The 2022 Honda Ridgeline Utterly Demolished the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz on Consumer Reports

The much anticipated 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz seemed to be the small truck we’ve all been waiting for. Apparently, Consumer Reports begs to differ. After testing Hyundai’s new Santa Cruz pickup truck, they were not so pleased. As it turns out, the 2022 Honda Ridgeline remains at the top of CR’s pickup truck list by utterly Demolishing the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz. 

2022 Honda Ridgeline on a white back ground in Grey
2022 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

What makes the 2022 Honda Ridgeline so good? 

The 2022 Honda Ridgeline is exactly what CR looks for in a truck. It has a smooth and reliable powertrain, a comfortable ride, and a decently outfitted cabin and is still strong enough to get some work done. For all these reasons, it landed an 82/100. 

The Honda Ridgeline only has one engine option, the 3.5-liter V6 paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. This engine provides good pull and plenty of highway passing potential. This engine, while surprisingly large, still yields 20 mpg but can only tow up to 5,000 lbs and carry 1,584 lbs in the bed. 

Unlike conventional trucks, but just like all cars and most modern SUVs, the Ridgeline is built using unibody construction rather than a body bolted to a separate frame. Also, the cab and bed are one piece rather than two separate entities that are bolted together. This is part of what makes the Ridgeline such a smooth and pleasant ride and many other trucks so rough and cumbersome. 

Lastly, the Honda Ridgeline also sports an independent suspension in the front and the rear. Basically, everything that makes a pickup bouncy, loud, and uncomfortable (and what makes them good at what they do) isn’t present here. The Honda Ridgeline is a crossover wearing a pickup truck suit. While these things keep the Ridgeline away from many truck buyers, these factors are exactly why Consumer Reports loves the Ridgeline so much. 

How is the Honda Ridgeline’s interior? 

Honda didn’t completely give up the truck vibe. Unlike the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, the Ridgeline gets a pretty dressed-down interior. The seats can still come in cloth, the dash isn’t inundated with screens, and if you look long enough, you’ll find cheap materials. The Honda Ridgeline is basically what you could expect from a Honda Pilot. 

Is the 2022 Hyundai a good truck? 

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz in the woods. It didn't score as well on Consumer Reports as many had hoped.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz landed a 59/100 on Consumer Reports. However, it should be noted that these tests are in the early stages. Unlike the 2022 Honda Ridgeline, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz has two engine options, the 281-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder and the 2.5-liter four making 191 hp. There is an eight-speed automatic gearbox and an eight-speed sequential transmission. 

One of the biggest feathers in the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz cap is getting up to 24 mpg. This is nearly unheard of for pickup trucks, and CR looked upon that favorably. 

The dramatic styling and uniquely small design set the Santa Cruz apart from most other mid-size pickups. As a redesign of the original Hyundai Tucson pickup truck, the Santa Cruz has a little history behind it but is still ultimately brand new. This newness, along with some other factors, caused CR to give it a predicted reliability score of 2 out of 5. This poor reliability score is a dagger to the Hyundai Santa Cruz. 

What’s the problem with the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz? 

A grey Hyundai Santa Cruz drives down the road.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The Real Reason the 2021 Honda Ridgeline Should Be More Popular

Ultimately, Consumer Reports struggled with the tinyness of the truck/ute crossover. CR’s initial take was that the Hyundai exhibits a fun personality and a fairly unique experience. It most closely resembles the Subaru Baja but is executed much better. While there are still issues with the lack of space with the tonneau cover, there aren’t many things about the Santa Cruz that CR didn’t like except the reliability prediction.

Poor reliability is a sure-fire way to put off CR’s testers. Although there are many things to love about the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz and the 2022 Honda Ridgeline, the Honda offers many of the same benefits but with proven reliability and toughness. Maybe, as testing continues, the Santa Cruz can prove its worth and rise in the ranks.