The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a Pickup for Drivers Who Wanted a Car

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the latest and greatest offering from Hyundai, and it’s pretty far from what most buyers would have expected from the brand. When it comes to buying a new pickup truck, buyers definitely have brand preferences, typically leaning toward the pickup truck titans like Ford with the top-selling Ford F-150, Chevrolet, and Dodge. But, with an obviously increasing market in the truck segment, it isn’t all that surprising to see Hyundai enter their hat into the ring. Pickup trucks and SUVs have steadily increased in popularity, so much so that some manufacturers have begun to widdle down their selection of sedan and coupe options in their place. But, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz might be the perfect bridge for owners who want the practicality of a truck but love the experience of driving a car.

Hyundai reveals the Santa Cruz | Bill Pugliano, Getty Images

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

The new Hyundai Santa Cruz
The new Hyundai Santa Cruz | Todd Korol, Toronto Star, Getty Images

The 2022 Hyundai Cruz looks like a vehicle of the future, with modern body lines, headlights, and wheels, but it also looks a bit odd. It isn’t as boxy as other, more popular pickup truck options, offering a smooth mixture of soft, rounded body lines and accentuated angles all while still maintaining the classic styling of Hyundai that makes it easy to identify, such as the grille shape and characteristics. In some ways, the Cruz looks very much like a large car or small SUV that just so happens to also have a truck bed for extra storage and practicality.

The pickup truck for car lovers

Driving a pickup truck does give your vehicle an extra edge of practicality, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its faults. Although it is a pickup truck by nature, that isn’t really how Hyundai classifies it, calling the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz a “sport adventure vehicle” and rather than being based on a truck, it is based on a more popular crossover from the brand, the Hyundai Tucson. The base model itself offers a more car-like driving experience, with an underpowered four-cylinder engine paired with front-wheel drive, but there are options for a slightly less underwhelming turbocharged four-cylinder engine and optional all-wheel drive. That sets it apart from most body-on-frame pickup trucks that are typically rear-wheel drive to start.

“This isn’t your typical pickup truck, but Hyundai seems to think there’s a market for it…people who want a truck but don’t want a truck

Doug Demuro

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz was built for a niche market

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz isn’t built like a truck, with the exception of the bed, and this was an intentional move by Hyundai to make a vehicle that bridges between the world of cars and trucks for owners who need or want a little bit of both. It does well to compete against the new Ford Maverick, and undersized pickup truck that also appeals to that rather niche market of buyers. Both vehicles offer the smaller size of owning a car while providing the additional cargo space of a truck bed, making it a happy medium for a potentially rising market of car buyers.

With the appearances of a pickup truck, the stature of a crossover, and the driving experience of a car, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is truly designed for market of buyers who can’t decide between owning a normal passenger car and a pickup truck.

RELATED: The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Lets You Skip the Wait

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