Pickup, SUV or Something New?
Today Hyundai takes the wraps off its first foray into the world of pickup trucks — depending on how one defines a pickup truck. The brand-new 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz represents a new type of vehicle for the Korean automaker — one that the company refers to as a Sport Adventure Vehicle. Combining the benefits of a compact crossover with the utility of an open truck bed in a small, stylish package, the Santa Cruz aims to redefine the idea of a sport utility and pickup truck.
“Santa Cruz, with its bold styling, breaks open all new segment territory both for Hyundai and the industry as a whole. Open bed flexibility coupled with closed cabin security meets the changing everyday needs of its adventure-oriented buyers, while powerful and efficient engines and superb maneuverability ensure it is a pleasure to drive in urban or off road environments. Our customers will wonder just how they managed before owning one,” said Jose Munoz, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America.
Close to Original Concept
In 2015 Hyundai provided the first look at this unique take on a sport truck via the Santa Cruz Concept. According to Hyundai reps, with its hidden rear doors and retractable tonneau cover, the Santa Cruz Concept was created for the “Urban Adventurer.” The concept premiered to enthusiastic response, and not long after the debut Hyundai announced plans to eventually put the Santa Cruz into production.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz features a stylish front-end look similar to the all-new Tucson, with signature lighting hidden in the grille that only becomes visible when the vehicle is turned on. Large headlights integrated into the front bumper flank a bold grille, and the look gets underscored by a skidplate anchoring the lower fascia.
In silhouette, the lines of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz showcase the sporty nature of this truck that’s not really a truck. Forward-leaning C-pillars give Santa Cruz the appearance of forward motion. Bold fenders surround available 20-inch alloy wheels that also contribute to the new vehicle’s bold-stroke styling.
At the rear of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, horizontal T-shaped taillights extend into the tailgate giving the new vehicle a wide stance. And since this Sport Adventure Vehicle doesn’t look like anything else on the road, Hyundai designers made sure other drivers would be able to identify the new rig thanks to SANTA CRUZ emblazoned in large letters on the tailgate.
The Santa Cruz’s truck bed is not all that large — about four feet long — but, for many consumers, it is big enough for trips to the nursery or to haul muddy cargo that would otherwise mar the interior. Corner bumper steps make bed access easy, and the entire box can be enclosed with a lockable tonneau cover.
In addition to its trucklike cargo box, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz has additional lockable in-bed storage that functions by securing items as if in a trunk — hidden and secure.
Under the Hood
The new 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz will be available with a choice of two powertrains. A 2.5-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine will be standard, producing an estimated 190-plus horsepower and teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Buyers will also be able to choose a more powerful 2.5-liter turbocharged unit that bumps output to at least 275 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. The turbo engine will be paired with a quick-shifting 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
In addition to its cargo-carrying abilities, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is set up for towing duty. The normally aspirated engine is rated for 3,500-pound towing capacity, while the turbo AWD variant will be able to two up to 5,000 pounds — impressive for a vehicle this size.
Hyundai will offer the 2022 Santa Cruz with HTRAC all-wheel drive for either engine, adding to the small truck’s capabilities. The HTRAC AWD system features an electronic variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between front and rear axles. Torque distribution varies depending on the conditions and selected mode. Sport mode sends more torque to the rear wheels for exciting driving dynamics, while in slick conditions the system distributes power more evenly.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz comes with an 8-inch touchscreen display or an optional 10-inch display. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available, as is a Qi wireless phone charger. Santa Crus will also have a Hyundai Digital Key app that lets drivers use their Android smartphones to lock, unlock and start the vehicle (Apple compatibility to come). This also makes it possible to securely share the virtual keys with family or friends.
The rear seat of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz offers decent space for up to three passengers. Seat bottoms fold up and out of the way to reveal handy underseat storage.
All 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz variants come with forward collision avoidance with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as lane-keeping assist and driver attention warning. Additional driver-assistance features are available including a surround view monitor, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, blind-spot collision avoidance, safe exit assist and a blind-spot view monitor that displays the blind-spot camera view in the driver display.
Coming This Summer
The brand-new 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz will be manufactured in the U.S. at Hyundai’s production facilities in Montgomery, Alabama, which adds about 1,200 jobs to the plant. Sales are expected to begin this summer with pricing to be released closer to the on-sale date.