2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the company's first Sport Adventure Vehicle. Part SUV, part truck ... it's a unique model that's sure to intrigue a lot of consumers because it offers the best of both worlds. With its affordable price and practical size, it's going to please many customers. Making it even better are its advanced safety and infotainment systems.
What's New for 2022?
The Santa Cruz is brand new for 2022. Several years back, Hyundai started to tease the idea of a truck in its lineup, but this is the first year that customers can actually purchase one. As a compact pickup truck that has many things in common with SUVs, the Santa Cruz offers something different that what's currently in the lineup.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz – The Pros
1. Load Up Cargo
Feel free to load up all kinds of gear in the cabin of a Santa Cruz. The fact that this model has an open-air bed in the back should help it attract attention from people who need a lot of cargo space. The bed is a little longer than 50 inches in length, so it can fit a variety of items. It's about 43 inches wide and approximately 19 inches tall, making the volume of the bed fairly generous.
2. Clever Storage Solutions
The truck bed comes with six tie-down points, giving people an easy way to secure items while traveling. There are also rotatable D-rings and adjustable C-channel utility rails and cleats. This gives drivers some different options when it comes to arranging things and keeping them from moving around while they're on the road. There's an underfloor storage area as well, and it can double as a cooler. It even has a drain so that it can be filled with ice when someone is tailgating, camping, or picnicking, for instance.
Finally, the integrated tonneau cover can provide some privacy. Since the tailgate can be locked, everything in the bed can be secured.
3. Two Available Engines
The Santa Cruz comes with two different engines. The SE and SEL trims, the first two in the lineup, use 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engines. The other trims, which are the SEL Premium and Limited, use 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engines with turbochargers.
Having a turbocharger makes a difference. The standard engine can make 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, and the turbo engine can deliver 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. It's nice that Hyundai has given customers the choice of what type of engine to get. As one would expect, there's a somewhat significant price jump when moving from the trims with the standard engine to the ones with turbocharged versions. To some, the extra capability may be worth the extra cost.
4. Good Capability
With the SE and SEL, customers have the option to get all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is the default drivetrain. With the SEL Premium and Limited, all-wheel drive is standard. This provides better traction when it's hard for tires to grip the roads due to slippery conditions.
5. A Cabin That Fits Five
Five people can fit comfortably inside the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Its cabin feels very similar to one that an SUV would have. Leg room in the back is almost 37 inches, and the front row is quite roomy. Passengers will appreciate having all of that room, especially on longer road trips. This is one thing that sets the Santa Cruz apart from other compact pickup trucks, which might not have that much rear-seat leg room.
6. Ready to Tow Cargo
The Santa Cruz can be used to tow cargo. With front-wheel drive, the vehicle can haul up to 3,500 pounds. When it's equipped with all-wheel drive, it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. This is a decent amount that should make this model a practical choice for those who have heavier gear to transport.
7. High-End Technology
Hyundai has become one of the leaders in the industry in terms of integrating technology into its vehicles. The company has been very generous with its infotainment package. All trims have Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, and at least two USB charging ports. Most have SiriusXM and Bluelink technology, and the top two have wireless charging. The Limited, at the top of the lineup, comes with a Bose premium audio system, navigation, two USB outlets in the second row, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen.
8. Offering Extra Protection
All of the Santa Cruz trims come with several driver-assist technologies, including lane keeping assist, lane following assist, driver attention warning, and forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection. These can all be so useful since it's hard to predict what's going to happen at any moment. With these systems working, it's less likely that one would be involved in frontal collisions and accidents caused by veering out of position.
Higher trims can have even more mechanisms in place. Available driver-assist systems include blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, and highway driving assist. The Limited gets to have a navigation-based smart cruise control system, which allows it to slow itself down as it approaches curves in the roads.
9. Modern Exterior Style
LED Daytime Running Lights are standard on the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, and these really contribute to the sleek appearance of the vehicle. LED taillights are also standard, with LED headlights being available. More LEDs can be found in the roof-mounted cargo light and in the open bed. Some models can have dark chrome accents to help them look more refined.
10. Convenient Features
There are many nice components that have been included with the Santa Cruz. It comes standard with a remote release tailgate and integrated rear bumper steps to make it easier to access cargo. It can also have heated side mirrors and a power sunroof.
Inside the cabin, there could be a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated and ventilated front seats, rear air vents, and a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel. It's these little things that can add up and make a difference in the overall driving experience.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz – The Cons
1. Could Be More Powerful
It certainly is great that Hyundai has given the Santa Cruz available all-wheel drive and an available turbo engine. However, the Santa Cruz is likely going to be compared to mid-size pickup trucks. Many of these other models have towing capacities that are greater than 5,000 pounds. In addition, many have engines that can pump out more than 300 horsepower.
2. The Bed Is a Bit Short
Truck beds are practical because they can fit so much cargo. The Santa Cruz's bed has a decent size, but if someone is planning on loading particularly large items, it may be difficult.
3. Not Extremely Efficient
The Hyundai Santa Cruz has an estimated fuel efficiency of either 23 or 22 miles per gallon, depending on whether it runs on the standard engine or the turbocharged one. Some buyers might be looking for vehicles that are more efficient than that.
To be honest, it may be hard to find everything they're looking for, especially if they're interested in the utility that trucks offer. While the options may be slim in terms of efficient pickups, this doesn't change the fact that the Santa Cruz isn't the most eco-friendly option available.
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How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz vs 2022 Honda Ridgeline
The Honda Ridgeline is similar to the Santa Cruz in terms of size and style. Many drivers will like how easy it is to handle them, and those who park in garages will appreciate their more compact size.
Compared with the Ridgeline, the Santa Cruz has one more inch of ground clearance, which could be useful when going over rough terrain. The Santa Cruz is much cheaper than the Ridgeline is, so this is definitely going to be an important factor. Finally, the Santa Cruz is a little more efficient than the Ridgeline is.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz vs 2022 Ford Maverick
Another new model is the Ford Maverick. Its starting price is actually a bit lower than that of the Hyundai Santa Cruz, but it doesn't come standard with all of the high-tech equipment that the Santa Cruz has. There's no doubt that the Hyundai has the better safety package as well.
One thing that works in the Maverick's favor is that it comes standard with a hybrid powertrain. If it doesn't have the hybrid system, it runs on a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. That engine doesn't meet the mark that the Santa Cruz's 2.5-liter turbo has set as it relates to power. The Santa Cruz can make about 30 more horsepower than the Maverick can, and it can tow up to 5,000 pounds in comparison with the Maverick's towing capacity of just 2,000 pounds.
Innovation is always occurring in the industry, and Hyundai has worked hard to give its customers yet another option to consider. The Santa Cruz is going to win some people over because of all the technology that's been incorporated into its cabin as well as the fact that it has an open bed.
Though it has the name of Sport Adventure Vehicle, it's pretty much a pickup truck, one that's on the smaller side and can be easily driven and maneuvered. It does have a unique style. It's likely that this will help it catch the eye of consumers who want vehicles that are practical but also a little different than all the other models in the market.