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The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz just released a few weeks ago. If you check up on the smaller pickup truck segment they are called either compact or midsize pickup trucks. But the introduction of new trucks like the Santa Cruz and 2022 Ford Maverick could mean we are entering an age where we have a brand new pickup truck segment––subcompact pickup trucks. Is the ute making a comeback in North America?

A silver 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz parked in the desert while the sun sets
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

It could be. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a small unibody pickup truck with a short bed. It harkens back to funky truck models like the Subaru Baja. In addition, the new Ford Maverick pickup truck has been leaked. It looks bigger than expected, but it will still be in direct competition with the 2022 Santa Cruz.

How big is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz?

The rear view of a gray 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz driving through the desert
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz rear | Hyundai

According to Hyundai USA, the all-new Santa Cruz pickup is 195.7 inches long. That’s smaller than every other option in the segment––and not just by a few inches. This truck is so small that it’s carving out a new space in today’s small pickup truck market.

In fact, Hyundai describes the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz sport adventure vehicle “segment-shattering.” It’s virtually a Hyundai Tuscon with a bed and extra adventurous appeal. It could divert sales from other new offerings like the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, the 2022 Ford Maverick, and even upgraded midsize trucks like the refreshed Honda Ridgeline and the all-new 2022 Nissan Frontier.

A gray 2021 Honda Ridgeline with bronze HPD wheels and two red dirt bikes in the bed in a mountain forest
2021 Honda Ridgeline with HPD accessories | Honda

It’s small enough that it appeals to a wider consumer base than the average small pickup truck. This might be the ultimate adventurous compact pickup truck. A truck that’s versatile enough for full emersion into urban living as well as trekking off the beaten path for an adventurous weekend.

At 66.7 inches tall, 75 inches wide, with a 101.9-inch total footprint volume, this little truck could completely change what consumers expect and want from the compact pickup truck segment. In fact, it could call for a whole new pickup truck subspecies. Are we ready for a new pickup truck segment?

How does it compare to other trucks like the Honda Ridgeline, Chevy Colorado, and Toyota Tacoma?

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz does share one major similarity with the Honda Ridgeline. Both of these trucks are on a unibody platform. The Toyota Tacoma is built on a traditional truck frame, which is one reason why it’s so capable off-road. The Chevy Colorado is also built on a truck frame and offers a diesel option that lends it an impressive towing capacity.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma, although roughly the same width as the Santa Cruz, is 212.2 inches in length. That’s nearly two feet longer than Hyundai’s new pickup truck. The Toyota Tacoma is roughly 5 inches taller with a wheelbase that’s about 9 inches larger than the 2022 Santa Cruz.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma in the dirt
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

The Honda Ridgeline is 210 inches long, and it’s 3.6 inches taller than the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Due to its unibody construction, some might even say that the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz makes the Honda Ridgeline irrelevant in some ways. Unless you need a longer bed, the Santa Cruz seems to have an advantage over the Ridgeline.

The Chevrolet Colorado, like the Toyota Tacoma, is a different breed of compact pickup truck than that Santa Cruz or the Ridgeline. According to MotorTrend, the Colorado is 17 inches longer than the all-new Santa Cruz. It’s certainly a larger truck. And, while the Ridgeline and Santa Cruz tow the same maximum of 5,000 pounds, the Tacoma and the Chevrolet Colorado can tow between 1,800 – 2,700 pounds more when configured appropriately.

A gray 2021 Chevrolet Colorado LT Diesel drives over a city bridge
2021 Chevrolet Colorado LT Diesel | Chevrolet

A new pickup truck segment

We expect the Hyundai Santa Cruz to fit into the existing compact or midsize pickup truck segment. However, if more automakers follow suit we could see more small trucks. In fact, the Ford Maverick is on the horizon and there have been rumors of a new Subaru pickup truck.

In time, similarly to the subcompact crossover segment, we may see the emergence of a brand new pickup truck segment. Subcompact pickups may begin carving a new space for trucks. New small trucks could mean big changes in the market.


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