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Buying a compact or small truck is excellent for many reasons. However, some buyers need something more capable of driving in the snow or off-roading in general. One expert put together a list of the best types of each vehicle for driving in snow. The answer is surprising to most buyers in the small truck segment because it’s not a Toyota, Ford, or Chevy model. The Hyundai Santa Cruz is the best small truck for driving in snow.

Best small truck for driving in snow

Hyundai's small truck, the 2023 Santa Cruz is cruising on the road.
Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

iSeeCars says the best vehicles for driving in snow are ones that overcome the challenges of freezing weather. Icy roads, reduced visibility, and low tire pressure are just a few obstacles snow drivers face. The publication also says the best models for driving in snow have all the same attributes. For example, all- or four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, driver assist technology, ground clearance, heated mirrors, remote start, traction/stability control, and winter/snow tires are just a few of the best features a small truck, SUV, or car can have.

The one to best fit the bill in the compact or small truck segment is the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Out of it and the entry-level Ford Maverick, the Santa Cruz takes the cake. Although iSC didn’t rank it yet, the new Hyundai pickup has a lot going for it. Most notably, its low starting price of just $23,990. It’s more costly than the Maverick but excels in other areas. Alternatively, the most expensive trim in the Santa Cruz lineup is $39,720, which is quite pricey for a truck of its size.

Why is the Hyundai Santa Cruz the best for driving in snow?

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is great for driving in snow.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

A few things make the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz the best small truck for driving in snow. According to iSeeCars, the unibody chassis shared with the Hyundai Tucson crossover makes it smaller and easier to drive. Although it comes with front-wheel drive on two trim levels, all-wheel drive is standard on higher trims.

Additionally, lower trims can get AWD optionally for another $1,500. Moreover, the AWD system is the HTRAC system from Hyundai, using a multi-mode system to provide torque control between the front and rear axles. As a result, the small pickup is more efficient on icy or snowy surfaces.

For safety, the Santa Cruz has many standard features to provide owners with peace of mind. Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keep assist, to name a few.

How much is a Hyundai Santa Cruz?

A blue 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz small pickup truck is parked outdoors.
The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

According to Car and Driver, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz SE base model starts at $25,735 with fees included. Following it is the SEL trim for $28,935, the SEL Premium trim for $37,425, and the range-topping Limited, which starts at $41,465. Although lower trims are affordable, they’re much more costly than the most basic Ford Maverick trims, its closest competitor. The upper Santa Cruz trims are also expensive but provide excellent features.

Hyundai Santa Cruz: Best small truck for driving in snow

In conclusion, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is the best small truck for driving in snow. The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are the best options if you’re searching for an affordable, easily maneuverable pickup with excellent standard features. However, the Santa Cruz is a better option for driving in snow. It beats opponents in many ways with standard and optional all-wheel drive, an excellent AWD traction system, and various safety features. It’s no off-road Toyota Tacoma, but it can get you through the winter weather for the money.


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