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There are a few areas where the Hyundai Santa Cruz impresses critics more than the Ford Maverick. For example, it has a nicer interior and a smoother ride quality. It’s also a bit sportier. But even this new win doesn’t help the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz defeat the 2023 Ford Maverick. 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is more comfortable than the 2023 Ford Maverick 

There are tons of features that help the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz seem superior to the 2023 Ford Maverick on paper. But the Ford Maverick can’t be caught. It has 42,499 sales from the first and second quarter of the year, and the Santa Cruz has 20,050 sales

So, the Maverick has double the success, but the Santa Cruz is viewed as being more satisfying, more comfortable, having a better driving performance, having better tech, and containing more value. 

Now according to J.D.Power, it has more comfortable seats. J.D.Power surveyed 93,380 new vehicle owners and lessees after 90 days of ownership to measure the level of satisfaction and number of problems per 100 vehicles after 90 days of ownership. 

With the seat quality satisfaction study, a lower score is better. The Hyundai Santa Cruz got a 6.7 and landed in second place. The Ram 1500 has the most comfortable seats with a score of 5.4, and the GMC Sierra HD is in third with a score of 7.5. 

The Ford Maverick didn’t crack the top three. It has firmly padded and supportive seats but feels cramped. Plastic panels encroach on knee room and can be painful to hit. 

Where does the Maverick outperform the Santa Cruz? 

The 2023 Ford Maverick could have better sales than the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz because it’s more affordable. The entry-level model starts at $22,595, while the Santa Cruz begins at $25,700. 

But things have changed for 2024. The 2024 Maverick starts at $23,400, and the 2024 Santa Cruz rings in at $26,650. While the Maverick is still more affordable, there has been some major trim shuffling. 

For example, the hybrid powertrain is no longer the standard engine option. Maverick fans will now have to pay $1,500 to upgrade. This increases the Maverick Hybrid starting price to $24,900. 

The Maverick Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 40 mpg in the city and up to 33 mpg on the highway. The Santa Cruz gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and up to 26 mpg on the highway. That’s a massive difference. 

Also, the Maverick Hybrid can’t be paired with AWD. While the gas-powered model has a slightly bigger bed, the Maverick can only tow up to 4,000 lbs, and the Santa Cruz can tow up to 5,000 lbs. Plus, the Santa Cruz has more storage solutions, such as a built-in trunk in the bed. 

2024 Santa Cruz: What’s new? 

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT off-roading in the mountains
2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT | Hyundai

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz is primarily a carryover model, so it will continue to provide superior comfort to the more affordable 2024 Ford Maverick. But the SLT trim was replaced by the new rugged XRT trim. 

The Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT has beefier all-season tires, a dark chrome grille, black door handles/mirror caps, dark lower facias, and matte black decals. Plus, it has wider fender flairs, bed rails, and side steps. 

Black H-Tex faux leather covers the seats, and the shift knob is wrapped in leather. Dual automatic climate control, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, LED headlights, and automatic defogging complete the package. 

Stay tuned because there’s still time for the Hyundai Santa Cruz to make a comeback against the Ford Maverick this year, especially as it struggles to fulfill 2023 orders.