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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Is A Step Smaller Than A Midsize Truck

      But don't call it a truck

    It is surprising to think it has been over six years since Hyundai first showed the Santa Cruz pickup concept at the Detroit Auto Show. But today, Hyundai has unveiled the production version. The automaker isn't calling this a truck, instead using the term "Sport Adventure Vehicle". To us, it's a truck.

    We need to start with a bit of a reality check. The Santa Cruz is not a direct competitor to the likes of Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, or Toyota Tacoma in terms of measurements. Compared to those models, the Santa Cruz is around 10 to 17 inches shorter in length. Overall height is around 3 to 4 inches shorter. The bed measures 4.3 feet, which is about foot shorter than the Ranger. There is also an in-bed trunk like the Ridgeline.

    The model is based on the recently redesigned Tucson crossover, which explains why it shares the front end styling - complete with headlights in the massive grille. That also means it shares the same engines as the Tucson. Here's the lineup,

    • 2.5L four-cylinder:  estimated 190+ horsepower and 180+ lb.-ft. of torque
    • Turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder: estimated 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque

    The N/A 2.5 comes with an eight-speed automatic, while the turbo makes do with an eight-speed dual-clutch. Front-wheel drive is standard, while HTRAC all-wheel drive is optional.

    The interior looks very modern and comes with an eight-inch touchscreen in the center stack. Optional features include a 10-inch touchscreen and TFT instrument display. 

    Hyundai is keeping mum on pricing until the Santa Cruz launches sometime this summer.

    BTW: If you're wondering why the Santa Cruz took so long to reach production, I recommend this piece from Autoblog which delves into this.

    Source: Hyundai

    Hyundai Unveils Segment-Shattering Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle

    • Highly-anticipated Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle Shatters Both SUV and Truck Segments, Creating an Entirely New Vehicle Category
    • Multi-utility, Secure Open Bed Provides Diverse Gear-Carrying Flexibility
    • Powerful and Efficient 2.5L Turbo Powertrain with HTRAC® AWD Capability Available
    • Cutting-edge Connectivity, Convenience and Active Safety Features
    • Compact Footprint Provides Superior Maneuverability in an Open-bed Configuration
    • Proudly Built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) in Montgomery

    FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Apr. 15, 2021 – Hyundai today unveiled its highly anticipated Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle. The 2022 Santa Cruz breaks new ground within the SUV, Truck and Crossover segments by offering a true Sport Adventure Vehicle unlike anything else in the U.S. market. Santa Cruz boasts bold yet sophisticated design, powerful and efficient powertrain options, a flexible open bed for gear, cutting-edge connectivity and a highly maneuverable all-wheel drive platform that is equally at home in urban and adventure-focused environments. The Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle begins production in Montgomery, Alabama in June and will be available for sale in summer. The addition of Santa Cruz to HMMA production will add an estimated 1,200 jobs to the U.S. economy. Hyundai is also creating an early reservation system for the U.S.-market Santa Cruz in late April at https://www.hyundaiusa.com/.

    “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, Hyundai Motor North America.

    Why Santa Cruz?
    Santa Cruz was developed to be the ultimate Sport Adventure Vehicle, a moniker confirmed in Hyundai’s early consumer research. The research found consumers, often living in urban environments, whose lifestyles include the need to escape to weekend adventures of all kinds. Many of these customers carry various gear and equipment that is better suited to an open bed rather than a typical SUV bodystyle. These buyers want versatile transportation that is equally flexible for urban, adventure, occupational or even home improvement gear. Santa Cruz features a secure, open bed area which includes a lockable tonneau cover, hidden bed storage and versatile bed extension accessories. At the same time, these customers still value the secure utility of a compact SUV, with its comfort, passenger space, fuel efficiency and parking ease. Santa Cruz, with its unique, bold design, created an entirely new segment that meets these specific buyer needs like no vehicle before it.

    Everything about Santa Cruz reflects a duality of purpose in its design execution. This all-new category-bending vehicle holds a variety of imagery in balanced juxtaposition:

    • Urban life connectivity with escape to outdoor adventure
    • Work and play flexibility
    • Tough yet alluring demeanor
    • Roominess with maneuverability
    • Open cargo area and secured, lockable storage
    • Towing capability and fuel efficiency

    The forward view of Santa Cruz deploys a hidden lighting signature that becomes visible within the grille only when illuminated. The daytime running lamps (DRLs) present a parametric jewel design with high-tech precision detailing. A bold, cascading grille anchors the front view, supported by a skid plate element in the lower front fascia. Voluminous hood and fenders further communicate an imposing first impression.

