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We’ve been watching the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick battle it out for months. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz might be behind in sales, but it’s not giving up. It has a new award to rub in the Maverick’s face. 

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is 2022 Best Pickup Truck 

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz trims
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor America

It’s time to celebrate the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz for claiming a significant victory. It won 2022 Best Pickup Truck from the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) for the second year in a row. 

That means it officially defeated the 2022 Ford Maverick as the best truck twice. The Santa Cruz was able to impress judges at the NWAPA MudFest competition with unique features. 

Members of the NWAPA spent two days evaluating the 20 SUVs, pickup trucks, and crossover vehicles on specially-prepared courses at the Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington. 

The first day involves a full day of testing on paved courses to judge acceleration, road manners, braking, and handling. During the second day, vehicles are evaluated based on their off-road performance. 

Challenges are designed to test each vehicle’s traction, chassis articulation, clearance, and off-roading technology. 

Why did the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz win best truck? 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz won best truck for being a unique Sport Adventure Vehicle that isn’t like anything else offered in the United States. It’s well-rounded, comfortable, and capable with advanced tech. 

Ricky Lao, Director of Product Planning for Hyundai Motor North America, shared that the Hyundai Santa Cruz excels with efficient powertrain options and an agile all-wheel drive platform. 

It has a flexible open bed for gear and advanced technology that helped create an entirely new segment that meets a multitude of buyer needs. 

The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine cranks out 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine for 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. 

When properly equipped, the Santa Cruz can tow up to 5,000 lbs, and the Ford Maverick can tow up to 4,000 lbs. 

A white 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz indoors.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Getty Images

The 2022 Ford Maverick may attract more buyers because it has a $19,995 MSRP. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz starts at about $24,440. 

Plus, the Maverick has a hybrid powertrain that consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. It generates 191 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. With the hybrid setup, the Maverick gets an EPA-estimated 42 mpg in the city and up to 33 mpg on the highway. 

The Hyundai Santa Cruz gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and up to 27 mpg on the highway. But both of the Santa Cruz’s engine can be paired with AWD, while only the gasoline-powered Maverick engine can be equipped with AWD. 

While the Hyundai Santa Cruz might have a better ride and more innovative storage solutions, the Maverick’s low starting price and hybrid fuel economy are hard to ignore. 

While the Maverick is more popular, critics named the Hyundai Santa Cruz best truck. Maybe it deserves another chance.


2022 Ford Maverick Review, Pricing, and Specs