No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. What you see here is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, which is a truck-like SUV with a unibody construction. Technically speaking, Hyundai calls it a “sport adventure vehicle.” It makes sense the more you look at it. Sure, it looks weird, but in reality, the Santa Cruz is fully functional and can make a lot of sense in your daily life, provided that you live an active one. Here are five reasons why.
1. The Hyundai Santa Cruz has a truck bed
Any well-versed Hyundai aficionados will quickly realize that the all-new Hyundai Santa Cruz rides on the same platform as the Tucson. It even shares the same dashboard layout and features, but of course, has the addition of a truck bed. And while the truck bed is small – it measures in at 48.4 inches – it’s very versatile.
For starters, there’s a retractable locking tonneau cover to keep your stuff safe and secure. Additionally, the tailgate is adjustable and there are tie-downs on the sides of the bed so you can carry surfboards, ladders, or any other gear without worry. Hyundai also included corner steps on the sides of the tailgate to make it easier to get in and out of the truck. Also, did I mention that it has a 1,906-pound payload capacity? Well, it does.
2. It’s quiet and comfortable
I’ve driven the 2022 Santa Cruz and I will say that it’s super quiet for a truck and comfortable to boot. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it on a cross-country road trip as its suspension offers a supple ride that feels more luxurious than truck-like. That’s the benefit of having a unibody chassis. Additionally, the 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, not to mention the Bose premium audio system, make this sports activity vehicle a pleasure to drive.
3. A potent turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive are available
The 2022 Santa Cruz is available with two different engine choices: a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, and a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine. My Limited-trim tester carried the latter engine, which provides 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough power to scoot the Santa Cruz from 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds, according to Car and Driver’s testing. The icing on the cake is that an all-wheel drivetrain is also available, but a front-wheel drivetrain is standard.
4. The Santa Cruz can tow up to 5,000 pounds
Do you have a few off-road toys that you need to tow around on the weekends? No worries! The 2022 Santa Cruz can tow up to 5,000 pounds when equipped with a turbocharged engine. And while it can’t tow as much as a Toyota Tacoma or Nissan Frontier, let’s face it, you probably don’t need that kind of towing power on a regular basis anyway.
5. There are a few handy storage options built-in
One of the best parts about the Hyundai Santa Cruz is that it has a lot of handy storage options. There is an in-bed trunk, much like the one in the Honda Ridgeline, to keep stuff hidden from plain view. There are also a couple of hidden storage compartments underneath the rear seats. Not to mention the various cubby holes and compartments that can be found around the cabin.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz has everything you need in a truck that’s not really a truck
Ultimately, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz has just about everything a non-avid truck user would need in a sport adventure vehicle. While it might not be cut out for rock crawling or hefty towing, it can still get the job done for the 90% of buyers that likely won’t need any serious capability. For the other 10%, there’s always the option to get a Tacoma or a Frontier. Otherwise, the Santa Cruz is a great option for anyone with an active lifestyle.