Well, it's an all-new pickup, Hyundai's first. But there's a lot more going on than just that. This is a compact truck that utilizes unibody construction rather than the traditional body-on-frame pickup underpinnings. What does that mean? Well, underneath, it shares a basic platform with the redesigned 2022 Hyundai Tucson compact crossover SUV. This car-like construction should result in a more comfortable ride than body-on-frame construction would, but it also results in lower overall capabilities when it comes to off-roading, towing and hauling.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
At launch, the Santa Cruz will be available with one of two available engines. The first is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 190 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. It's paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The second engine is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that puts out 275 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Both engines will be available with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but whichever one you choose, we feel like the power ratings are pretty competitive for a small or midsize truck.
While I wouldn't exactly call the Santa Cruz a luxury pickup truck, its cabin is a really nice place to be. The optional 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen and the matching 10.25-inch driver display screen are both high-resolution and easy to read. The layout of the interior is intuitive, with high-quality materials and lots of soft touchpoints for your elbows and knees to rest on. The seats are relatively comfortable and supportive from a static position, but we'll have to drive the Santa Cruz to get a real sense of comfort levels.
It's somewhat unfair to pit the Santa Cruz up against the Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and Ford Ranger since they're all significantly larger than the Hyundai. The Santa Cruz is in relatively new territory, so while its numbers may not seem large, we'll have to wait for a few truly compact competitors to arrive on the scene before we judge it objectively.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is an intriguing new truck that will offer the ride comfort of an SUV with the utility of a pickup. It might appeal to you if you don't have high towing and hauling needs but still want something that's more utility-oriented than a regular SUV. Sure, Hyundai is calling it an SAV instead of a truck, and that's cool, but we're gonna call a spade a spade. The new Santa Cruz comes out this summer and should start around $35,000. Check back in the coming months for additional information, driving impressions and our eventual full Edmunds Expert Rating evaluation.