tacoma of the world, it’s of a completely different build. Instead of the typical body-on-frame setup of the truck, it has a car-like unibody. In other words, it’s a crossover pickup. This means it is lighter, more agile and more efficient in terms of both fuel consumption and interior space. This also makes it less sturdy for off-roading and towing (even though its ground clearance and 5,000-pound maximum are better than the average crossover), while its smaller size is best seen in its short 4.3-foot bed length .
In fact, it’s best to look at the Santa Cruz as an alternative to a compact crossover SUV rather than a mid-size pickup. Despite being small for a pickup, its open bed is still much longer than an SUV’s cargo area and apparently offers infinite height. This may make it more useful for some buyers. Plus, its cleverly available cargo cover that rolls back like a garage door retains the protection and all-weather protection offered by an SUV. This body style definitely has potential.
So far, demand has been strong for Santa Cruz, so you may struggle to find a dealer lot (or at least one without a hefty dealer markup). Part of that comes from a lack of global supply, but Santa Cruz is at least good enough to warrant interest. Of course, it hasn’t faced any apples-to-apples competition yet. The Ford Maverick will expand to segment two when it arrives – it has low-quality interiors and we suspect it will be as sporty and fun to drive as the Hyundai, but it’s also standard as a hybrid and much cheaper .
Interior and Technology | Passenger and Cargo Space | performance and fuel economy
What’s it like to drive? Pricing and Features | Crash Rating and Safety Features
What’s new for 2022?
The Santa Cruz is a brand new model.
How are Santa Cruz interior and in-car technology?
The Santa Cruz interior has a premium look and feel above average for a compact crossover, thanks to the fact that everything ahead of the B-pillar is shared with the impressive new Hyundai Tucson. This gives the Santa Cruz a leg up on the Ford Maverick and justifies its higher price tag, at least somewhat. In the Limited trim, leather upholstery, extra mile luxury features like ventilated seats and heated steering wheel, widescreen infotainment system and fancy looking capacitive touch controls take things a step further.
As for technology, Hyundai’s infotainment systems, whether the standard 8-inch unit or the 10.25 widescreen shown below, are some of the easiest to use on the market while being feature-packed and modern in appearance. We’re less enamored of those capacitive controls. Although reasonably responsive, it takes a lot of concentration to locate them with your finger amidst the dazzling black detail. Such controls have always had this problem, have always received feedback from owners and have always been replaced with traditional knobs and buttons from the next generation or earlier. We can’t look at Santa Cruz any different.
How big is Santa Cruz?
The answer really depends on what you’re comparing it to and what dimensions you’re looking at. For a pickup, the Santa Cruz is too short at 195.7 inches in length. Even the smallest mid-sized truck, the Nissan Frontier, stands at 210.2 inches tall in its shortest version and goes up to 224.1. Even the other unibody pickup, the Honda Ridgeline, measures 210 inches in length. The overall height differences are equally odd, though the Santa Cruz’s width is actually similar to that of medium-sized trucks and its ground clearance of 8.6 inches is generous. At the same time, Santa Cruz is hardly small. This length is over a foot longer than the mechanically similar Hyundai Tucson, which is a fairly average compact crossover in size.
This size difference with the crossover is a result of the Santa Cruz’s truck bed, which is significantly longer than the cargo areas of most SUVs, regardless of segment. On the other hand, though, it’s currently the smallest pickup bed on the market, measuring 4.3 feet. What it may lack in overall capability, however, it counters with a lot of clever features that aim to add versatility and safety beyond the typical pickup experience. You can read our comprehensive Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Bed review here or watch our video about it below.
When we look inside, we turn things around again. The cabin can actually be shinier than the crew cabs of midsize pickups (especially the Toyota Tacoma), with the rear seat being at least more spacious and comfortable. Often it is better on both fronts. Again, the rear seat has significantly less legroom than the compact crossover and its backrest angle is a bit more straight. The space difference with the Tucson doesn’t seem as vast as the spec sheet (36.5 by 56.0 inches) indicates, but it’s significant nonetheless.
