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The Hyundai Santa Cruz was one of the most-anticipated new trucks of 2022. It is, famously, based on a unibody car chassis. So, is it as good as a car as it is a truck? Well, what makes a good car? Good cars are safe, affordable, fuel-efficient, reliable, and comfortable. When factoring all of that in, the Santa Cruz makes a good, if tall, car. It’s just a car with the world’s largest trunk if you want to look at it like that. Or could it be a great daily driver

Is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz safe?

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickup truck/sport adventure vehicle parked near a lighthouse
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor America

The IIHS says the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a Top Safety Pick. The only places where the Santa Cruz falls short are in headlights and its child seat LATCH mechanism. The headlights, according to IIHS, don’t illuminate curves as well as they could. The Santa Cruz gets an acceptable rating for its LATCH mechanism, but was dinged for being too low in the seat. Beyond that, it has good ratings for all of the crash-testing that IIHS does.

When it comes to safety, the Santa Cruz also has Hyundai Driver Assist, which has lane following assist, In higher-level trims it has all-wheel drive, navigation-based cruise control, driver attention warning, and much more.

Is Santa Cruz affordable?

Is the Santa Cruz truck good as a car?

The Santa Cruz can be affordable, depending on your budget and the trim level you pick. The Santa Fe starts at $27,640 on SEL, or base, trim with the 191-horsepower four-cylinder. If you step up to the SEL, for $36,130, you get the upgraded turbocharged four-cylinder and all-wheel drive. In Limited trim, you get all the goodies including the larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, surround view monitor, and blind-spot view monitor. The Limited trim has everything Hyundai can add for $40,170.

Is the Santa Cruz fuel efficient?

A silver 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz parked on asphalt in a desert with mountains in the distance
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai comes with two engine choices, a 191-horsepower 2.5-liter four cylinder or a 2.5-liter turbocharged version. The turbo makes 281 horsepower, but because of the forced induction it gets better gas mileage on the highway and doesn’t take a big hit in the city. With the base motor, the EPA says you’ll get 21 in the city, and 26 on the highway. With the turbo, you’d get a similar 19 city and 27 highway. But, it’s nowhere as efficient as the 2022 Ford Maverick, which is a similar truck, er, car.

One of the great ways that truck owners improve their gas mileage is by adding a tonneau cover to the bed, and the aftermarket is offering those for the Santa Cruz.

Is it reliable?

A gray Hyundai Santa Cruz drives down the road, it's brand new for 2022..
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Consumer Reports gives Santa Cruz a lower predicted reliability rating than other cars. But, that could be due to first-year teething pains. The Hyundai Tucson, which the Santa Cruz is based on, has a super high reliability rating.

Overall, Hyundai has won Quality and Dependability awards from J.D. Power. From J.D. Power the Tucson gets a Great rating, which is far above average.

Is the 2022 Santa Cruz comfortable?

The interior of the Santa Cruz.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz interior | Hyundai

The Santa Cruz seats five in pretty much the same space as the Tucson. All models come standard with a power driver’s seat with power lumbar adjustment. Higher grade models can get leather trim, heated/ventilated seats and steering wheels. Inside, the Santa Cruz has Hyundai’s newest Dynamic Voice Control system and a ton of tech.

But, again, much like the popular Tucson, the Santa Cruz has generous head and shoulder room, and more rear-seat room than many SUVs and sedans. When it comes to the overall driving experience, J.D. Power says it’s average, but ranks above average for its overall score.


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