    In profile, Santa Cruz signals a sporty yet capable spirit. The A- and C-pillars present faster forward and rearward rakes than typical open-bed utility vehicles. Large 20-inch alloy wheels with a multi-faceted, triangular design are surrounded by armor-like wheel arches, conveying both wheel-articulation potential and off-road capability. Powerful body side volumes contrast with precise triangular sheer-edged surfaces and tight radius character lines.

    From the rear, a horizontal “T” lighting signature adds visual width and distinguishes Santa Cruz from anything on the road. The functional rear open bed area features secure, lockable in-bed storage, integrated corner bumper steps and a lockable tonneau cover, seamlessly integrated with the overall design. The rear tail lamps are embossed with: “Designed in California” as a testament to the passion of Hyundai’s California-based design team. Small, discrete design details such as this can be found throughout the exterior and interior.

    Interior Design
    The interior of the Santa Cruz expresses a sophisticated and refined appearance. The contrasting rugged yet refined motif matches the boldness of the exterior, boasting a technical ambience that appeals to those who appreciate cutting-edge technologies in their daily lives. It features an enveloping dual-cockpit design that encapsulates each passenger. Design teams focused on ease of ingress and egress and ergonomic comfort on long drives. The premium center stack display features an edgeless infotainment screen appearance, with an impressive 10 inches of visibility. The optional center digital cluster display also measures 10 inches. Under the rear seats is convenient, in-cabin storage. Completing the premium ambience is an available Bose® audio system.

    Powerful and Efficient Powertrains
    Santa Cruz offers two powerful, flexible and efficient powertrains. The standard powertrain is a 2.5L direct-injected in-line four-cylinder engine with an estimated 190+ horsepower and 180+ lb.-ft. of torque. This engine couples to an eight-speed hydraulic automatic transmission for quick acceleration and superb efficiency. Santa Cruz also offers a 2.5L direct-injected turbocharged engine with an estimated 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque linked to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). This DCT includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual shifting control by the driver.

    Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission
    The eight-speed transmission for the standard 2.5-liter engine provides quick and crisp shifts for an engaging and efficient driving experience. This automatic transmission adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds allowing for extra thrust off-the-line and a quieter, more fuel-efficient trip on the interstate. A multi-disc and individually controlled hydraulic channel torque converter improves responsiveness by expanding the direct connection band, while a downsized oil pump and double ball bearings minimize frictional losses.

    Advanced HTRAC® AWD and Towing Capability
    Both 2.5L four-cylinder and 2.5L four-cylinder turbo models offer HTRAC® all-wheel drive capability for complete confidence when pursuing adventures of all kinds or for that extra peace of mind when driving in an unexpected snowfall. The HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The Sport setting gives a more agile feel by sending more torque to the rear wheels, for a sporty, dynamic experience. This system has a wide range of torque distribution variability, tuned for conditions such as straight-line acceleration, medium- and high-speed cornering, and hill starts. For those customers who like to tow their weekend gear with them, the 2.5L 4-cylinder is rated at 3,500 lbs. for towing and the 2.5L Turbo AWD model boasts a generous 5,000 lbs. of towing capability.

    Compact Dimensions Yield Superb Maneuverability
    Santa Cruz makes efficient use of its compact dimensions by offering high utility with excellent maneuverability. Its shorter wheelbase and smaller overall footprint make it a joy to maneuver and park in challenging urban parking, with an exceptional curb-to-curb turning radius of only 20.0 feet.

    Specification (in.)

    Santa Cruz

    Tacoma

    Ridgeline

    Frontier

    Length

    195.7

    212.2

    210.0

    205.5

    Width

    75.0

    75.2

    78.5

    72.8

    Height

    66.7

    70.7

    70.3

    70.1

    Wheelbase

    118.3

    127.4

    125.2

    126.0

    Bed Length

    Upper 48.4

    Lower 52.1

    60.4

    63.6

    59.4

    Footprint Area
    (sq. ft.)

