The Best 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Trim for the Money

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is Hyundai’s new compact pickup truck. The Santa Cruz and the highly-anticipated Ford Maverick have opened up a world of possibilities for compact trucks. Which is the best 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz trim for the money?

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz trim levels

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The Hyundai Santa Cruz was the fastest-selling new truck of August in 2021. The small pickup truck has become very popular because of its unique design. The Hyundai Santa Cruz comes in four unique trim options. There’s the Santa Cruz SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and the Santa Cruz limited.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz ranges from $23,990 for the base model to $39,720 for the Limited. The base model uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 191 horsepower. It gets a combined 23 miles per gallon of fuel economy.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz SEL Premium comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 281 horsepower. It gets a combined 22 miles per gallon. The SEL Premium trim comes standard with safety features like blind-spot collision avoidance assistance as well as Hyundai’s Safe Exit Warning.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz SEL Premium trim comes standard with a large 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. It also includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The SEL Premium starts at $35,680.

Which is the best Hyundai Santa Cruz trim?

A blue 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is parked in nature.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

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The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz SEL Premium comes standard with more tech features and better materials than the SEL trim. It’s almost $8,000 more expensive, but the SEL Premium package transforms the Santa Cruz into a refined modern truck. The Limited trim really turns the Santa Cruz into a luxury truck by adding leather-trimmed seats, but it costs almost $40,000.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz SEL Premium is the best trim level for the money because it brings just enough value without touching $40,000. The Santa Cruz is a compact pickup truck and inherently won’t have as much utility as larger, more powerful trucks. The SEL Premium makes long-term Santa Cruz ownership enticing. Standard wireless device charging and a leather-trimmed steering wheel can go a long way over the years.

The SEL Premium trim is superior to the SE and SEL trims because of its stronger powertrain. The SEL Premium’s 281 horsepower may not be as exhilarating as the acceleration of larger trucks, but it beats 191 horsepower by a long shot.

Is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz a good truck?

Hyundai Motors America Director of Corporate Planning, reveals a silver Hyundai Santa Cruz concept to the media at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on January 12, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz | Bill Pugliano via Getty Images

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The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz may not have the power or utility to satisfy the average truck owner, but it comes with perks of its own. The Santa Cruz will have superior ride quality and handling to most trucks because of its size. It also will be able to navigate busy cities more easily and squeeze into tight parking spaces.

The Santa Cruz is a great truck, it’ll just take some getting used to for most truck enthusiasts. Is the new Hyundai Santa Cruz the truck of the future, or just part of a passing fad?

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