Hyundai Santa Cruz

Editors' Review

When my mom first saw the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz she said, "What is that fake truck?" I had to laugh; Hyundai's compact Santa Cruz isn't a truck in the traditional definition, since it's essentially an elongated Tucson SUV with a truck bed. But spend some time with one and you'll see there's a whole lot to like. I'm 100% a tried-and-true truck gal, but I love the Santa Cruz.

Hyundai offers the Santa Cruz with front-wheel drive and a naturally aspirated engine, but my loaded Limited model has all-wheel drive and a punchy 2.5-liter turbo I4. Since the Santa Cruz has a lot in common with the Tucson, it's no surprise the front end has the same ultracool lighting treatment, and the 4.5-foot bed around back is pretty adorable. The Santa Cruz is one of those cars that makes me give a look back and smile when I walk away from it in a parking lot.

We can have the "real truck" debate until the cows come home, but the Hyundai Santa Cruz has a lot of capability. I'd argue it's more than enough for 95% of truck buyers out there. My all-wheel-drive tester can tow up to 5,000 pounds with a braked trailer, though front-drive examples lower that rating to 3,000 pounds. Trailer sway control is standard, though it's worth noting that, if your trailer isn't braked, Hyundai recommends a max towing capacity of 1,650 pounds.

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The Good ~ Quirky and cute ~ Practical bed ~ Easy to maneuver

The Bad ~ Can get pricey ~ Idiosyncratic tech

The Bottom Line The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a great choice for those who want to stand out from the crowd while not sacrificing much in utility.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 9
  • Design 9
  • Media 9

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