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Small trucks are experiencing quite the resurgence in the United States, and Hyundai is taking advantage of that with the 2022 Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz is a compact pickup with unique styling and serious utility. And those things help this vehicle to handle a variety of roles. But, there is one area where Hyundai’s pickup may fall short, and that is in terms of off-roading. Unlike the Ford Maverick, the Santa Cruz does not offer an off-road package and it should.

Can the Hyundai Santa Cruz be an off-road truck?

Although the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz offers things like all-wheel drive and a potent engine, it does not have legitimate off-road chops. Currently, the Santa Cruz does not have an off-road package to increase its capability on the road less traveled. And for some truck buyers, that may be a bit of a disappointment. 

The Santa Cruz’s closest competitor is the 2022 Ford Maverick, and the Maverick does boast an off-road package known as the FX4. And while it does not make the Maverick the most capable 4×4 truck, it does add things like skid plates and various off-road modes. Unfortunately, Hyundai has not done the same for the 2022 Santa Cruz.

Could Hyundai make an off-road Santa Cruz?

The Santa Cruz is certainly a small truck that would benefit from off-road ability. With the ability to generate up to 281 horsepower and come with all-wheel drive, it’s easy to see this truck handling some big adventures. If Hyundai delivered more rugged features, it would take this compact pickup to the next level. 

A 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz shows off some off-road prowess as a small truck.
Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

In the future, maybe the Santa Cruz could get a dedicated off-road trim, or Hyundai could potentially just offer a 4×4 package. Either one would likely be a welcome addition. Although something like that would increase the price of the Santa Cruz, but that’s the same case with the 2022 Ford Maverick. 

Is the 2022 Santa Cruz a good truck?

Even without an off-road package, the Santa Cruz is a decent enough pickup. According to Car and Driver, it shares its platform with the Hyundai Tucson, and that helps it to have a comfortable on-road driving experience. Better yet, the Santa Cruz comes with a long list of features, including modern safety tech. Plus, its interior feels fairly unique, which is sure to be appreciated. 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz shows off its potential as a small truck
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz has a starting cost of $24,440. That makes it more expensive than the Maverick, but the base Ford Maverick can feel fairly basic. Additionally, the Santa Cruz has a usable bed and Hyundai even offers an available tonneau cover to help keep your gear protected. 

If you are looking for a truck with some off-road capability, the Santa Cruz can probably handle the basics. This means if you enjoy things like camping, this vehicle is up to the task. But, it would be nice to see more capability added. Of course, this vehicle is in its first model year, so things are likely to change as Hyundai determines what buyers are searching for from their small truck.


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