First Drive: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Proves Ready for Pint-Sized Adventures

The small truck's turbo powertrain and polished ride impress

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Photo: John Powers/Consumer Reports

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is distinguished by dramatic styling compared with the blocky, rectilinear shapes used on most pickup trucks. But beneath the skin you’ll find its chief appeal: a blend of SUV refinement and open-bed versatility. Think of it as a Honda Ridgeline, but smaller.

Spun off from a platform shared with the redesigned Tucson, Hyundai’s first pickup truck is a unique offering at this size, at least for now. It will soon face competition from a more traditionally styled Ford Maverick, a car-based model to be positioned below the Ford Ranger.

The new Santa Cruz is produced at Hyundai’s factory in Montgomery, Ala., and it’s on sale now. Before we were able to purchase one for our test program, we rented one from Hyundai to gain early experience with this mechanical platypus. If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our initial expert assessment of the Santa Cruz is available to you below.

More on pickup trucks

We’ll purchase a Santa Cruz AWD for our test program soon, after which we’ll put it through more than 50 tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls. CR members will get access to the full road-test results as soon as they’re available.

If you haven’t signed up yet, click below and become a member to access this full article and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and home appliances.

Sign up for CR’s Cars email newsletter to be notified when we post our latest road-test results.

What we rented: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz 2.5T Limited
Powertrain: 281-horsepower, 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a dual-clutch 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $39,720
Destination fee: $1,185
Total cost: $40,905

Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.