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When the third generation Ford Ranger was discontinued in 2011, there was a massive gap in the compact truck market. Many truck buyers did not want to upgrade to a midsize offering like the Chevy Colorado. These trucks did offer more cargo space, but for city dwellers and people who didn’t need a truck with a substantial towing capacity, there wasn’t any viable option other than to look for used Ford Rangers, Chevy S10s, and offerings from overseas like the Mitsubishi Mighty Max.

But for 2022, compact truck fans rejoiced when the market would be reintroduced to the American market with the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Not only did these two trucks do a fantastic job of captivating the underserved compact pickup truck market with features anyone could enjoy, they both became instant favorites of their respective brands and also became two of the most in-demand vehicles for the 2022 American model year. This is everything you need to know about these two compact truck competitors.

Ford Maverick

According to Edmunds, the Ford Maverick is one of the best value compact trucks you can get today. The Maverick name was initially used on the Ford Maverick compact car from 1970 to 1977. When it was announced that the Maverick name would be brought back and placed on a compact truck, many fans of the 1970s compact were unsure if this small truck was worthy of the Maverick name. Luckily, the Maverick compact truck has erased all doubts about its capabilities as a legendary Ford truck.

The Maverick is successful due to its capabilities and accessibility to a large audience. The truck itself is a front-wheel-drive platform, and it drives very similarly to a crossover SUV. Edmunds states that the Maverick is capable of achieving around 37 mpg combined on the hybrid drivetrain. However, to get many basic features and a truck capable of towing decent loads, you will have to upgrade to the more pricy XLT trim.

Hyundai Santa Cruz

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night, one of the best value compact trucks, in a park
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night | Hyundai

Tying the Ford Maverick in overall value for the compact truck market is Hyundai’s first attempt at an American pickup truck, the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Hyundai took inspiration from another U.S. city for the name of this vehicle, following the trend of the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Hyundai Tuscon, this time going to the west coast with the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Named after Santa Cruz, California, where surfing was introduced to mainland America, this truck has all of the capabilities necessary to explore the city it was named after and the world.

According to Edmunds, while it is a more stylish and comfortable alternative to the traditional utilitarian Ford Maverick, the Hyundai Santa Cruz offers more power for towing and payload capacity and a more luxurious interior. While the Hyundai Santa Cruz is more expensive than the Ford Maverick, Edmunds recommends the SEL trim for the best Santa Cruz experience.

Which compact truck is right for me?

While many cars in other classes run away with the competition, the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are both fantastic options for anyone looking for a compact truck. It is why Edmunds had them tied for the title of best compact truck value for 2022.

If you are looking for a compact truck that will be a great commuter vehicle, while offering a basic and utilitarian style, the Ford Maverick is the truck for you. For many states, the Maverick starts at right around $20,000 MSRP. With a standard hybrid powertrain, the (base model) Maverick’s 37 mpg combined fuel efficiency is impressive, even for city car standards.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is higher at $24,440 and will cost consumers more in fuel efficiency with a combined fuel economy rating of 23 mpg combined. But the Santa Cruz makes up for this with more power than the base Ford Maverick, and a much more refined interior space that makes this compact truck feel much more luxurious than many other trucks.

With these factors and how drastically different both of these competitors are, it is easy to see why these trucks tied for first place as the best value compact pickup truck for 2022.


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