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It’s an SUV. It’s a truck, no wait. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is actually both. Technically the new Hyundai Santa Cruz is a small pickup version of the Tucson, but we aren’t supposed to call it a truck. So, what do we call it, and who should buy it? 

What is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz? 

According to Car and Driver, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a sport adventure vehicle. It’s not a sport utility vehicle (SUV) or a truck. So, maybe more SAVs will follow in its footsteps later. But The Santa Cruz isn’t the first non-truck with a bed. 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz driving on a dirt road
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Over the years, we have seen the Subaru Baja, Chevrolet El Camino, and Ford Ranchero. The Hyundai Santa Cruz just blew the dust off the older models so that the compact truck things could make a comeback. 

The Santa Cruz has a 118.3-inch wheelbase, which is 9.8-inches longer than the Tucson’s and 14-inches longer than the Subaru Baja’s. It’s about 195.7-inches overall in length and shares the same platform and unibody structure as the Tucson. 

How capable is the Hyundai Santa Cruz? 

Can the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz do truck stuff? Actually, yes, it can. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder option with 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. The 2.5-liter turbocharged engine will provide over 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. 

With the 2.5-liter turbo engine and all-wheel drive, you should be able to tow up to 5,000 lbs, which is 1,500 lbs more than the rating for the naturally aspirated version. Sorry SUV fans, the Hyundai Tucson isn’t getting the turbo. Also, a hybrid version of the Santa Cruz hasn’t been announced yet. 

The truck bed can stretch out to about 48.2 to 52.1-inches depending on the configuration, which is about a foot shorter than the truck beds found in the Toyota Tacoma and other rivals. It has plenty of room for dirt bikes and more. 

According to Motor Trend, the tailgate can hold up to 500 lbs. Also, the max payload capacity is around 1,700 lbs. Hyundai doesn’t offer an integrated brake controller, so you’ll need an aftermarket option. 

Hyundai Santa Cruz features 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is pretty useful. It has a lockable in-bed trunk under the load floor that doubles as a cooler. Remove the plug at the bottom to hose it out or drain it after use. You’ll find enclosed cubbies on both sides of the bed, and one of them features a 115-Volt outlet for charging your goodies. 

LED lights are found in the truck bed to help you see, and the rear window can be manually rolled down if you need extra truck bed space. It’s a little weird that the window isn’t powered, but this is a good start. You can lift the rear cushions to find a cargo bin. Also, you can easily remove the storage bin to take full advantage of the cargo space in the rear. 

A gray 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz on a desert parking lot
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz side 3/4 | Hyundai

The Santa Cruz is available with 18-inch or 20-inch wheels, but not off-roading tires. An off-roading trim or package might be available soon. Also, you get 8.6-inches of ground clearance and a fully independent suspension in the rear. 

It comes with a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that can be upgraded to a 10.25-inch display. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and tons of USB ports come standard, and a 10.25-inch digital cluster display is optional. 

All-wheel drive is available on each trim level. The Hyundai Santa Cruz is expected to begin around $30,00 while the fully-loaded versions may reach $40,000. We will know more about the price when the Santa Cruz goes on sale this summer.


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