The Hyundai Santa Cruz is a class-exclusive compact truck
It's one of the boldest options in its segment.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz has been out for a few days now, and we've had some time to warm up to Hyundai's bid into the compact truck segment. It's bold looks have aged well; but looks only bring you so far. Is the Santa Cruz an actually viable option?
Setting the Stage
Well, what exactly is this truck trying to do? Is it a stylistic truck having an identity crisis while attempting to be a hauler? Or is it more of an SUV with a bed slapped on the back of it?
Really, it's none of that. It's a rather genius truck that captures the same audience that the Chevrolet Avalanche and the Honda Ridgeline does. It's not a truck that'll be used to haul tons of wood from construction site to warehouse. It's more of a lifestyle vehicle, or like Hyundai puts it, a Sport Adventure Vehicle.
What does a Sport Adventure Vehicle do for me?
Firstly, it should be said that this car certainly CAN do regular truck activities, like tow stuff and things and go off-roading. In-fact, the Santa Cruz has a maximum of 5,000 lbs. of towing capacity, which isn't terrible. And while 20-inch tires are standard, off-road enthusiasts will be happy to hear that you can get smaller 18-inch tires with bigger sidewalls.
However, that certainly isn't where the Santa Cruz is comfortable. You can rally a Bentley, but highway-tarmac certainly suits it better; if you blur the lines you can see how this applies to the Santa Cruz.
The Santa Cruz is very happy being a regular SUV, and that's about 70% of the Santa Cruz's character: being an SUV. It was specifically designed to be smaller than all of its rivals, and in every-single department it is. This makes it easy to maneuver, park, and overall enjoy.
The other 30% comes from the bed of the Santa Cruz. This is a sports activity vehicle, meaning it's meant for those who need a family hauler during the weekdays, and a tent-hauler on weekends.
Its engine options help prove this. There's a regular 2.5L 4-cylinder which makes over 190 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The second engine is a 2.5L direct-injected turbocharged engine making over 275 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Both of these engines are paired to an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
You have an AWD system that can be adjusted by changing the drive modes you chose, so you can be ready for the dirt trail to the camp trail.
In terms of technology, you've got a healthy amount of driver-assist systems on board, with honorable mentions being Smart Cruise Control (essentially adaptive cruise control) and Safe Exit Assist, which makes sure you don't open the door when a car might be passing by.
The screen in the Santa Cruz is an 8-inch touchscreen, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A wireless charger is also available in the Santa Cruz.
Other features include Blue Link, which allows you to use Remote Start with Climate Control; meaning you'll be able to turn on your Santa Cruz using your phone or Alexa and have the car already be heated to your exact liking- even the heated and ventilated seats can be adjusted via Blue Link.
Of course, when you buy the Santa Cruz truck, you also get one of America's best warranties: a 10-year 100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, a 60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, and a 7-year anti-perforation warranty.
Pricing isn't confirmed for the Santa Cruz. You can reserve the 2022 Santa Cruz on Hyundai's website right now.