What are the Santa Cruz fuel economy and performance specs?
The Santa Cruz SE and SEL come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, a typical amount for a compact crossover’s base engine. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available as an option. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined with FWD and 19/27/22 AWD. Maximum towing capacity with this engine is 3,500 pounds with trailer brakes and 1,650 pounds without.
The SEL Premium and Limited come standard with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 281 hp and 311 lb-ft. It’s stronger, especially in terms of torque, than you’ll find in a midsize pickup. It blows away even the most compact crossovers. All-wheel drive is standard and transmission is an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic manual. Fuel economy is roughly the same as the naturally aspirated version at 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. It has a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds with trailer brakes (the same 1,650 without), which is 1,000 pounds more than the Ford Maverick and much sturdier than the typical compact crossover SUV.
How’s it like to drive to Santa Cruz?
The Santa Cruz is one of the most responsive and agile compact crossovers out there… regardless of what’s going on behind the Sea Pillar. There’s nothing truck-like about it, which is probably a bad thing if you want a bouncy ride, tippy handling, and slow steering. Otherwise, it proves to be surprisingly fast and capable of rolling down a winding mountain road. Toggle the drive mode to Sport and the steering loses its initial bit of off-center numbness in favor of just the right amount of extra effort. Suspension, with an independent multi-link setup at the rear, is fully fitted and built in. At the same time, the ride is on the firmer end of the spectrum, but not in a trucker way. The Mazda CX-5 in more of a firm-but-well-moistened way.
Then there’s the powertrain. We haven’t tested the 191-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.5-liter base engine, but our time with something similar in Tucson would indicate that it will be unsophisticated and uninspired, even if it makes competitive power and torque . We’ve tested the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, which feels as fast as its ample 281 hp and 311 lb-ft. We just wish you could get it on all trims, especially considering its fuel economy relative to the base engine.
What other Santa Cruz reviews can I read?
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz First Drive Review
A more in-depth look at the Santa Cruz’s unique design and engineering that goes into it, as well as our initial driving impressions, can be found in this review.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Bed Review
We go deep into Santa Cruz’s many innovative bedding features, including its lockable rolling tonneau cover and under-bed storage.
How much does the 2022 Santa Cruz cost and what features are available?
Pricing for the front-wheel-drive SE starts at $25,215, which includes a $1,225 destination fee. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option on the SE and SEL. It is also important to note that dealers are likely to levy markups in view of the demand and industry-wide supply issues of Santa Cruz. This also applies to customers who have reserved one on Hyundai’s website because dealers are independent franchisees and state laws usually require them to purchase a car from a dealer.
Standard equipment is plenty, including 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, a composite bed liner, three bed storage compartments, a compact spare tire, stain- and odor-resistant fabric upholstery, a manual height-adjustable driver’s seat, a six Speaker sound system, two USB ports and 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Major upgrades on the SEL ($28,415) include proximity entry and push-button start, heated front seats and an eight-way power driver seat. The Activity package adds a number of desirable extras including various bed upgrades (integrated tone covers, a 115-volt outlet, LED lighting, utility rails) plus a sunroof, rear window panes, wireless device charging and a 10.25-inch digital Are included. instrument panel.
The SEL Premium ($36,905) includes the Activity package with a turbo engine and standard all-wheel drive, so the SEL takes its price up significantly. The Limited ($40,945) forays firmly into luxury territory with leather seating surfaces, ventilated front seats, Bose audio, capability interior controls and the 10.25-inch widescreen infotainment system you see in the pictures here.
What are the Santa Cruz Safety Ratings and Driver Assistance Features?
The Santa Cruz hasn’t been crash tested by a third party yet, but it’s also not likely to differ from Hyundai’s usual exemplary crash rating criteria.
Each trim level comes standard with forward collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist and driver inattention warning. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warnings start at SEL. Hyundai’s “Highway Driving Assist” stop-and-go capability with adaptive cruise control and lane-centering steering assist is standard on the Limited.