It’s been a long time coming, but the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickup has arrived. We first saw this truck in 2015 at the Detroit Auto Show and people have clamored for it ever since.
My review truck is the top-of-the-line Limited, but there are three trim levels below this. The Limited comes standard with all-wheel drive and the larger of two available engines.
Looking at the exterior, I like the appearance of this model. I just love the way the LED headlights and driving lights blend in with the grill. I like the 20-inch wheels, there is a small spoiler off the back of the cab, unique body lines down the sides, and the faux diamond plate covers just over the wheel wells. This theme carries all over the exterior.
There is a little over a 4-foot bed with a sliding tonneau cover, but under the floor of the bed is a massive lockable underneath storage area that takes up half the bed. It has plugs for draining if you want to ice anything down, a great feature for tailgating.
Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder putting out 281-horses and 311-pound feet of torque. It is hooked to a conventional 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters, no CVT with this larger engine.
Entering the cab, you find nice, slightly-bolstered leather seats that are very comfortable. Hit the start button and digital gauges come to life on each side with a driver info center in the middle that will give you a lot of useful info.
The center console holds the gear shifter, a couple of cup holders, some controls for the Auto Hold, all-wheel system, and park assist. You can change the Drive Modes from here, but of course I stay in Sport which changes everything.
In front of that is a power outlet and two USB ports inside a small cubby. Moving up toward the windshield is a 10.25-inch touchscreen that operates the navigation, the sound system, SiriusXM, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and vehicle settings.
This is also where you can turn on Quiet Mode. When activated, it will mute the rear speakers and limit the volume to a level of 25. Nice feature with children in the back. You can also turn on Sounds Of Nature to give you calming sounds for when the stress levels are getting high.
Speaking of the back, room is good for two adults and they’ll have air conditioning vents and two USBs. Under the fold up seats is a storage area for valuables if needed.
Standard Features and Options
The Limited version comes completely loaded with popular features such as remote start, keyless entry, heated and cooled front seats, a power moon roof, heated steering wheel, rear camera, park assist, and automatic temperature-controlled air conditioning. The only option on my tester is floor mats.
On the safety front, you get forward collision assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, driver attention warning, rear seat alert, and safe exit detector which will lock the doors if it is not safe to exit the vehicle.
One of my favorite features is the blind spot monitoring. Turn on either blinker and you get a wide angle camera view on the gauge cluster to see if changing lanes is safe. Another is that you can lower the tailgate from a button on the dash or from the key fob, which is really handy.
Ride and Drive
I admit to being surprised how well this truck rides and drives, how quiet it is inside and just how enjoyable overall it is. I admit to being a bit smitten.
Interior is great, acceleration was surprising, it is quiet inside, and rides way more like a car than a pickup, yet will tow 3,500 pounds, and like all Hyundais you get a 10-year/100,000 mile warranty and 3-years of free maintenance.
Fuel economy is rated at 19 city, 27 highway, and 22 overall. Santa Cruz starts at $23,990, but this fully loaded edition comes in at $41,100.
So here is the question of the day: I’ve driven full-sized pickups all my life, so would I drive this truck on a daily basis? You bet I would, it’s that good. I don’t buy anything at Home Depot this can’t handle.
Now bring on the Ford Maverick and let’s see how it stacks up!
- What I Liked Most: Pretty much everything!
- What I would change: Give me volume and tuning knobs instead of digital ones.
- MSRP: $41,100 loaded with transportation charges.
- Fuel Economy: 19 city/ 27 Highway/22 overall.
- Odometer reading when tested: 3,600 miles.
- Weight: 4,164 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Compact temporary under the bed.
- Length-Width-Height: 195.7” long/75” wide/66.7” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.7 gallons with the fuel filler on the driver’s side.
- Official Color: Hampton Gray.
- Towing Capacity: 3,500 pounds.
- 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz in a few words: A joy to drive, easy to maneuver, and an overall great in-town car with a bed on the back!
- Warranty: 5-year/6000-mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 10-year/100,000 mile power train warranty, complimentary maintenance for 3-years or 36,000 miles.
- Final Assembly Location: Montgomery, AL.
- Manufacturer's website: Hyundai