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The small truck battle is in full swing, and the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz and 2023 Ford Maverick compete directly against each other. And although the Maverick does look more like a traditional truck than the Santa Cruz, the Hyundai does beat the Blue Oval’s compact pickup in a few ways. 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz can tow more

In terms of towing capacity, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz does have the Maverick beat. A base Santa Cruz can tow 3,500 pounds, and when properly equipped, it can handle up to 5,000 lbs. Meanwhile, the base Ford Maverick can only tow 2,000 lbs and maxes out at 4,000 lbs. 

If you want to tow heavier loads, the Santa Cruz is the clear winner. Even when operating under load, both small trucks do handle fairly well. So that is a plus for both of these compact pickups. 

The Hyundai Santa Cruz has a nicer interior

Although the Santa Cruz does come with a higher price tag, it does make up for that with a nicer interior. Hyundai’s small truck is based on the Tucson, and it shares many of the premium features that you can get on that SUV. These include things like ventilated seats and overall nice interior materials. 

Dashboard and seats in 2023 Ford Maverick
2023 Ford Maverick | Ford

The 2023 Ford Maverick does feel more like a traditional truck on the inside. So, that might be a plus to some. But, if you want the benefits of a truck bed and a comfortable space to be inside, the Santa Cruz is likely the better choice. In recent years, Hyundai has made a name for itself with the interiors of its vehicles. And this compact pickup is no exception. 

The 2023 Santa Cruz boasts unique styling

When it comes to styling, the Santa Cruz is the more unique of these two vehicles. It’s got an aggressive front end that does set it apart from other pickup trucks that are on the road. The bed is also versatile. It offers a variety of storage areas and even a power outlet, which makes it usable. 

Front angle view of Blue Stone 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck
Blue Stone 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

It is nice to see an automotive brand take risks in terms of styling. The Ford Maverick could be described as conservative in terms of design. Hyundai’s small truck certainly does not look like a traditional pickup. 

Will there be a 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz?

According to Car and Driver, there will be a new Santa Cruz. There will be some additional driver assist features, and Hyundai has given this small truck a slight price increase. Overall, there are not a lot of major changes for the 2023 Santa Cruz. It was just introduced for the 2022 model year, so that does make sense. 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz in the Rebelle Rally
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz in the Rebelle Rally | Rebelle Rally

Some features are being trickled down to lower trim levels. The 10.3-inch touchscreen can now be had on the SEL Premium trim. There is also a new Night model. This gives a variety of black accents to this compact pickup. And that is a welcome addition for those who want a more aggressive truck.