Trucks & SUVs

Don’t Plan to Take the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Off-Roading Just Yet

It’s no secret that Americans love their trucks, and Hyundai is trying to capitalize on that by introducing the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz is Hyundai’s first truck, though it’s not going to be like the other trucks in its class. That being said, as enticing as this upcoming truck may be, it’s probably not enticing enough to go off-roading with just yet.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a different type of truck

As MotorTrend wrote, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is going to be a relatively unique truck when it rolls out into dealerships later in the year. It’s essentially a mix between an SUV and a truck, but more importantly, it’s designed with the city and suburban drivers in mind. It’s physically a smaller truck than most, and that makes parking it far easier. However, it’s still a capable truck by all means.

It’s equipped with a standard 2.5-liter I-4 engine that gets 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, though a more powerful 281-hp engine is available. Depending on how it’s equipped, it can tow between 3,500 to 5,000 pounds, according to MotorTrend.

The standard engine also delivers some respectable specs in other areas. For example, MotorTrend estimates that it can go from 0 to 60 MPH in about 7.0 to 8.5 seconds and that it has a fuel economy of about 22 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on highways. 

Not great for off-roading just yet

A Hyundai Motor Co. Santa Cruz Concept vehicle sits under a sheet prior to its unveiling during the 2015 North American International Auto Show
The unveiling of the Hyundai Santa Cruz concept | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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With that being said, while Hyundai may have envisioned the Santa Cruz as being a truck for adventuring, it’s not actually that well-equipped for that job right now. To be fair, this unique truck has 8.6 inches of ground clearance, which is about average as far as how much ground clearance is needed for off-roading. 

However, as MotorTrend wrote, the standard tires on the Santa Cruz are all-season street tires. Hyundai may offer off-road packages and options that’ll equip the Santa Cruz with off-road tires, but for now, customers will need to do that themselves. 

On top of that, unlike every other truck on the market, the Hyundai Santa Cruz will come standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option, but that will obviously force customers to pay more money in order to properly equip their model for off-roading. Other off-road gear, such as off-road lights, are also not currently available. As such, customers may need to wait for Hyundai to put all of those off-road options into a single package.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is still a useful truck

While the Hyundai Santa Cruz currently lacks many options as far as off-roading goes, it’s still a capable and useful truck. That’s largely because Hyundai gave the model a lot of gadgets and gizmos that allow owners to use the Santa Cruz’s truck bed for a wide variety of activities. In fact, MotorTrend wrote that the Korean automaker mixed and matched features from its competitors’ truck beds in order to make this truck bed as good as it can be.

The truck bed is 4-feet long, and 6-feet long when the tailgate is down. It’s also 4-feet wide, and Hyundai even designed the truck bed to easily accommodate pieces of plywood that folks may want to carry with their Santa Cruz.

As far as those gadgets and gizmos go, MotorTrend wrote that the Santa Cruz’s truck bed has a 115-volt outlet, a drain plug, cubbies on the sides, as well as LED lights, among other things. That being said, MotorTrend wrote that this truck doesn’t come with “every trick in the book,” and some truck bed features aren’t included just yet.