Santa Cruzin'

Hyundai Santa Cruz release date, price, specs, and towing capacity for the 2022 SUV-pickup truck hybrid

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

Hyundai calls the Santa Cruz a “Sport Adventure Vehicle,” but I’m not sure what that means because 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 reviewed earlier this year with glowing praise, the Santa Cruz is a compact SUV with a small pickup truck bed instead of an enclosed rear cargo area.

It’s built at Hyundai’s enormous facility in Montgomery, Alabama (Hyundai says production of the Santa Cruz will add 1,200 jobs to the local economy) and it’s aimed at city-dwellers who take weekend camping trips out to the country — or even want to be able to make a run to Home Depot or IKEA.

Though the cabin is pretty standard Hyundai fare, the bed area includes a lockable tonneau cover and hidden, waterproof storage in the bed. A host of safety features are available too, including adaptive cruise control, Hyundai’s excellent lane-keeping assistant, and blind-spot monitoring.

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

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?

Hyundai hasn’t shared pricing yet, but we expect it to be priced from the high $20,000s to high $30,000s. That’s based on competition like the Ford Maverick and the price of the Tucson on which it’s based.

How much does a used Hyundai Santa Cruz cost?

As it’s a brand new vehicle, there aren’t any used Santa Cruz trucks out yet and probably won’t be until next year.

What is the release date of the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

The first Santa Cruz rolled down the Montgomery, Alabama production line in late June, and will begin arriving in U.S. Hyundai dealerships later this summer.

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

What are the trim levels of the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

The Santa Cruz comes in four trim levels:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.Hyundai

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

The base engine with AWD offers an EPA-estimated 21/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined. The front-wheel-drive version, weirdly, offers the same city/combined but gets only 26 mpg highway.

Usually, FWD vehicles are better on fuel but with the Santa Cruz.

The turbocharged engine with AWD gets 19/27/22. Not too shabby.

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

The truck is 52.1 inches long at the bottom, with a lockable under-bed compartment plus additional side compartments. There is an in-bed 115-volt power outlet and a 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.Hyundai

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?

Interested buyers can place a refundable $100 deposit on a Santa Cruz on Hyundai’s website.