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The Hyundai Santa Cruz serves as a solid option for truck buyers who need some pickup pragmatism but not the full capabilities of a midsize or full-size truck. Introduced for the 2022 model year, the Santa Cruz comes from an unconventional pickup producer, but it has plenty that will please those seeking a small truck, including areas in which the Santa Cruz begets its small stature, like its in-bed “trunk,” under-seat storage and versatile tailgate. 

1. A spacious in-bed trunk

The Santa Cruz’s bed is just over four feet in length and about 54 inches at its widest. Though that’s notably less than what even midsize trucks can offer—the Ford Ranger’s shortest bed is five feet long—it’s still sizeable enough for trips to the home improvement store or to haul gear for the more “lifestyle-oriented” adventures. 

But where the Santa Cruz separates itself is the availability of an integrated tonneau cover. Available as an option in the midrange SEL model and standard on the two upper trims—SEL Premium and Limited—the adjustable (and lockable) tonneau cover can serve as a large and practical “trunk” when called upon. Additionally, it can help to keep valuable items locked away when parking in populated areas. 

The tonneau cover also includes two built-in T slot accessory tracks that can be used to haul items over the bed. 

2. Hidden storage under the back seats

The Hyundai Santa Cruz offers under-seat storage in the second row as standard. The storage compartment is also lockable. 

The pickup’s under-seat storage is a boon for its interior pragmatism. The Santa Cruz’s cabin storage is limited by its small footprint—it’s based on the compact Tucson SUV—but the under-seat storage provides another means of hauling some larger items that can’t otherwise fit in the cabin without infringing on passenger space. 

3. Multi-function tailgate

Also standard on all Santa Cruz models is a multi-function tailgate, which benefits the little pickup’s versatility and convenience when hauling items in the bed. The tailgate can be lowered fully, of course, but those needing to haul some larger items that don’t fit into the Santa Cruz’s box when the tailgate is up, like equipment or lumber, can adjust it.

The tailgate securing cables can be moved manually, allowing the tailgate to open at an angle. This allows longer items to fit securely into the bed that otherwise might require straps or harnesses to haul with the tailgate fully open. 

What is the cargo space in Hyundai Santa Cruz?

The Santa Cruz’s bed, with the tailgate up, can accommodate up to 27 cu-ft of cargo. The bed’s length can be extended to 74.8 inches with the tailgate open, and the maximum distance between the wheel housings in the bed is 53.9 inches (42.7 inches between the wheel wells). The Santa Cruz’s bed height is 19.2 inches. 

The Ford Maverick is the Santa Cruz’s only competition in the compact pickup category, and its bed is more accommodating at 33.3 cu-ft. The Maverick, like the Hyundai, is also equipped with standard second-row under-seat storage and a multi-position tailgate.

However, the Santa Cruz has a tonneau cover as standard in upper trims. A tonneau cover is an optional add-on no matter the Maverick trim selected.