Auto123 assessments the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup.
Hyundai first arrived to Canada in 1983 with a certain Pony (1984 model-yr), a rear-wheel-generate subcompact that experienced a lot more than a little bit in prevalent with the archaic Chevrolet Chevette. If anyone experienced informed me again in the working day that Hyundai would become one particular of the world’s automotive giants, and that it would even access the point of going head-to-head with the Major Three by launching a pickup truck, I might have recommended remedy for them.
Nonetheless listed here we are. Hyundai this yr launched, not the sixth or seventh generation of the Pony, but the very first generation of the Hyundai Santa Cruz, a compact pickup for experience lovers. Really should we be astonished by these an impressive item from the Korean automaker? No, not actually. For a ten years now, Hyundai and Kia have been cranking out ambitious initiatives (Hyundai Veloster, the overall Genesis division, Kia Soul, Kia Stinger, Hyundai Ioniq 5, etcetera.) like there is no tomorrow. Anyhow, we’ve recognized for years this pickup was coming, because the enterprise first confirmed a prototype again in… 2015.
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Previously a rival on the horizon
Nevertheless, these is the dynamic point out of the business that already, this brand-new model has a rival. Ford has also just launched a unibody pickup built for drivers who want a pickup truck… without the need of all the disadvantages of a “real” pickup! Its Maverick is also probable to be very prosperous the two listed here and south of the border.
Get take note that, as opposed to Ford, Hyundai has adopted a two-tiered strategy for its truck, acquiring resolved not to give the two engines as is the case in the United States.
Also worth noting? The area Santa Cruz is an highly-priced automobile that comes standard with the “big” 2.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder motor, all-wheel generate and a quite extended listing of devices. This is in distinction to the Ford Maverick with its hybrid motor, front two-wheel generate and steel wheels on the entry-level XL model, which, by the way, is virtually $13,000 less than the most-affordable Santa Cruz model.
A Tucson with a bed?
As is the case with the Maverick, which uses the same architecture as the Escape or the Bronco Sport, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is primarily based on a compact SUV system. A lot more especially, that would be the Tucson. Additionally, the Santa Cruz’s front stop is virtually equivalent to that of the just-revised Tucson. I say “almost” because opposite to the Tucson’s shield that features four rows in just its grille, the Santa Cruz has only a few.
No issue, the glimpse is very similar the two vehicles, for case in point, have optical blocks positioned very lower in this expressive bumper. The other “lights” tucked at the rear of the intricate mesh are just daytime running lights. Enable me also say that the Korean truck’s headlights illuminate the road very well which is one particular of the benefits of these decrease headlights we’ve observed built in current years.
The backlink between the two utility vehicles finishes there, although, as the rest of the Santa Cruz’s bodywork is distinctive to the pickup. In profile, the generation model is not as opposed to that years-outdated idea, with the relatively very clear big difference that the 2022 Santa Cruz comes with four authentic doors, as opposed to the coupe structure of the prototype.
The new Korean pickup is also a unibody automobile, as evidenced by the lack of separation between the cabin and the cargo box. The presence of 20-inch wheels enhances the vehicle’s presence, although homeowners who strategy on using rougher roads should take into account the 18-inch wheels of the Preferred model.
Then there is the bed. The very brief bed. The model’s designers did imagine of do-it-yourselfers and included an choice to increase the tailgate midway with the cables, a resolution that enables you to load the common 4’x8′ sheet… with straps of study course… and a minor crimson flag! In addition to this minor trick – the Ford Maverick presents the same matter by the way – the Santa Cruz stands out with its manufacturing unit-mounted box protect, which unrolls and can even be locked, while a waterproof compartment is also accessible beneath the box flooring, a resolution already observed on the Honda Ridgeline. An LED light-weight in the cabin makes it uncomplicated to keep goods at night.
Four-man or woman cabin
The Santa Cruz’s tiny dimension will not allow for it to give as a lot place as these full-dimension vehicles and their crew cabs, but for a crew of four (two older people and two younger children), it is really good! Like other midsize pickups, the seatback will not fall again, which makes for a quite upright seating place. Fortuitously, the seats are comfortable in the two rows.
Up front, you can find that familiar dashboard style that wraps around each and every passenger, but also has the edge of not obstructing the driver’s look at. Where by the Santa Cruz loses a couple of points is in the central part, in which all the controls are grouped around the ten-inch touchscreen all of these controls are contact-delicate, forcing drivers to take their eyes off the road each time they want to change a placing. Fortuitously, the responsiveness of these buttons and even that of the screen are excellent. In the centre console, there are generate modes to be played with and even buttons for the heated seats, heated steering wheel… and ventilated seats. Which of study course I did not consider all through my 7 days driving the model late in the autumn.
A sporting activities car or truck generate
There is surprising likely in this powertrain. At its core is a 2.5Lr turbocharged 4-cylinder motor already observed in other Hyundai Team products, and listed here it delivers a a lot more-than-appreciable 281 hp and a surprising 311 lb-ft of torque. But which is not the only explanation for the Santa Cruz’s aplomb, as it is really also outfitted with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, an choice which is a lot a lot more suitable than a repeatedly variable transmission, for case in point. Shifts are sleek and depending on the generate method chosen – Sport is the sharpest for winding roads – you actually come to feel that the normal “jerks” of an automatic are mitigated as a lot as attainable when downshifting with this unit.
But even beyond all that, what actually stands out in this truck is its impressive handling. Despite the presence of these 20-inch wheels, the Santa Cruz flew more than potholes like a comfortable mid-dimension sedan without the need of sacrificing handling. The steering, while not as surgical as the Veloster N’s, delivers just enough facts to retain the driver linked to the road. I caught myself cornering on the highway at unsavory speeds all through a rainy-working day jaunt. The Santa Cruz drives like a car or truck… or a crossover if you choose. So a lot so that you ignore you can find a box at the rear of it. It’s a lot more obvious even when you assess with the new Nissan Frontier, which we experienced put to the check a couple of days later, and which nevertheless presents a normal pickup truck-like trip.
The past word
Hyundai will, of study course, be observing intently how buyers respond to its first, extended-awaited pickup. The strategy of sticking to two intensely-outfitted variations is not negative, but I cannot help but imagine of the affordable Ford Maverick trims that should draw crowds. However that truck’s functionality will be inferior, reflecting the inquiring cost just after all.
For my section, this first check generate proved to be a nice surprise. The Santa Cruz is very nice to live with on a day-to-day basis, primarily in conditions of driving, but also for its normal consolation. For several motorists, this compact pickup could well be the perfect automobile.
The unique style
The driving knowledge of a sporting activities car or truck
The innovations in the box
We like less
Constrained space in the next row
Diminished visibility in the again
No affordable edition
The levels of competition