Is Hyundai Santa Cruz The Ground-breaker it Seems?Brave New Concept Promises to Turn Heads
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Sports Adventure Vehicle is a derivative of the Hyundai Tucson Compact XSUV (Crossover SUV). The primary difference is that, instead of an enclosed cargo area, the Santa Cruz has a short pickup box. So, it’s kind of a pickup truck in the guise of something very different. The pickup box is available with a weather resistant lockable rigid sliding tonneau cover. This provides an enclosed pickup box where stuff can be stowed away out of sight.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a four door vehicle that seats four or five people.
Who is the Santa Cruz for? It is focused on people with active sporty lifestyles. Hyundai features it with bicycles, surfboards, hiking gear, snow boards. Heck, it could even be used to very conveniently haul gardening supplies from the nursery.
The Santa Cruz is very easy to live with. It is available with a 2.5L 4-Cylinder Turbo with 281-horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. It has sprightly performance. It is nimble. It is comfortable. It is quiet. It is easy get into and out of. It has good visibility. The ergonomics are good.
The Santa Cruz is distinctively styled. The styling is definitely Tucson in front of the C-Pillar. Aft of the C-Pillar is the styled pickup box. In the rear view mirror, the distinctive grille graphics with lamp highlights make it easily identifiable either as a Tucson or a Santa Cruz. Following the Santa Cruz, the tail lamps are shaped like horizontal “T”s. While the style is distinctive, there is nothing particularly controversial about how the vehicle looks.
Asking Product Planning Vice President Olabisi Boyle what the gender mix of the Santa Cruz might be, she estimated a 55/45 mix male/female. She may be surprised. The cuteness of the Santa Cruz combined with its great utility makes it very attractive to a woman wanting to hike, bike, kayak, garden, shop or just cruise around with her friends.
What is the competition for the Santa Cruz? Hyundai mentions the upcoming Ford Maverick as a potential competitor for the Santa Cruz. It seems, however, that Ford is targeting the Maverick as a real truck rather than a play thing like the Santa Cruz. Maverick may be the vehicle that gardeners and pool cleaners have been looking for. Ford has not attempted to establish Maverick as a particularly fun vehicle – it is an inexpensive workhorse. Pricing starts around $20,000. The Santa Cruz we drove were fully loaded and topped out at $41,000.
Overall, the designed-in-the-USA, made in Alabama Santa Cruz appears to be a winner.