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Searching for a new small truck? There’s no doubt that both the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick have been extremely popular since being introduced. In fact, the 2022 Maverick was so popular that Ford had to put a pause on orders. Both vehicles offer the utility of a truck while retaining a more car-like driving experience. But, the Maverick has the Santa Cruz beat in one key area.

Can the Maverick and Santa Cruz go off-road?

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a small truck that offers exciting features.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

While you should not plan to take either vehicle on a serious off-road trail, the Maverick and Santa Cruz do offer some capability. They both have 8.6-inches of ground clearance, but the Maverick has a slightly better approach angle of 21.6 degrees.

Also notable is the lack of an off-road package with the Santa Cruz. The Ford offers an FX4 package for better off-road performance. This lends the Maverick to a more truckish feel, especially when on mud or dirt. The FX4 package adds improved suspension, skid plates, and terrain drive modes. These are not available to the new Santa Cruz, at least yet.

Which is cheaper, the Ford Maverick or Hyundai Santa Cruz?

In terms of price, the Ford Maverick comes in cheaper than the Santa Cruz. Buyers can get certain configurations for right around $20,000. The Hyundai Santa Cruz starts at $24,140. When fully spec’d out, MotorTrend notes that the Santa Cruz comes close to the Honda Ridgeline in terms of pricing. And the Ridgeline is a more capable vehicle.

Because the Maverick is available in a variety of trim levels, buyers can likely find a trim that fits in their budget. Or, opting for a top trim model will bring the price over $35,000. 

Small trucks are back, and that’s a good thing

The Ford Maverick shows off the benefits of the FX4 Off Road package.
2022 Ford Maverick | Ford

Regardless of if you find yourself looking for a Maverick or Santa Cruz, small trucks are returning to the United States. In a world of expensive, larger-than-ever trucks, buyers can now get something that has the usability they need without having to splurge on the utility they don’t.

Better yet, both of these small trucks behave well on the road. This makes them more ideal for folks who don’t necessarily want the harshness that can come with a body-on-frame truck. 

For now, the Maverick beats out the Santa Cruz

With the 2022 Ford Maverick, owners get the benefits of a small truck.
2022 Ford Maverick | Ford

Both trucks are fun to drive and offer plenty of character. But for now, the Maverick offers more value for the money and it looks like a traditional pickup truck. Its interior will also feel familiar to those who have owned trucks before. 

But, if you do not need the capability of the Ford with its FX4 package, the Santa Cruz is not a bad truck. It features a tonneau cover, strong turbocharged engine, and unique styling. This makes the Santa Cruz more of a lifestyle vehicle than a truck. For some, that may be a good thing. Especially those who live in a city or who don’t plan to put their vehicle in rough conditions.


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