Santa Cruzin'

Hyundai Santa Cruz price, specs, and towing capacity for the 2022 compact pickup

This is perfect for small SUV buyers who need a wee truck bed to haul their stuff

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Hyundai calls the Santa Cruz a “Sport Adventure Vehicle,” but it’s obviously an El Camino for the 21st Century. It’s the mullet of automobiles: business in the front and a pickup in the back.

Based on the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, which I previously reviewed with glowing praise, the Santa Cruz has a small truck bed rather than the back end of a compact crossover.

Like the Ford Maverick, its biggest competitor, the Santa Cruz is targeted toward city-dwellers who take weekend camping trips out to the country or the occasional run to Home Depot or Ikea.

The truck bed is very clever, with an available lockable tonneau cover and in-floor waterproof storage in the bed (including a drain plug so you can fill it with ice for your next tailgate).

The Santa Cruz is somewhat reminiscent of the Subaru Baja pickup, a similar car/truck hybrid.


Here’s everything else you need to know about the new 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, from the release date to price and gas mileage.

What’s the price of the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

The Hyundai Santa Cruz starts at $25,685 for the base SE trim, after its own $1,245 destination charge, and prices go up significantly from there. As is typical for Hyundai, building a Santa Cruz is very simple: you pick your color (six different choices) and your trim. There are very few complicated option packages to choose from:

  • Santa Cruz SE: $25,685 - SE is the base trim, including basics like an 8-speed automatic transmission, wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and an 8-inch color touchscreen. Oh, and that 4.3-foot truck bed. Upgrading to AWD is a $1,500 option.
  • Santa Cruz SEL: $28,885 - SEL adds a number of useful comfort features like blind-spot warning, push-button start, an 8-way heated power driver’s seat, and a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster. Upgrading to AWD is $1,500, while an Activity Package with a whole bunch of neat tech and comfort features is $3,270.
  • Santa Cruz SEL Premium: $37,375 - SEL Premium ticks a few more lux boxes, adding LED headlights, an auto-dimming rear mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and standard AWD.
  • Santa Cruz Limited: $41,415 - Limited is the top-tier trim that includes pretty much everything, including a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, a Bose audio system, ventilated and heated leather-trimmed seats and a heated steering wheel, and the excellent Hyundai Blind-Spot View Monitor system that displays your blind spots on the dash via video cameras mounted in the side mirrors.

How much does a used Hyundai Santa Cruz cost?

Given how popular the Santa Cruz is and how crazy both the new and used car markets are these days, probably as much or more than a new Santa Cruz.

Hyundai says the truck is aimed at city-dwellers who might need an open-bed truck for small home improvement tasks or for camping.


How much horsepower and torque does the Hyundai Santa Cruz have?

There are two engines available in the Santa Cruz.

The standard 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine makes 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. It comes with an eight-speed automatic.

The more powerful turbocharged 2.5-liter I-4 makes a beefy 281 hp and 311 lb-ft and has an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, meaning faster shifts and a sportier drive.

The waterproof in-bed lockable storage area is useful since there’s no enclosed cargo area like an SUV would have.


What’s the fuel economy of the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

There are three different powertrains of the Hyundai Santa Cruz:

  • The naturally aspirated 2.5L FWD gets 21 city / 26 highway / 23 combined
  • The naturally aspirated 2.5L AWD gets 21 city / 27 highway / 23 combined
  • The more powerful, turbocharged 2.5L AWD gets 19 city / 27 highway / 22 combined

How big is the truck bed in the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

The truck is 52.1 inches (about 4.25 feet) long at the bottom, with a lockable under-bed compartment plus additional side compartments. There is an in-bed 115-volt power outlet and an available factory-integrated retractable, lockable tonneau cover.

There are two c-channel utility tracks/bed rails, and adjustable tie-down cleats to help properly stow all your gear.

How much can the Hyundai Santa Cruz tow?

The 2022 Santa Cruz can tow between 3,500 and 5,000 pounds depending on configuration, enough for a small boat or some jet skis, or a small camper.

Business at the front; party at the rear.


What safety features does the Hyundai Santa Cruz have?

Standard in the Santa Cruz is Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keeping assist, and a driver attention warning feature that detects if you’ve been driving for too long and need a break.

Optional equipment includes a blind-spot monitor with collision avoidance assist to help steer out of potential crashes, a 360-degree surround-view camera, and rear cross-traffic avoidance assist.

Hyundai’s excellent Highway Driving Assist is available too, which works sort of like Tesla’s Autopilot. It can maintain distance from the vehicle ahead (adaptive cruise control) while also helping actively center the vehicle in your lane while driving down the road, including on curves.

How can I buy the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

You can build and price the Santa Cruz on Hyundai’s website, as well as check current offers and local dealer inventory. Keep in mind that it may be difficult to find one in stock, so you should likely be prepared to call around to your local (or not so local) Hyundai dealers.

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