April 15, 2021
| On 8 months ago

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is Cool Compact Pickup with Tucson Bones

Hyundai calls it a Sport Adventure Vehicle; apparently “Cool Little Truck” wasn’t available?

Hyundai is getting into the truck market with today’s unveiling of the 2022 Santa Cruz. Targeting the smaller end of the market, this trucklet will be the smallest pickup you can buy when it goes on sale this summer.

How small are we talking here? The Santa Cruz is 195.7 inches (4,970 mm) long, roughly a foot shy of every mid-size truck out there, including the updated Nissan Frontier. Width and height, at 75.0 (1,905 mm) and 66.7  inches(1,694 mm), respectively, are also few inches less. Expect the upcoming Ford Maverick pickup to get closer to the Santa Cruz’ tidy dimensions.

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Styling-wise, this compact pickup borrows much from this year’s new Tucson crossover. The face is all but identical, with the same hidden headlights blending into the grille design. The lower bumper is unique however, with squarer foglamp enclosures too. Swinging around to the sides, the fenders aren’t as flared, but they get the requisite chunky cladding framing the available 20-inch alloy wheels.

Of course, things change from the rear doors back, where a kicked-up window line and raked C-pillar meet up with a short bed. Most of the Santa Cruz’ shorter length versus other pickups manifests here, with the bed averaging a little only 50 inches long. A sliding, lockable tonneau cover is included. Wide taillights with a horizontal T-shaped profile mark the Santa Cruz out from the rest of the pack. And if it doesn’t, the name’s right there, stamped into the tailgate.

Inside, the Santa Cruz pulls much from the Tucson as well. The dashboard design is the same, with a two-level design that flows down and into the center console. A frameless 10.25-inch touchscreen resides in the middle, while an available screen matching that size sits behind the steering wheel. The rear seats can flip up to reveal small cubbies.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Review: Sneak Attack

The Santa Cruz will come with standard all-wheel drive and a choice of two powerplants. The base engine will be Hyundai’s 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated motor, putting out at least 190 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic handles shifting duties. Those seeking more power will want to check out the 2.5-liter turbo, good for over 275 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. The turbo engine hooks up to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission—a unique feature amongst pickups. We like it a whole lot in the Sonata N Line, so it will be interesting to see how it works for truck duty. The nat-asp motor is rated to tow 3,500 lb (1,588 kg); the turbo ups that number to 5,000 lb (2,268 kg).

Hyundai will include automated emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, and driver attention warning as standard on all Santa Cruz models. The rest of the brand’s usual suite of advanced driver assistance features, like Blind-spot View Monitor, 360-degree camera, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, and Highway Drive Assist, will be optional.

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The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz will enter production at the company’s Montgomery, Alabama plant in June, and arrive in dealerships before the end of summer. Hyundai will also open up a reservation system on its website before the end of this month. Expect pricing details over the coming weeks.

Discuss this story at our Hyundai Santa Cruz Forum.

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