The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Doesn’t Have Off-Road Chops, But it Should

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a new small truck from the Hyundai brand. With the ability to generate up to 281 horsepower and offering all-wheel drive, it is a vehicle that is ready for light adventuring. But, unlike Ford with its Maverick, Hyundai does not give the Santa Cruz a true off-road package. Which would undoubtedly be popular with compact pickup truck buyers. The Santa Cruz looks the part of an adventure vehicle, but it needs an option that gives it some off-road chops. Something to compete with the FX4 Off-Road package from Ford. 

Can the Hyundai Santa Cruz go off-road?

The new Hyundai Santa Cruz is a small truck, but it doesn't have serious off-road capability.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

While the Hyundai Santa Cruz can come with things like AWD, it does not offer true off-road features such as skid plates or off-road-tuned suspension. And we cannot help but feel that these would help to increase the Santa Cruz’s target market. 

In terms of trucks, even small trucks, buyers often want something they feel is up for an adventure. This even rings true for shoppers who won’t necessarily be taking their compact truck on the trail every weekend. 

The 2022 Santa Cruz can handle light adventuring

Although it may not have a dedicated off-road package, the Santa Cruz does boast some features that make it ready for a camping trip. Its bed features power outlets and even a drain. Which lends it to be truly usable. Much like the competition, the bed can be used for storage of gear or hauling toys. This is why buyers look at these kinds of vehicles to begin with. 

Another perk of the Hyundai Santa Cruz over other small trucks like the Ford Maverick is its towing capacity. When properly equipped, the Santa Cruz can tow up to 5,000 pounds. The new Maverick maxes out at 4,000 lbs. 

If you demand power from your compact truck, this model is ready to answer the call. According to Car and Driver, it has an available turbocharged engine which generates 281 hp. Even with the base engine, buyers can benefit from 191 hp from a four-cylinder engine.

What are the trim levels of this small truck?

With the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, buyers get a small truck that can handle light adventuring.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The new Santa Cruz is available in four distinct trim levels. These allow buyers to get the right amount of truck for their needs. The base Santa Cruz SE has a starting price of $24,140 and it comes with things like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The next trim up is the SEL model, which adds some safety tech for added driving confidence.

For those shopping for a more premium feel, there are the SEL Premium and Limited trims. With these models, you get the more potent engine and AWD. Both things that are likely to be enjoyed by purchases of a small truck. The Limited trim even benefits from a 360-degree camera, which allows drivers to monitor their surroundings when tackling things like a tight parking space. 

To add to the Santa Cruz’s capability, Hyundai could offer an off-road package or maybe even a unique trim level, much like Subaru does with the Wilderness. Surely, it would see some success if Hyundai did.

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