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There are two obvious options if you’re in the market for a new compact pickup truck. The 2023 Ford Maverick and 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz are a little smaller than other trucks. Both are considered compact models, while popular alternatives like the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Honda Ridgeline are midsize trucks. One significant advantage of a compact truck is the low starting price. Let’s compare two of the cheapest pickup trucks available.

How much is a 2023 Ford Maverick?

A price comparison between the 2023 ford maverick and 2023 hyundai santa cruz.
2023 Ford Maverick | Ford

According to Car and Driver, the 2023 Ford Maverick starts at $23,670 for the XL base model. All C/D’s prices include extra destination and handling fees, which are tacked on during purchases for all automakers. The Maverick’s starting price makes it more affordable than even some sedans and coupes. However, there is more than one trim level in the lineup. Buying the next step up, the Maverick XLT costs $25,930. Finally, the fully-loaded Lariat trim starts at $29,430. However, many other options are available for the compact pickup.

For example, the Lariat Luxury package is exclusive to the Lariat trim level. It adds power outlets, a spray-in bed liner, an upgraded infotainment system, a wireless smartphone charging pad, a B&O premium sound system, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, and evasive steering assist. A hybrid powertrain with exclusive front-wheel drive is standard, but a non-hybrid turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with all-wheel drive is available.

2023 Ford Maverick trimPrice

How much is a 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz?

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz compact truck driving outside on dirt
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Next, C/D lists the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz SE base model starting price at $26,745. Although it’s more costly than the cheapest Maverick trims, it gets a little boost in equipment. Next, the only other comparable model to the Ford compact truck lineup is the SEL trim. It starts at $29,085 and is the final Santa Cruz offering that starts under $37,000. The rest of the lineup features the Night, SEL Premium, and Limited trims. The most costly starts at $41,615, putting it on par with more expensive midsize trucks.

What makes the higher Santa Cruz trims so expensive? First, the SEL Premium model is the first in the lineup with a standard turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This boosts the Santa Cruz’s output to 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, it has standard all-wheel drive, digital key capability, navigation, and adaptive cruise control. The highest Limited trim also adds leather upholstery, rear-seat USB ports, ventilated front seats, Bose premium audio, a 360-degree camera system, and a lane-keeping system. Do all of these extras make the costly 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz trims worth buying?

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz trimsPrice
SEL Premium$38,645

Which compact truck offers more value?


3 Reasons a 2023 Ford Maverick Is Worth Buying

It’s easy to say the 2023 Ford Maverick offers more value because of its pricing. In all trims, the Maverick is under $30,000 and offers most of the same features as the Hyundai model. The Santa Cruz becomes more desirable than the Maverick in its SEL Premium and Limited trims. Of course, they’ll cost nearly $10,000 more than any version of the Ford compact truck.

We think if you’re interested in spending less for more, the cheaper Maverick trims, like the Car and Driver-recommended XLT model, are the way to go. However, buyers with more room in their budget can get the C/D-recommended 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz SEL Premium for more tech, more comfort, standard AWD, and a more potent engine.