Crossover + pickup = crickup? The Honda Ridgeline brought the SUV-pickup mashup back with its return after a short hiatus in 2017. Now, Hyundai is joining in on the fun with its all-new Santa Cruz compact pickup.

This mashup of the Hyundai Tucson and a pickup truck does plenty of great things, but like all mashups, there are some hang-ups that buyers may not appreciate. Find out below if the Santa Cruz does enough good to appeal to buyers.

It looks tough, but it’s no off-road rig. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz wears a unique, bulldog-like look with its stepped-lighting grille, upright nose, sharp body lines, wide stance, and bulging taillights. Like any good dad bod, its flabbiness is in the center, where the crossover-like four-door cabin takes hold. But it’s otherwise more relatively athletic looking.

Despite this athletic look, the Santa Cruz performs like the crossover it’s based upon. This means minimal off-road capabilities.

Shoppers seeking a truck with legitimate off-road chops will want to look at the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, or Chevy Colorado. Each of these models have true off-road trim levels that’ll satisfy any weekend warrior.

Slick in-cab storage with lots of room, but the bed’s lacking. The interior is chock-full with slick storage cubbies, including a storage well under the 60/40 split rear seat. The rear seats are also surprisingly comfortable with up to a 21-degree slant and 36.5 inches of legroom. Sure, this isn’t crossover-style legroom, but it beats the Ford Maverick.


The cabin is also well-equipped with a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In an odd packaging issue, moving into the larger 10.3-inch touchscreen means you must sacrifice wireless smartphone integration.

The bed is more Subaru Baja than pickup truck, as it’s a few inches shorter than the Ford Maverick. However, the Santa Cruz is still a useful pickup, as it can haul a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood between the wheel wells with the tailgate lowered. Also, according to Hyundai, you can cram four 29-inch mountain bikes in there.

Potent powertrain with spotty fuel economy. Under the Santa Cruz’s hood lies a standard 191-horsepower 2.5-liter engine, but the real talk of the town is its 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This engine pumps 281 hp and 311 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for an impressive 5,000-pound towing capacity.

The Santa Cruz has hungry powertrains, though. The base engine gets 21 miles per gallon city, 27 highway, and 23 combined. The turbo engine drops this to 19 mpg city. 27 highway, and 22 combined.

The Ford Maverick is the fuel-economy king with its standard hybrid powertrain that’s projected to deliver 40 mpg city and 37 combined.

Final thoughts. Need a truck bed but not ready to commit to a truck? The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz delivers just that with its crossover-like cabin and truck-style bed. However, it’s neither a crossover nor a truck, putting it in a tight niche that only specific buyers will appreciate.

Buyers who want a “real” small pickup with higher towing capacities and off-road capabilities will need to look at the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, or Chevy Colorado.

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