Part Truck, Part Crossover: The 2022 Santa Cruz is Hyundai's First Pickup for America
Despite growing in recent years to become one of the largest automakers in America, Hyundai has yet to tap into the highly competitive and highly lucrative pickup truck market, until now.
But rather than building a traditional full-size or mid-size pickup, Hyundai has instead decided to introduce the new 2022 Santa Cruz as a "Sport Adventure Vehicle" that blurs the distinction between crossover and small truck.
Designed for Flexibility
Hyundai says the Santa Cruz is designed to bring owners lots of flexibility for cargo and a smaller footprint that's better suited to urban environments than most traditional pickup trucks.
The open bed of the Santa Cruz will include a lockable tonneau cover, an in-bed storage compartment and extensions to help carry larger items for work or play.
That smaller size should also make the Santa Cruz pretty fun off the road as well, and it will feature an HTRAC all-wheel drive system with multiple modes to maximize performance.
Under the hood power comes from two different engines, a base 2.5L naturally aspirated four cylinder that makes around 190hp and a 2.5L turbocharged four cylinder that will make around 275hp with either an eight-speed automatic or eight-speed dual clutch transmission.
Compared to the Competition
In comparison to existing midsize trucks, the Santa Cruz will be about 6.5 inches shorter than a Toyota Tacoma for example, but when equipped with the 2.5 turbo engine and AWD Hyundai says it can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
The Santa Cruz will begin production right here in America at Hyundai's Alabama plant in June and will be arriving in dealerships shortly after that.
While there will also be those who think something like this isn't a "real truck," the Santa Cruz should fit the needs of many buyers who want a fun, practical little truckster that stands out from the sea of boring crossovers out there.
Of course the Santa Cruz won't be the only pickup for sale based on a crossover platform. Honda's larger Ridgeline has already proven the formula can work and Ford's upcoming Maverick pickup should serve up some head to head competition for the Santa Cruz in this growing segment.