The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Is Basically an SUV With a Truck Bed

Hyundai is making its foray into the pickup truck class with the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz. Judging by appearances, it resembles a Honda Ridgeline more than popular American trucks like the Chevy Colorado or Ford F-150. Since it looks so similar to an SUV, there’s always the concern that truck enthusiasts might pass on its unconventional design.

Hyundai even seems to be leaning in on this, labeling the truck as a “Sport Adventure Vehicle.” Following in the footsteps of the Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero, this truck won’t sacrifice comfort and style for performance. However, that doesn’t mean the Santa Cruz will be less capable. Here’s what we know about it so far, courtesy of Car and Driver.

An SUV’s powertrain

The Hyundai Santa Cruz will receive the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder present in other Hyundai vehicles. The automaker promises that it will be capable of at least 190 hp, plus offer a 275 hp turbo-four. Base engines get an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the optional engine gets a dual-clutch version. 

AWD is also standard with the turbo engine. The EPA hasn’t released fuel economy numbers for the Santa Cruz yet, but 2022 Hyundai Tucson gives us a hint. This SUV is rated for 26/33 mpg city/highway. 

It may be longer than the Tucson, but a lighter curb weight could mean even better gas mileage. It also makes the Santa Cruz a more efficient alternative compared to many other gas-guzzling trucks on the market.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is built like an SUV

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is structured similarly to its Tucson cousin. It has a unibody frame along with the same door and nose structure, plus the same suspension. One big difference between the two is the truck’s overall length, 195.7 inches compared to 183.3 inches. It also has a longer wheelbase than the Tucson at 118.3 inches.

We can also expect this unique truck to handle more like an SUV compared to a body-on-frame pickup truck. It has a pair of MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link suspension in the back. It also has load-leveling shocks at the rear to combat a sagging cargo box.

On the inside, the differences between this new model and the Tucson are minimal. The center stack has the same layout and will be equipped with many of the same standard features. Still, C/D was able to spy a traditional shift lever as opposed to the Tucson’s push-button setup. 

How brawny is the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

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Drivers can choose between either a 48-inch or 52-inch cargo box for the Hyundai Santa Cruz. That’s the smallest bed of any other pickup truck available, but it’s still flexible enough to be useful. 

The bed is wide enough to accommodate a lot of gear, and it has lower walls than other pickups. Still, C/D would have liked to see more bed space by folding down the Santa Cruz’s second row of seats.

With the base engine, the Hyundai Santa Cruz can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Opting for the turbo engine allows you to tow up to 5,000 pounds. Payload capacity figures have yet to be announced.

How much will the Hyundai Santa Cruz cost?

A gray Hyundai Motor Co. Santa Cruz Concept vehicle is displayed during the 2015 North American International Auto Show
A Hyundai Santa Cruz concept | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

C/D speculates that the Hyundai Santa Cruz will retail for around $30,000, tapping out somewhere in the $40,000 range. It’s also expected to hit dealership lots this summer. 

With its relatively meager towing capacity and shorter bed, the Santa Cruz probably isn’t the best pick for heavy-duty jobs. For SUV drivers who want some added capability and a slightly more rogue-ish design, this small truck hits that sweet spot.