    101.9

    109.7

    114.6

    103.9

                     

     

    Responsive and Refined Chassis Tuning
    Santa Cruz was developed with a focus on enhanced driving dynamics and responsive performance for a wide variety of urban and off-road, multi-surface driving conditions. The shorter wheelbase, short overhangs and wide track create a planted stance that results in exceptional agility in urban environments. These specifications also provide confident agility when traversing off-road terrain. Available 20-inch alloy wheels with wide, all-season, all-terrain tires give surefooted, agile handling character on a variety of road surfaces. Available 18-inch wheels with more voluminous tire sidewalls for off-road adventures are also available.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    This is a good little pickup for those that want to haul people and occasional stuff or the run to Home Depot. Will be interesting to see it sales numbers, but I suspect there is more than enough to justify the R&D and sell them to be profitable.

    Interior reminds me of what we will see for the standard on all future auto's be it ICE or EV as the screens with programming are easier and cheaper than all manual instruments or individual dummy lights and alerts. Exterior I find pleasant enough, not offensive.

    Decent numbers for what it is and gotta love the 20ft turning radius, great for maneuvering. 

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    Sport Adventure Vehicle is probably a good description for it.  Looks like will be good for people who do outdoor stuff or small Home Depot runs for the house, but don't want a bigger, less efficient truck.  Ground clearance is 8.6in which is respectable.  

    If they make more efficient, maybe hybrid model, I would probably consider it as a daily.

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    While it has been compared to the last gen Subaru Baja, I don't think that is an apt comparison. It's Tucson roots gives it a taller ride (without being too tall) and upper end engine for it would shame anything that was ever in the Baja. It also looks FAAAAR better. Honestly, I don't know how well it will do in a country full of "critics" and jacked up pick up drivers (who never use them for actual work) but it certainly has potential with the city dweller crowd. Hell, I wouldn't mind one for those short trips to Home Depot. My only issue with it is not having a pass through to the cabin at seat level (not a fan of the pass through manual window). Other than that, I might have to get a closer look at one once they hit the dealerships and then wait for a gently used one to hit the lot (because screw new car prices).

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    When I first saw this, I thought it was quite ugly. Then I started to see it at different angles and it started to grown on me and I read up on it. It's a really compelling package and I think it ought to do really well. I also think the power numbers have Ford scampering to shove the 2.3T in the Maverick, because most are speculating only the 1.5T and 2.0T. I think the 280hp/300tq version should be fairly quick. 

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    1 hour ago, ccap41 said:

    When I first saw this, I thought it was quite ugly. Then I started to see it at different angles and it started to grown on me and I read up on it. It's a really compelling package and I think it ought to do really well. I also think the power numbers have Ford scampering to shove the 2.3T in the Maverick, because most are speculating only the 1.5T and 2.0T. I think the 280hp/300tq version should be fairly quick. 

    The first look is a little jarring because the look doesn't say "pick up" at all, which I think is half the point. Definitely going for different here, as far as their approach to this niche market (again, with a nod to the Baja of the early 2000s).

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    5 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

    *Cue the disgruntled truck owners, who have no interest in this anyway, whining about about the bed length.*

    Maybe 'they' have no interest BECAUSE of the bed length...

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    2 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    The Ford Maverick will be more trucky but just as small.

    I am very interested to check out the Maverick once it hits dealerships. Years ago, I would have needed a mid-size to large pick up (used, of course) but these days, a truck this size (or the Mavericks) would serve 99.9% of my daily driver needs while not sucking up gas doing it and can be had for presumably less coin (options aside).

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    I like it...this is the only kind of pickup I would really need for real-world use...perfect for Saturday trips to Ace or Home Depot to get mulch and other yard stuff..but still as usable as an SUV.  If I could get something like this from Jeep in a Grand Cherokee...

    Edited by Robert Hall
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    1 hour ago, Robert Hall said:

    I like it...this is the only kind of pickup I would really need for real-world use...perfect for Saturday trips to Ace or Home Depot to get mulch and other yard stuff..but still as usable as an SUV.  If I could get something like this from Jeep in a Grand Cherokee...

    My sister really loves the look and Snazzberry color of the Gladiator, but with her job being on the road all the time going from patient to patient, she needs gas mileage over functional fun.

    image.png

    I think this Hyundai will serve a great purpose and sales will be solid.

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    I want to contribute to this thread. I want to say something positive about the Santa  Cruz and all its brethren. But I dont see how in the world I could accomplish something like that.  

    I dont see a future with me owning something like this. Ever.  I dont have a use for such a vehicle.  

    I guess it looks OK.  Nothing really wrong with it.  Im sure Hyundai will engineer it so as its useful for its owner and the vehicle's intended purpose.  

    The earth toned colour one that @surreal1272 posted DOES look REALLY good. 

