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Everyone has spent the last year pitting the Ford Maverick hybrid against the Hyundai Santa Cruz. It makes plenty of sense; they are both tiny pickup trucks, came out around the same time, and were meant to compete with each other. However, they really aren’t all that comparable. These are two very different pickup trucks that happen to have similar footprints but not much else outside of that. There is really no competition between the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz. 

Updated: 6/28

2023 Ford Maverick towing a trailer
2023 Ford Maverick | Ford

What are the differences between the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the Ford Maverick? 

While these two compact pickup trucks are often compared, they have some pretty significant differences. 

The powertrain is probably the most notable difference between the Maverick and the Santa Cruz. The Maverick comes standard with a hybrid 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder with a 1.1 kWh battery. The Hyundai Santa Cruz comes standard with a gas-only 2.5-liter inline-four. The result of these engine differences is a massive difference in fuel economy. 

The other major difference between the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz is price. The Ford Maverick is the cheapest new pickup truck on the market and one of the cheapest vehicles, period. Starting with an MSRP of $22,595, the Ford Maverick is the deal of the day if you can find one.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz starts at $25,700. While the price difference isn’t huge, it’s still there. Also, the Santa Cruz doesn’t get a hybrid powertrain. The money ends up compounding pretty seriously. The other major price difference is that the most expensive Ford Maverick trim starts at $30,575 MSRP, and the most expensive Santa Cruz is $40,570 MSRP. 

Other differences include a larger bed for the Maverick, more features for the Santa Cruz, a more upmarket interior for the Santa Cruz, and a much more traditional pickup truck layout for the Maverick.

Does the Maverick Hybrid get better gas mileage than the Santa Cruz? 

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz parked next to a rocky shore.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The Ford Maverick not only gets better gas mileage than the Hyundai Santa Cruz, thanks to its hybrid engine, but it also gets better gas mileage than any other non-electric pickup truck on the market at 42/33 mpg city/highway. This is a massive pro in the Maverick column. And, remember, this is all from the larger, cheaper pickup truck. 

Making matters worse for the Hyundai Santa Cruz, it gets 22/26 mpg city/highway. While this isn’t bad at all compared to other pickup trucks, it is when also considering both of these trucks make the same 191 horsepower from their base engine options. However, the Hyundai pickup truck does make more torque at 181 lb-ft to the Ford’s 155 lb-ft. 

Which pickup truck is better, the Ford Maverick or the Hyundai Santa Cruz? 

When you compare specs, there really is no competition. The Maverick is cheaper, more efficient, bigger, and makes the same amount of power ( in its base configuration). This is open and shut for many customers. Not to mention, MotorTrend scored the 2023 Ford Maverick at 9.2/10 and the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz at 8.0/10. 

There are two things that the Hyundai has going for it, though. First, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is a nicer pickup truck. If you want the amenities and a more stylish vehicle, the Santa Cruz is for you. Secondly, you can actually buy the Santa Cruz. Ford has struggled to keep up with demand for the Maverick, so buying one can is nearly impossible at the moment. 

It will be interesting to see if the Hyundai and Ford comparisons continue once Ford production can keep up.