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

    Update: Since this first drive was originally published in August, 2021, we purchased and tested a Hyundai Santa Cruz.
    See the complete Hyundai Santa Cruz road test.

    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. See the complete road test.

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    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.

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    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

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