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It looks like small trucks are back in the United States, with models like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz. These two compact pickups give buyers the opportunity to get the utility of a truck bed without having to deal with the large size. Better yet, these vehicles also offer legitimate affordability. Which helps consumers who may be shopping on a budget. But which truck is actually winning the small truck wars?

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz or 2022 Ford Maverick?

In terms of which truck is winning, it appears that the 2022 Ford Maverick has the edge. By July of 2022, Ford managed to sell 45,473 units, whereas Hyundai sold just 21,004 pickups. That means the Maverick outsold the Santa Cruz nearly 2.5 to 1. 

That is not to say that the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a bad small truck. It represents the brand’s first pickup. And it is impressive that Hyundai has managed to move so many units. Meanwhile, the Blue Oval has decades of experience in this segment. Giving it the edge over would-be competitors. 

Is the Ford Maverick better than the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

Both of these compact pickups excel at different things. The new Maverick offers traditional truck styling and features better off-road capabiltiy. Especially with the optional Tremor package. In comparison, the Santa Cruz looks more modern and beats Ford’s small truck with its towing capacity. 

A gray 2023 Ford Maverick small pickup truck is driving off-road.
The 2023 Ford Maverick | Ford

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz does have a slightly higher price tag. But, it does come with more standard equipment. Which is something that some shoppers might appreciate. For 2023, Ford did make some features standard fare, including cruise control and others. With the 2022 models, that is something that you need to pay extra for. 

Is the 2022 Santa Cruz a good pickup?

Although the Santa Cruz has not sold as well as the Ford Maverick, that does not make a bad truck. It can come with all-wheel drive and offers up to 281 horsepower, which is more power than the Ford Maverick. Plus, you can tow up to 5,000 lbs with it. Which is pretty impressive for a vehicle of this size. 

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

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is based on the Hyundai Tucson. Which is a fairly popular SUV. And although the Santa Cruz might not be a hybrid truck like the 2022 Ford Maverick, it is pretty efficient. Earning up to 27 mpg on the highway, making it competitive with your typical sedan.

Should you buy a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz or new Ford Maverick?

If you want a new small truck, there are finally options available. Both the Santa Cruz and Maverick appear to be solid, especially if you just need the capability of a compact pickup. The biggest downside of the Maverick appears to be its availability. The 2023 model might already be sold out. The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is on its way, according to Car and Driver, and buying one might be slightly easier. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great a truck is if you can’t buy one.


2023 Ford Maverick Gets Beat by 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz