Consumer Reports’ assessment of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz conveys mixed feelings about the vehicle. Despite ranking it reasonably high among competitors, the website doesn’t recommend the new truck model. However, even with these seemingly mixed feelings, the reviewer only had two significant quibbles about the new Santa Cruz.
The sport adventure vehicle’s small bed
Even if it’s described and marketed as a sport adventure vehicle, having a cargo bed at the back puts it firmly in pickup truck territory. There’s a general expectation that it can be used to haul cargo. The truck’s cargo bed is relatively small compared to alternatives like the 2022 Honda Ridgeline and Ford Maverick, therefore, limiting its usefulness.
For context, the Santa Cruz’s bed is only 4 ft long, making it the smallest in its class. As for the Ford Maverick, U.S. News notes that it features a 4 ft 6-inch bed while the Honda Ridgeline‘s bed is 5 ft 4 inches.
According to Consumer Reports, this effectively puts the 2022, Santa Cruz out of the running for carrying bulky items and even recreational toys like bicycles and motorbikes. Nevertheless, it’s not entirely useless, with a few bells and whistles included making it more attractive. For instance, there’s a lockable compartment under the bed for storing essential tools as long as they’re small enough.
Furthermore, the bed in question is designed for two-tier loading to make the most out of the available space. There’s even an option of a tonneau cover to keep cargo dry in wet weather. All these make it ideal for hauling things like garden, hiking, boating, and even tailgating supplies, among other things.
However, that still doesn’t change that it doesn’t provide as much functionality as you expect from a pickup truck.
The lack of rear visibility
Regarding road visibility, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz can be divided into three sections, the front, side, and rear visibility. The front visibility seems excellent due to a relatively low dashboard and slim A-Pillars. However, it all goes downhill from here.
The second-row windows are relatively small, and this is only made worse by the bulky beltline, further compromising side visibility. Nevertheless, this isn’t the last of it. There are also thick rear pillars and a small rear window resulting in sub-par rear visibility.
So what do Consumer Reports like about the Santa Cruz
Consumer Reports also pointed out the three things it liked most about the mini pickup truck. These include the acceleration, controls, and the fact that it handles and drives like a car. The vehicle reportedly achieved 0 to 60 mph acceleration in 6.6 seconds on the test track on the acceleration front.
By comparison, higher-rated compact pickup trucks like the 2022 Ford Ranger, Ford Maverick, and Honda Ridgeline all took over 7.0 seconds to achieve the same feat. However, the under 7.0-second acceleration is only for the SEL Premium trim or higher. Other Hyundai Santa Cruz trim levels come with a less powerful engine and slower acceleration, although it’s still decent for the price.
As for the handling, the car’s compact body seems to have been a huge asset. Consequently, the verdict was that the vehicle handles surprisingly well, even avoiding some common trouble spots for pickups while cornering. Additionally, the small body makes the truck easily maneuverable in tight spaces.
Lastly, Hyundai has a reputation for easy-to-use controls, and it isn’t any different for the Santa Cruz despite incorporating capacitive-touch buttons instead of physical buttons. There are some awkwardly-positioned controls on the dashboard, necessitating that drivers take their eyes off the road whenever they use them.