The Small Pickup Truck Segment Is About to Get More Competitive

It feels like 2022 is the year of small trucks and pickups. Ford released its Maverick for the 2022 model year, and Hyundai did the same with the Santa Cruz. Both of these compact vehicles have found serious success among traditional truck owners and those coming from different segments. Apparently, more brands are planning to enter the small truck wars, and that is good news for those who want a pickup truck bed but don’t want a large vehicle. 

Who makes small trucks?

Currently, Ford and Hyundai are the two brands that are offering these types of pickups. The 2022 Ford Maverick comes standard with a hybrid engine and the styling of a traditional truck. It rides on the same platform as the Ford Bronco Sport.

If you need more power, the Maverick does have an optional turbocharged engine that can come equipped with all-wheel drive. And that is something that some buyers will likely appreciate.

The other vehicle that is currently being built is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz. This pickup boasts unique styling and can tow up to 5,000 pounds. It is worth noting that this truck is more expensive than the Maverick, but its interior feels less bare-bones. 

With the Santa Cruz, buyers can get the first truck offered by this Korean car company. Much like the 2022 Maverick, it can also come outfitted with AWD.

Will more auto manufacturers make compact pickups?

With the success that Ford and Hyundai have found through compact pickups, it’s no surprise that other brands are planning to enter this segment. Manufacturers like Toyota and Ram are apparently considering building trucks with smaller sizing. 

A 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz terrible resale value
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

In terms of Ram, there are alleged plans to revive the Dakota nameplate. But, this pickup will likely fall into the mid-size segment. According to Car and Driver, the Dakota could have the ability to tow up to 7,650 lbs, much like the current Jeep Gladiator.

Toyota has yet to confirm the return of a small truck. But it’s hard not to imagine the manufacturer entering the fray. The smallest Toyota truck right now is the Tacoma. And that pickup is pretty big, especially when compared to Tacomas of the past. 

The RAV4 platform would be ideal for building a Toyota truck. It is already successful in terms of sales, plus it offers a plug-in hybrid option. A truck with that kind of powertrain could give a Toyota truck a leg up on the competition. 

Should you buy a new truck?

As with any vehicle, compact trucks have their pros and cons, but they are capable and add some more utility than a vehicle without a bed. The Maverick and Santa Cruz are both unibody pickups, which means they have a more car-like ride than trucks that use body-on-frame construction. 

A yellow 2022 Ford Maverick drives on an area road.
2022 Ford Maverick | Ford

Additionally, these trucks have proven themselves to be affordable. The 2022 Ford Maverick starts at around $20,000 which is fairly cheap for what you get. The Santa Cruz is more expensive, but even it has a starting MSRP of under $25,000.

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