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The small truck wars are in full swing, and one contender comes from an unlikely place. Hyundai is not a brand associated with building pickup trucks, but its Santa Cruz shirks the company’s commitment to creating cars and SUVs. Unfortunately for Hyundai, the Blue Oval has also taken aim at the segment with the Ford Maverick. And the Maverick outsold the Santa Cruz in 2022 by almost double.

Which is better: the Santa Cruz or the Maverick?

The Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick are both competent small trucks. Consumers have obviously taken note because they have been selling at a pretty rapid pace. Although these are two compact pickups, they seem to be aimed at different buyers. 

The Santa Cruz can be seen as more of a lifestyle vehicle. Essentially a crossover with a pickup truck bed. Although, it is worth noting that Hyundai’s truck can tow more than the Ford Maverick. But when you look at the Santa Cruz, it just doesn’t look like a traditional truck. 

On the other hand, the Ford Maverick builds on what the Blue Oval has learned with decades of producing popular trucks. It now offers a Tremor off-road package, and it has the looks of a pickup, even if it is smaller than something like the Ford Ranger. 

The Ford Maverick has outsold the Hyundai Santa Cruz

Now that 2022 has come to an end, we can take a look at the total sales of these two trucks. According to Cox Automotive, Ford was able to move nearly 75,000 Maverick pickups throughout the course of 2022. Meanwhile, Hyundai sold roughly 36,000 Santa Cruz trucks. 

2023 Night Edition Hyundai Santa Cruz, the Maverick beat it in sales for 2022.
2023 Santa Cruz Night Edition | Santa Cruz

That means that the Maverick was able to outsell the Santa Cruz by nearly double. Now, it’s worth noting that sales figures do not necessarily prove what the better vehicle is. With a slight price increase over Ford’s truck, Hyundai’s compact pickup seems like it has a nicer interior. 

With a base price starting around $20k, Ford had to make cuts somewhere. And the Maverick feels kind of like an economy car. Although, it is pretty quirky, which is something that Doug DeMuro was sure to mention in his review of this truck. 

Want a Maverick? Good luck buying one

If you’ve been looking at buying or ordering a Ford Maverick, you’ve likely noticed that these small trucks are not easy to buy. Almost as soon as the Blue Oval opened up orders for the 2023 Maverick, it was like it had to close them almost immediately. 

This lack of supply has been a major pain point for Ford. And it does not look like supply issues will be completely figured out any time soon. 

2022 Ford Maverick can go off-road as a small truck.
2022 Ford Maverick | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

A quick look at Hyundai dealerships near me seems to show plenty of Santa Cruz models available. And that does make sense, considering the fact that Hyundai’s small truck has not been as popular as its direct competitor from Ford. 

At the end of the day, it is nice to see brands actually offering small trucks again. And seeing Hyundai take some design risks just brings more diversity to this segment. For now, it looks like the Maverick will continue to be the winner in terms of sales.