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Small trucks are back in the United States. Although big pickups are still extremely popular, some brands have been exploring compact trucks. These smaller vehicles come at an affordable price point and offer legitimate utility. According to MotorTrend, the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick might be the best small trucks of 2022. 

Is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz a real truck?

While not as capable as something like the Ford F-150, the Hyundai Santa Cruz can do a fair amount of truck stuff. It is offered only with a crew cab and features a four-foot bed. The standard Santa Cruz engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 191 horsepower and 181 pound-foot of torque. 

According to Car and Driver, for most drivers, it might be best to go with the turbocharged variant. It makes 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. Each powerplant can come with front or all-wheel drive. 

The 2022 Santa Cruz has a lot going for it

One thing that stands out about the Santa Cruz is its towing capacity. When properly equipped, it can handle up to 5,000 lbs. And that is just as much as the Honda Ridgeline, which is a larger pickup truck. MotorTrend also notes that it can haul up to 1,411 lbs of payload. So, for most uses, this small truck should be capable enough. 

A 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz shows that it's a compact pickup that's ready for adventure.
Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

One thing that would be nice to see from the Hyundai Santa Cruz would be some kind of off-road package. This vehicle isn’t meant to do serious rock crawling, but a trim or package that adds some off-road goodies would likely be popular. 

MotorTrend likes the 2022 Ford Maverick

Much like the Santa Cruz, the 2022 Ford Maverick is only available as a crew cab and with a four-foot bed. But, according to MotorTrend, one thing that sets it apart is its base engine. Ford’s small truck comes standard with a hybrid powertrain, and it is pretty efficient. 

A blue Ford Maverick small pickup truck is driving on the road. MotorTrend likes this compact vehicle.
The 2022 Ford Maverick | Ford

If you are someone who does not want a hybrid truck, you can opt for the available EcoBoost engine, which makes more power. Another perk of the turbocharged engine is that it unlocks the AWD system. Unfortunately, if you get the hybrid, your compact pickup will only have front-wheel drive. 

Is the Ford Maverick good off-road?

In terms of off-road use, the 2022 Maverick can be a fairly decent vehicle. The available FX4 Off-Road package can come equipped to the XLT and Lariat trims, and it makes some improvements for taking on the road less traveled. 

Perhaps the best off-road Maverick comes in form of the 2023 model. For 2023, Ford has introduced the Maverick Tremor. This package adds a one-inch lift, an improved AWD system, and other features. 

The Tremor package does come at an additional cost. But to have a small truck with legitimate off-road ability, that price might be worth it to some. Just keep in mind, the Ford Maverick Tremor is not available for the 2022 model year. Although, you can still get the FX4 package.

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