    As much as I love Wranglers, the pic that @David posted makes me wanna look away and NOT see that again. Enough for me to "ignore" David's posts so I dont ever see it again if I click unto this thread again...   I dont like the Gladiator...at all! 

     

    If I was ever to own this thing, Id install a lift kit on it,  try to fit larger offroad tires and make it look like an offroader.    

    Im impressed with myself. I succeeded in contributing positive thoughts... 

     

     

    Edited by oldshurst442
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    1 hour ago, David said:

    My sister really loves the look and Snazzberry color of the Gladiator, but with her job being on the road all the time going from patient to patient, she needs gas mileage over functional fun.

    image.png

    I think this Hyundai will serve a great purpose and sales will be solid.

    And for $58K, I'll just a get loaded full size truck that can actually tow without fear of death (read about the towing reviews and issues with the Gladiator). That is just absurd money for that.

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    I think this will sell well.  It looks good, being a Hyundai I assume it will be competitively priced and it doesn’t have a direct competitor.  
     

    There must be 20+ small to mid-size SUVs out there selling a combined millions per year.  Even if 5% of that market gets this, Hyundai could sell 100k a year.  And it makes sense for hauling anything dirty that you wouldn’t want to haul in the back of your Tucson or Escape.

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    Its like they wanted to make a rugged version of their existing crossover before Ford did the Bronco Sport, like Toyota does with their RAV4 and the Hyundai designers were up all night thinking how to do something original for themselves. And then they took 4 years to decide now's the time, when cars have become obsolete, to launch the truck.

     

    I like how they are not calling it a truck at all.

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    4 hours ago, oldshurst442 said:

    I want to contribute to this thread. I want to say something positive about the Santa  Cruz and all its brethren. But I dont see how in the world I could accomplish something like that.  

    I dont see a future with me owning something like this. Ever.  I dont have a use for such a vehicle.  

    I guess it looks OK.  Nothing really wrong with it.  Im sure Hyundai will engineer it so as its useful for its owner and the vehicle's intended purpose.  

    The earth toned colour one that @surreal1272 posted DOES look REALLY good. 

    As much as I love Wranglers, the pic that @David posted makes me wanna look away and NOT see that again. Enough for me to "ignore" David's posts so I dont ever see it again if I click unto this thread again...   I dont like the Gladiator...at all! 

     

    If I was ever to own this thing, Id install a lift kit on it,  try to fit larger offroad tires and make it look like an offroader.    

    Im impressed with myself. I succeeded in contributing positive thoughts... 

    So no use for any bed hauling? No yard projects, no kitchen gear?, I am surprised as usually people can see a valid use for a small bed to haul stuff, hose it out and not worry about getting the inside of their auto dirty.

    So hobbies, kids stuff, camping, nothing in your life you can see a truck or hybrid SUV/truck or Suck use for ?????? 😛

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    My buddy has an older Infiniti SUV. He keeps it meticulously clean & preserved, but he has no issue 'making Home Depot runs' / house projects; he has the Infiniti 'Weathertech' cargo area liner with about 2" tall walls, plus he has blankets for any situation. He also hunts, tho there he uses a hitch-mount for the carcass. Also tows a fishing boat with it.
    He's looking at finally replacing it, but has zero interest in a pickup; says he prefers the security and protection of an SUV, and it does everything a similar-size pickup does. Plus, when you lower the 2nd row, it's far longer than a mere 4'.

    IMO, that's a major reason there's a pitiful compact pickup market- and SUV does the same job with more room. Really makes me doubt some significant compact pickup market is lingering just around the corner, waiting to explode.

    Now... once you go to a 6-ft bed, the table turns...

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    6 hours ago, balthazar said:

    My buddy has an older Infiniti SUV. He keeps it meticulously clean & preserved, but he has no issue 'making Home Depot runs' / house projects; he has the Infiniti 'Weathertech' cargo area liner with about 2" tall walls, plus he has blankets for any situation. He also hunts, tho there he uses a hitch-mount for the carcass. Also tows a fishing boat with it.
    He's looking at finally replacing it, but has zero interest in a pickup; says he prefers the security and protection of an SUV, and it does everything a similar-size pickup does. Plus, when you lower the 2nd row, it's far longer than a mere 4'.

    IMO, that's a major reason there's a pitiful compact pickup market- and SUV does the same job with more room. Really makes me doubt some significant compact pickup market is lingering just around the corner, waiting to explode.

    Now... once you go to a 6-ft bed, the table turns...

