All-Wheel Drive Gives You the Best 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Fuel Efficiency

With the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz release, more details regarding its specs and features have emerged. It’s a pickup truck with a quirky exterior, but it’s no heavy hauler. Its compact and unibody construction makes it a competitor to the Honda Ridgeline. In addition to its peculiar attitude and a functional yet unique take on the formula, today, we’ll look at the fuel efficiency of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Hyundai Santa Cruz performance specs

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz sport adventure vehicle parked near a lighthouse
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor America

There are two powertrain options offered with the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 190 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 275 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Both options get an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the turbo engine getting a dual-clutch version.

Drivers can also get the HTRAC all-wheel drive system with either engine. Additionally, front-wheel drive is standard. Given its lower and shorter stance than its in-class peers, the Santa Cruz is easy to navigate. 

The Santa Cruz is available with 18 or 20-inch wheels. With the smaller wheels, you get taller sidewalls, making them an excellent choice for off-roading, according to Car and Driver.

Fuel efficiency?

Is the Hyundai Santa Cruz fuel-efficient? When matched up against bigger midsize pickup trucks, it’s definitely more efficient. The base engine on an all-wheel drive model offers the best fuel efficiency with an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. Front-wheel-drive models get one mpg less on the highway, but that’s the only difference.

Usually, front-wheel drive models fare better on gas mileage than their all-wheel drive counterparts. However, the Santa Cruz weighs less and has less driveline drag, making it more fuel-efficient even with all-wheel drive. Additionally, the available upgraded powertrain with its turbo engine yields gas mileage on par with its peers.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz puts up better numbers than the popular Toyota Tacoma, which gets an EPA-rated 20/23/21 mpg city/highway/combined. That’s with a struggling 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and a rear-wheel-drive configuration. Santa Cruz also does better than the 2021 Honda Ridgeline with a V6 and all-wheel drive setup, as the Ridgeline gets EPA-rated 18/24/21 mpg figures.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a quality alternative to the Ridgeline, which also offers a unibody build with a crew cab and a short-bed body style. However, while a competitor to the Honda Ridgeline, the Santa Cruz has a more striking exterior look.

The Santa Cruz certainly has a character face with creased sheet metal. Its cabin also has some panache, and many will find it very visually appealing. However, they might not like the lack of physical buttons and knobs for the HVAC and infotainment systems. Additionally, the back seat is on the small side, which might be a deal-breaker for some.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz comes in four trim levels with varying features available. The Car and Driver team is leaning toward the SEL Premium model, which has a better engine and equipment than the lower SE and SEL trims. With this trim, drivers can access great features like a leather-wrapped shift-knob and steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, and an automatically dimming rearview mirror.

We’ve been waiting for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz since its concept was first unveiled at the Detroit auto show in 2015. The South Korean automaker has fully realized the Santa Cruz, and it’s now out. The new Santa Cruz is produced at the Hyundai facility in Montgomery, Alabama. Production commenced in June, and this exciting new compact truck went on sale this summer.

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