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Ford is one of the most popular automakers in the world, and the Detroit-based automaker has entered some new segments in recent years. The Maverick is a compact pickup truck that Ford introduced in the 2022 model year, and that’s around the same time that Hyundai introduced the Santa Cruz, which is also a compact pickup truck. While car critics have been torn about which compact truck is better, consumers have clearly made their choice between the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz.

A blue 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT and red Ford Maverick 2L-EcoBoost AWD Lariat compact pickup truck models
2022 Ford Maverick models in blue and red | The Ford Motor Company

The Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz have a lot in common

For many years, midsize trucks were the smallest new trucks that were available in America, but that changed recently. Many automakers have started to offer options in the compact pickup truck segment, and Ford did that with the Maverick in 2022. Hyundai had similar plans, and the South Korean automaker also introduced the Santa Cruz in the 2022 model year.

Because both trucks are compact trucks, they’ll have similar pros and cons. For example, a brand-new 2023 Maverick starts at about $23,000, while a Santa Cruz from the same model year will start at about $24,000.

Both automakers equipped their compact trucks with small engines and as a result, the trucks will have a modest towing capacity. The Ford tops out at 4,000 pounds of towing capacity, while the Hyundai can tow 5,000 pounds.

Additionally, both trucks have a unibody design rather than a traditional body-on-frame design. As a result of these similarities, the Maverick and the Santa Cruz are attracting a similar type of customer. However, in terms of sales numbers, it’s clear which truck is winning the race.

Shoppers are flocking to the Ford Maverick

According to GoodCarBadCar, so far in 2022, the Maverick is dominating the Santa Cruz in terms of sales. Ford has sold almost 68,500 units of the Maverick so far this year, Hyundai only moved just under 33,000 units of the Santa Cruz. This means that Ford has sold twice as many Mavericks as Hyundai has sold units of the Santa Cruz. 

Both cars debuted at around the same time, and their sales numbers were closer last year. By December 2021, Hyundai sold a total of 6,634 units of the Santa Cruz, while Ford sold a total of 7,228 units of the Maverick. But when 2022 came along, car buyers steadily gravitated toward Ford’s compact truck rather than the Hyundai. 

The Santa Cruz isn’t flopping, however, as its sales are increasing compared to the same time last year. For example, in November 2021, Hyundai sold 2,201 units of the truck, and in November 2022, it sold 3,180 units. The Maverick became far more popular though, as it sold 2,582 units in November 2021, and 7,457 units in November 2022. 

Why car critics are ultimately torn about which compact truck is better

Car critics are more generous to the Santa Cruz. Some rank it as a better truck than the Maverick, and many have the two trucks in a dead heat. The Santa Cruz costs a bit more than the Maverick does, but Hyundai does give owners a lot of value for that price. 

For example, both trucks have a standard engine that gets 191 hp, and both automakers offer a more powerful engine option. The Ford’s optional engine gets 250 hp, while the Hyundai’s gets 281 hp.

Both automakers also spent time making their trucks’ interiors nice and comfortable. Both trucks also have an 8-inch touchscreen display. That said, the Maverick’s truck bed is slightly longer, as it has a 4.5-foot bed, while the Santa Cruz has a 4-foot bed.

If you’re thinking of buying one make sure to test drive both so you know which best fits your needs!

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