Tiny Truck Bed Showdown: Ford Maverick vs. Hyundai Santa Cruz

  • Hyundai Santa Cruz tows more
  • Ford Maverick offers FLEXBED system
  • $4,000 price difference is a factor

The 2022 model year brings us two trucks meant to revitalize the compact truck segment. The Hyundai Santa Cruz is a first for the Korean brand, while the Ford Maverick comes from a familiar truck brand. These two compact models make us wonder if they have what it takes to truly be trucks in the market where these vehicles are larger than ever. Let’s take a look.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz2022 Ford Maverick
Price Range$23,990 to $39,720$19,995 to $37,000
Engine Options2.5-liter four-cylinder/2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder2.5-liter Atkinson four-cylinder + 94-kW battery pack/2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Horsepower 191 horsepower/281 horsepower191 horsepower/250 horsepower
Torque181 lb.-ft./311 lb.-ft.155 lb.-ft./277 lb.-ft.
Transmission8-speed automatic/8-speed dual-clutch automaticElectronic CVT/8-speed automatic
MPG Rating21/27 AWD, 21/26 FWD | 19/27 AWD42/33 (FWD only) | 23/30 FWD, 22/29 AWD
Data Source Kelley Blue Book

How much can these trucks tow?

A green bike is packed into the 2022 Ford Maverick's flexbed.
The 2022 Ford Maverick | Ford

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The Ford Maverick offers two powertrains that tow either 2,000 pounds or 4,000 pounds, respectively. This sounds like plenty of towing capacity until you see what the Hyundai Santa Cruz brings to the table. The Santa Cruz gives you 3,500 pounds of towing for the base powertrain and 5,000 pounds for the turbocharged version.

The payload for these two trucks comes in at 1,564 pounds for the Ford Maverick, while the Hyundai Santa Cruz gives you 1,609 pounds of capacity.

How do the truck beds compare for the Maverick and Santa Cruz?

Ford Maverick vs Hyundai Santa Cruz on the road together
Ford Maverick vs Hyundai Santa Cruz | CarBuzz

You might not think a truck bed, especially on a tiny truck, is an important area to compare. This space is where you toss your gear, put your equipment, and carry the appliances when you need to. There isn’t anything special about a truck bed, or is there.

Size

There are several differences between these two truck beds. To start with, the Hyundai has a bed floor that is 48.4 inches long compared to the 54.4 inches of length for the Maverick. The width of the Santa Cruz s 53.9 inches, while the Ford comes in at one-half inch shorter in the width column.

Protection

You won’t need a bed liner when you drive the Santa Cruz. This truck sports a bed made of hard plastic to avoid rusting or paint damage. If you select the Maverick, you’ll have a typical painted metal bed that will need a liner if you want to keep this area protected from damage.

Specialty features in the bed of the Hyundai Santa Cruz

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickup truck in light blue parked in front of a steel barn
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai compact pickup truck has two cubbies built into the sides of the bed that open with rotating thumb screws. These are the perfect place to store some small items you might need in an emergency or things you don’t want bouncing around in the bed. The Santa Cruz also features an under-floor trunk area that’s great for larger items. After your outdoor adventures, you can put your wet gear in this area. It’s also a great place for ice and drinks that you want to take to the outdoor party.

 Hyundai took a page out of the GM book and added a couple of steps to the rear bumper to make it easy for you to reach in and grab items. The tailgate on the Santa Cruz uses a key fob release and lowers slowly.

What makes the Ford Maverick truck bed special?

The 2022 Ford Maverick is a small truck ready to go off-road.
2022 Ford Maverick | Ford

Ford offers the FLEXBED system, which is accessed using a QR code in the bed of the Maverick. Scanning this code gives owners access to various DIY racks and systems perfect for configuring the truck’s bed to meet their needs. You’ll also find a 12-volt access point to plug in lights, air compressors, or other small add-ons you need when out on a wilderness adventure.

Not only does the Ford Maverick have the plans for the racks you want to build, but it also offers access points for you to connect these systems. There are several pre-threaded holes for the mounting racks and tie-downs you’ll use every day. Different slots give you an easy way to create barriers and set up the cargo configuration you want to use with the cargo you’ll take along in this Ford truck.

Can these compact trucks carry the lumber?

One of the most common tests of capability for a pickup truck is whether or not it can carry 4×8-foot sheets of plywood. Both of these trucks can do this and do it the same way. The tailgate must be in the halfway position to allow the lumber to rest across the wheel wells to carry these plywood sheets. When desired, both trucks also have various power options to add a full 120-volt outlet.

Should you drive the Ford Maverick or Hyundai Santa Cruz?

Based solely on the bed of these trucks, you’ll want to consider what each offers you. The 2022 Ford Maverick has the FLEXBED system, is longer, and starts at nearly $4,000 less than the Hyundai. On the other hand, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz offers the in-bed trunk, rear bumper steps, and higher tow rating.

Next, check out the upcoming Chevrolet Montana, or watch the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz comparison in the video below:

This article was updated on 7/26/2022.

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