The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Looks Nothing Like You’d Expect

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the unexpected choice for a modern pickup truck, and upon first glance, it probably looks nothing like you’d expect it to. The modern design choices tie in the aspects we recognize Hyundai for a while, giving the pickup next-level styling cues and body lines that make it a competitive and surprisingly striking option, especially if you don’t want something as common and already popular as the Ford F-150 or similar trucks from competitors. In fact, although the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a pickup truck at first glance, but it’s actually classified as a sports adventure vehicle, SAV, which may intrigue potential buyers.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz at first glance

Hyundai logo
Hyundai logo | Beata Zawrzel, NurPhoto, Getty Images

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz SAV, or really, pickup truck, is smaller than most standard pickups, classifying it as more of a compact pickup as it is significantly shorter than competitive midsized models by around 10 to 15 inches — though it still has an incredibly useful bed. What sets it apart from most traditional pickup truck designs and moving it officially into the column of SAVs is the basic structural design, where the Santa Cruz skips out on the more common pickup truck body-on-frame composition for a unibody construction.

If it looks at all familiar, it is because it shares a lot with the company’s already familiar SUV crossover option, the Hyundai Tucson. In fact, upon first glance, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz almost looks like a sportier Tucson with a truck bed., according to JD Power. In many ways, the car does look more like an SUV than it does a pickup truck.

Notable design features and modern technology

The headlight and taillight designs are undoubtedly the most unique exterior choices for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz in a way that sets the car apart from the competition and makes the compact pickup look incredibly modern. If you weren’t familiar with the Santa Cruz headlights in the dark, you would stop and take a second look trying to figure out what vehicle they belong to, as they are unlike that of any pickup truck on the road today, with the headlight spread out into distinctly individual strips rather than one headlight housing with a bulb.

The Santa Cruz headlights integrate well with the design of the front grille, continuing the lines in a way that looks less conspicuous during the day and strikingly contemporary during the night. This style is notably more modern and becoming a more common styling choice in newer vehicles — and pickup trucks aren’t being left behind with the new trend.

What to expect from the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz


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The 2022 Hyundai Cruz is set up for success with its reasonable starting price of $25,175. While you may not expect much for that price, this spunky and modern pickup offers quite a bit. Of course, the interior isn’t exactly classified as luxurious, but it is comfortable, well-designed, and endowed with a lot of high-tech features like option 10.25-inch high definition touch-screen infotainment system that matches the large driver’s display screen. The standard 8-inch infotainment system is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and, of course, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz comes with a lot of the standard safety features drivers are looking for from new cars, such as:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Driver-attention warning