America Needs More Compact Pickup Trucks Like the Hyundai Santa Cruz

When it comes to pickup trucks, Americans really only have two options as far as segments go. They can go big with a full-size pickup like the Ford F-150 or go a bit smaller with a midsize model like the Toyota Tacoma. However, Hyundai now has an even smaller option with the Santa Cruz, and the American automotive market could use more compact pickup trucks like the model that the Koren automaker has dubbed a “sport adventure vehicle.”

The success of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck driving down a country highway as the sun rises
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor Company

Hyundai is pretty new to the American truck industry, but Hyundai made a smart choice right out of the gate. Rather than competing with trucks that are already pretty popular, Hyundai decided to make a truck in a segment with little competition. The Santa Cruz is a compact pickup, and that small size has allowed the Santa Cruz to excel in certain areas compared to bigger trucks.

Not only that, but Hyundai has made sure that the Santa Cruz is, first and foremost, a Hyundai. It’s a very comfortable truck, and it’s also packed with practical features. As such, it’s no surprise that, like many other Hyundai models, the Santa Cruz has received great reviews from car critics. Obviously, this Hyundai model falls behind the bigger trucks when it comes to payload capacity or towing capacity. However, that’s not why people like the Santa Cruz.

At the end of the day, different car segments will have different advantages and disadvantages. Santa Cruz owners likely understand the disadvantages that come with buying a compact pickup truck. However, the main draw of compact pickup trucks comes from everything related to their size.

Why we need more compact pickups like the Santa Cruz

As Car and Driver wrote, the compact trucks of the past no longer really exist in America, outside of the Santa Cruz. The midsize trucks of today are about the same size and have the same capabilities as the full-size trucks of the past. As such, many people who might need a truck, but don’t need all that size and power, have nothing to buy right now other than this new Hyundai model. 

After all, that extra size and extra power come at a price, literally. According to Car and Driver, the Santa Cruz, being a true compact truck, starts at about $25,000, far more affordable than the F-150, which can cost up to $75,000. Furthermore, that big size has a lot of disadvantages. For example, full-size trucks will be hard to park, and they’re also going to be pretty inefficient in terms of fuel economy compared to compact trucks.

There are also convenience and safety issues. Big trucks are simply going to be a hassle to get into and out of. On top of that, according to Consumer Reports, big trucks can actually create a blind spot in the front that can be dangerous for pedestrians or folks driving in smaller cars. Compact trucks solve both of these issues.

Other upcoming compact pickup trucks

While America used to make many compact trucks, automakers in other countries continue to do so. As such, there are plenty of foreign compact trucks, like the Ram 700, that’ll probably never get sold in America. However, things are changing. Ford unveiled the 2022 Ford Maverick, a compact pickup truck that’ll compete with the Santa Cruz. Furthermore, the Chevy Montana has recently been announced as a competitor to the Maverick.

If the Maverick, Montana, and Santa Cruz prove successful, it won’t be long before other automakers start introducing newer and cooler compact pickup trucks for American customers.

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