    So if I go pick up a five or six foot tall tree from Home Depot, I can just stand it up in that same SUV right? No I can’t hence why something like the Hyundai is more useful than you think. Again, bed length is irrelevant if we are talking about the height of certain things that get hauled. Cargo room in an SUV is irrelevant when you are talking about things that are clearly too tall for it. What if I need to pick up a refrigerator? That old Infiniti sure as hell can’t get involved at that point. The Hyundai could though so maybe stop focusing on that bed length like it is the be all to end all because it isn’t. By your SUV logic, a Suburban could do 97% of that work (seats down and all) so why does anyone need a pick up to begin with?

    Edited by surreal1272
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    On 4/17/2021 at 7:42 AM, surreal1272 said:

    So if I go pick up a five or six foot tall tree from Home Depot, I can just stand it up in that same SUV right? No I can’t hence why something like the Hyundai is more useful than you think. Again, bed length is irrelevant if we are talking about the height of certain things that get hauled. Cargo room in an SUV is irrelevant when you are talking about things that are clearly too tall for it. What if I need to pick up a refrigerator? That old Infiniti sure as hell can’t get involved at that point. The Hyundai could though so maybe stop focusing on that bed length like it is the be all to end all because it isn’t. By your SUV logic, a Suburban could do 97% of that work (seats down and all) so why does anyone need a pick up to begin with?

    Yeah, I've hauled small shrubs (2 ft high) in my Jeep, anything taller I'd have to get delivered.  Likewise for an appliance...I can't carry a refrigerator.  I'd get something like that delivered and installed, like the washer and dryer from Home Depot I bought a few years ago.   The only times I've actually needed a truck (to move furniture and boxes to/from a storage unit, etc) over the years, I've just rented a truck or van from UHaul.   I don't need a truck on a regular basis, thus I have no need for one in my reality context.   And pickups are too long to fit in my garage (anything over 200" would probably not fit).

    I have a Weathertech mat w/ a couple layers of cargo liners over it, last weekend had 4 bags of mulch, 3 bags of fertilizer, 2 bags of grass seed and 1/2 dozen stone pavers back here.  In the past, I've had 8 bags of mulch w/o folding down the back seat...plenty adequate for my reality. 

    unnamed-7.jpg

    Edited by Robert Hall
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    8 hours ago, David said:

    So no use for any bed hauling?

    nope

    8 hours ago, David said:

    No yard projects

    sure. Nothing that I cant rent a van of some sort from Home Depot when I do buy something from them.  

     

    9 hours ago, David said:

    no kitchen gear?

    Kitchen gear?  Or any other big item for the house..

    How big do you think THOSE are?

    All my sedans, with the exception of the 2009 Mazda 3 that I had, could fit a surprising amount of big boxes. 

    I fit 3 bicycles in the Ford Fusion.  

    9 hours ago, David said:

    I am surprised as usually people can see a valid use for a small bed to haul stuff, hose it out and not worry about getting the inside of their auto

    Sure....but how many times a year do I need to haul shyte like that around?

    Its more like how many times a decade...

    Like I said, nothing that a rental of a van from Home Depot or a carefully planned trip to a U-Haul center couldnt do...

    Im planning to buy black earth for my yard outside today or tomorrow.  I usually get a truck load that they delivery and dump it on my driveway, but we noticed that they give us shyte.  Our grass gets weeds. The last 2-3 years, we just buy bags of black earth. The Fusion and the Acura gets to haul this stuff in the trunk. We put plastic sheets in the trunk and we haul that stuff. Then we just vaccuum the trunks... 

    9 hours ago, David said:

    So hobbies, kids stuff, camping, nothing in your life you can see a truck or hybrid SUV/truck

    Shyte...what kind of hobbies require a phoquing pick-up truck?

    Boating?   Despite me being from a sea-faring peoples (Greek), I hate boats.  Besides, it takes an enormous amount of money to indulge in a hobby like that.  id rather travel by car, and by air for vacations.  Oh....I would also prefer to be on SOMEBODY ELSE'S boat. Let THAT sucker pay for boat storage and boat upkeep and dock taxes and the like...

    Kids play baseball.  A car is big enough.  Even if they played hockey, the Fusion and the Acura are big enough.  

    Golf?  Well, if the Acura and the Fusion could fit hockey bags and equipment, then they could fit golf bags...

    Other than a FEW folk who actually DO use the FULL potential of pick-up trucks, an admission like mine stating that I do not need shouldnt be that hard to understand and accept.   

     

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