Skip to main content

We aren’t sure why the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz isn’t getting more attention. This new compact truck is beating the Ford Maverick for tons of awards. See why the Hyundai Santa Cruz deserves more respect. 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz keeps winning awards 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz in the woods
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz recently made its debut a few months ago, but it doesn’t seem to be getting nearly as much attention as the Ford Maverick. Well, unless the attention is from critics, but the Hyundai Santa Cruz is racking up awards. 

For a bit of background information, you can get started in a new Santa Cruz for about $23,990. This price is lower than all midsize trucks but a little more than the Gord Maverick Hybrid, which starts at $19,995. 

What awards is the Santa Cruz winning? 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz was named compact SUV of Texas by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA). But wait a second, how is the Santa Cruz snagging SUV awards? Well, technically, it’s a Spart Adventure Vehicle. 

During the 29th annual TAWA Rodeo, over 40 auto writers with dozens of new trucks and SUVs came together to determine the best-in-class models in significant vehicle categories. The Santa Cruz one for its bold design, multiple utility features, maneuverability, and efficiency. 

Ricky Lao, Director of Product Planning for Hyundai North America, shared that the 2022 Santa Cruz breaks ground within the SUV, truck, and crossover segments by offering a true Sport Adventure Vehicle unlike anything else in the U.S. market. Was that a burn toward the Maverick? 

The Santa Cruz also won the 2021 Best Pickup Truck Award from the Northwest Automotive Press Association. The test criteria for this award involve an on-road evaluation to judge the acceleration, handling, braking, rearview camera, and more. 

Vehicles are also tested on an off-road course that simulated rough forest service roads that northwest drivers often encounter during their adventures. It challenges the vehicles’ four or all-wheel drive system, 360-degree cameras, hill descent control, and state-of-the-art traction management systems. 

The Hyundai Santa Cruz won the Best New Product at the 2021 Sobre Ruedas awards too. It won for featuring standout specifications, a striking exterior appearance, cozy interior, configurable open bed, and all-wheel drive chassis. 

What’s so great about the 2022 Santa Cruz? 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz driving near the beach
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is incredibly versatile and well-rounded. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine pumps out 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine for 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. 

You can tow between 3,500 to 5,000 lbs with the Santa Cruz. Also, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. It gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and up to 27 mpg on the highway. 

With a ground clearance of 8.6 inches and AWD, it’s equipped to tackle off-roading challenges. However, we’re hoping to see a more capable off-roading trim or package arrive soon. 

Useful features include an under cargo bed storage bin and retractable cargo bed cover. The tailgate can be adjusted to the same height as the wheel wells. This allows you to fit 4-by-8 sheets of plywood. 

There’s more than meets the eye with the Hyundai Santa Cruz, and critics aren’t ignoring it. If you’re in the market for a tiny truck or adventure vehicle, give the Santa Cruz a chance. 

RELATED: Don’t Plan to Take the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Off-Roading Just Yet


The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Lets You Skip the Wait