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The 2022 Ford Maverick is here. It’s a small hybrid pickup truck, all new to the pickup truck market space. It’s a true compact pickup truck. In fact, the 2022 Ford Maverick means a new pickup truck segment is coming. 

The new very orange Ford Maverick
2022 Maverick | Ford

Prior to the debut of the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the Ford Maverick, whether a truck was a compact pickup truck or a midsize pickup truck was a little confusing. However, these new trucks are showing us what it means to be a real compact pickup truck. We can reserve others like the Ford Ranger or the Chevrolet Colorado for the midsize truck segment. 

What is a compact pickup truck? 

side view of an electric green Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 2022 model driving on a sandy trail
2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro | Toyota Newsroom

Lately, the “compact pickup truck” class is bigger than ever. In fact, many of what some places like Consumer Reports call a compact pickup truck are, in fact, midsize pickup trucks. Models like the Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger, and Toyota Tacoma are all about 17 to 18 feet long. 

The first generation Toyota Tacoma was 14 and a half feet long, according to Good Car Bad Car. So today’s modern compact trucks are in reality more in the midsize category as opposed to being true compact pickup trucks. With all-new entries to the truck market like the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz or the 2022 Ford Maverick, it looks like a new pickup truck segment is coming. 

Is this the revival of the true compact pickup truck?

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz in a gray color driving along the road in the desert
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

There are actually going to be some big differences, so it’s hard to really call what’s happening an actual revival of the true compact pickup truck. The new trucks like the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz and the 2022 Ford Maverick are certainly shorter. However, not really by that much. 

Both of these trucks are still over 16 feet long. They are also going to be offered as full cab vehicles with seating for five and four doors. This new pickup truck segment means that we will get some small trucks, but the calling card isn’t necessarily the size. 

The unibody design of the 2022 Ford Maverick and the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Ford Maverick vs. Hyundai Santa Cruz
The 2022 Ford Maverick | Ford

One of the interesting features of the Ford Maverick is its unibody construction. It’s a small truck that’s built over a car-like platform like a crossover. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz also has a unibody design. The new pickup truck segment is more about the purpose and versatility than the size. 

In fact, Hyundai doesn’t even want us calling the Santa Cruz a pickup truck. These new small trucks are about an urban lifestyle blended with a love for outdoor recreation. You can DJ in the city one night, fit your friends and gear in your small truck. 

Then the next day load up your partner, your dog and all of your equipment to head to your favorite outdoor climbing spot outside of the city. 

A new pickup truck segment

The Hyundai Santa Cruz on the move
The Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

So yes, there is a new pickup truck segment coming. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz and the 202 Ford Maverick are new trucks that make up a new version of the true compact pickup truck class. There are more on the way too. 

Both Kia and Volkswagen may have trucks like this on the market in the next year or so. Subaru has also been rumored to bring a unibody truck to the market. With more models rounding out the pickup truck classes, there will soon be a clearer line between the compact, midsize, and full-size pickup truck segments.


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