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Pickup trucks continue to be insanely popular, thanks to their blend of function and rugged style. People who drive pickup trucks tend to love them, and it’s no surprise. Yet what may be a surprise is just how much owners of one understated truck love their ride. Here’s why the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz was named the best 2022 Midsize Pickup Truck in J.D. Power’s APEAL study, and why the Santa Cruz is worthy of the top spot.

A white 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz against a white background.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the best midsize pickup truck, according to J.D. Power

The J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study looks at how happy owners of new vehicles are after 90 days. “The study data provides insight on experiences with design, performance, safety, usability, comfort, perceived quality, and other factors.”

So what do people like about the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz? Well, for one thing, its price. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz price starts at $24,440 for the base model, the SE. The 2022 Santa Cruz is smaller than most midsize trucks, which makes it attractive to those torn between something compact and something a little bigger. It comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 181 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. That’s matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive, though you can upgrade to all-wheel drive.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz comes with an awful lot

It also comes with an 8-inch touchscreen that’s compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a six-speaker sound system. As far as safety features, the 2022 Santa Cruz comes with forward collision warning and lane-keep assist. These features make it feel almost like an SUV, which Edmunds says is one of the best parts of the Hyundai Santa Cruz.

If there’s one thing that the J.D. Power APEAL study does, it’s that it measures (at least as closely as reasonably possible) what it’s like to live with a vehicle day-to-day. J.D. Power assesses forty areas in ten key groups when determining the APEAL study rankings. These include: walking up to your vehicle, setting up and starting your vehicle, getting in and out of the vehicle, your vehicle’s interior, your vehicle’s powertrain, your vehicle’s driving feel, your vehicle keeping you safe, using the infotainment system, your vehicle’s driving comfort, and also fuel usage.

Santa Cruz owners really identify with their pickup trucks

The APEAL study tries to quantify how people feel in their vehicles, asking them to think about “37 attributes, ranging from the sense of comfort they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat to the exhilaration they get when they step on the accelerator.”

People definitely identify with the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, in part because of how easy it is to customize. Want to add heated mirrors and front seats, keyless entry, and a lockable cargo bed? It’s easy to do. You can also add on wireless charging, LED lights, and a digital instrument cluster.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the best midsize pickup truck for a reason – actually, for a lot of reasons. If you’re in the market for a new midsize truck, you might want to consider that the Hyundai Santa Cruz is beloved by its owners, and take a look at whether it may be the right pickup truck for you.


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