2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
SUV Or Pickup Truck
by Ric Green

With Covid 19 in our tracks, It has been a good year for the manufacturers to roll out rides that excel in making time spent outdoors a treat. Hyundai came to the game with their first-ever Sport Adventure Vehicle, the 2022 Santa Cruz that is making its way into local showrooms.

Billed as bringing together the best parts of an SUV and a pickup truck, the 2022 Santa Cruz includes the Hyundai new-look grill that has become the recognizable image across the marquee’s entire line. It features inside comfort and convenience along with the open bed of pickups Developed to be the ultimate Sport-Adventure Vehicle, it is a class Hyundai’s early consumer research revealed. They learned that many active consumers tend to carry gear and equipment that is better suited for an open bed, yet still value the secure utility of a compact SUV. The 2022 Santa Cruz has a
unique, bold design and creates an entirely new model segment.

The open bed and cutting-edge connectivity are packaged in a highly maneuverable all-wheel-drive platform that is equally at home in urban and adventure-focused environments. The only drawback is the 2022 Santa Cruz features a large number of items as standard equipment on all models: 18-inch alloy wheels, LED taillamps and cargo area lighting, integrated rear bumper side steps, rear privacy glass, body-colored side mirrors, wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto®, molded composite bed (vs. steel bed), power-locking tailgate, remote open tailgate via FOB, rear 60:40 flip-up lower cushions (vs. one-piece),rear occupant alert, driver attention warning, lane-keeping/lane following assist, intelligent speed limit warning, and leading vehicle departure alert.

The pickup bed is a treasure chest of surprises. There’s a lockable underfloor storage space located close enough to the tailgate that it’s easy to retrieve items without straining yourself. Drain plugs make it a perfect place to keep drinks on ice. More storage can be found on the sides of the bed behind the wheel wells, along with an AC power outlet with enough current to run tools or a refrigerator.

The Santa Cruz rides on an extended version of the Hyundai Tucson crossover’s platform, with struts up front and a multilink suspension with self-leveling dampers outback. Its 118.3-inch wheelbase is nearly 10 inches longer than the Tucson.

The new Hyundai comes in different packages. They start with the Front Wheel Drive entry-level SE, followed by the SEL and the SEL Activity which all come with the 2.5 liter 4-cylender engine with the 8-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC®. Their MRSP prices start at $23,900 and run through $30,460.

All-Wheel-Drive versions are also available in the same three models featuring the same engine and transmission. Priced from $25,490 – $31,960, the two top-line models also feature paddle shifters and 10.25-inch touchscreen instrumentation, blindspot and surround, and blind-spot view monitor.

The two top-of-the-line models, SEL Premium and Limited, both feature the turbo version of the four-cylinder 2.5-liter powerplant and all the techy toys. Their MSRPs are $35,680 and $39,720, respectively.The folks at Hyundai have designed a real beauty contest winner with four doors, its All-Wheel Drive, and a pick-up bed. The 2022 model won the 2021 best pickup truck award from the Northwest Automotive Press Association in September.

The 2022 Santa Cruz is proudly being built in the United States at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) in Montgomery and went on sale in late July.