2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Insider's Expert Tutorial Video by Thom Cannell
In the fall of 2020, Hyundai introduced its latest Tucson SUV, designed in California at the Hyundai Design Center and which has since been awarded many accolades. Based on that platform, Hyundai designed a small pickup truck – it calls it a Sport Adventure Vehicle – and for once, the label is correct. Although the bed is small, it’s sufficient for gardening supplies, antiquing, and camping. Available with all-wheel drive, Santa Cruz should not be mistaken for a true off roader but will easily traverse most navigable roads and two-tracks.
This small bed pickup inevitably invites comparison with Ford’s Maverick. Nothing could be further from the truth. While Santa Cruz’ is a four-to-five passenger SUV with a small, covered bed, Maverick is much more a truck—and Maverick feels like a truck in every way imaginable.
The Tucson-base Santa Cruz provides a myriad of safety and advanced driver safety systems (ADAS) when compared to the highly worthy Maverick and is therefore more of a life-style urban vehicle. We interviewed Hyundai engineers and executives for this story.
Santa Cruz’ small bed is highly engineered to be impact resistant and, while small, is large enough for many singles and families who need to haul “stuff”, not trades goods.
Based on Tucson, Santa Cruz borrows its comfortable and well-equipped interior. Particularly impressive is the embedded safety suite which delivers, based on option packages, a majority of every safety acronym available short of true hands-free capability.