Will it be a real pickup truck or will it fall victim to scrutiny like the Honda Ridgeline?

This is the all-new Hyundai Santa Cruz, a pickup we’ve been waiting for for six years now. So get ready, Ford Maverick, because the Koreans are out to get you and your fancy unibody construction.

Hyundai has officially revealed the first teasers of the production-ready Santa Cruz pickup truck, which will be fully unveiled on April 15 and go into production this summer in Alabama. And I just gave you a whole lot of information in a single phrase, so let’s analyze what we know so far about the upcoming Santa Cruz.

Don’t Call the Santa Cruz a Pickup Truck

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup - Everything You Need to Know
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First up, Hyundai doesn’t call this model a full-on pickup, instead choosing - very carefully - to go by the “Sport Adventure Vehicle” description. And, well, they’re not wrong, considering the Santa Cruz will most probably sit on the same compact platform that’s used for the latest-generation Tucson SUV. In other words, it will most probably be a direct competitor for the upcoming Ford Maverick, and not the Honda Ridgeline, which is also a unibody truck, but a bigger, midsize one.

Compared to the Maverick, Hyundai’s offering definitely looks more like a show-off vehicle, with a more-or-less identical face to that of the Tucson, whereas the Maverick will at least try to look like a smaller brother of the F-150.

Capability – Does Hyundai Have What it Takes?

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup - Everything You Need to Know
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At this point, we don’t know the carrying capacity or towing limits of either vehicle, but I can make some educated guesses.The Ford Bronco Sport, which sits on the same platform as the upcoming Maverick, can tow up to 2,200 pounds, while the Hyundai Tucson, the Santa Cruz’s next of kin, can tow up to 2,000 pounds when properly equipped.

With this being said, it’s expected that the Santa Cruz will have a similar tow rating, but we’ll find out more when Hyundai spills all the details.

The Tucson’s Engine, Maybe Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup - Everything You Need to Know
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Under the hood, the Korean manufacturer’s first compact unibody pickup will likely use the same engine selection as on the Tucson. So expect to see a 2.5-liter with 184 horsepower and 178 pounds foot of torque, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, as well as a hybrid setup that consists of a 1.6-liter engine and an electric motor, with a total system output of 227 horsepower and 195 pounds foot of torque, linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Engine 2.5-liter four-cylinder 1.6-liter four-cylinder + electric motor
Horsepower 184 HP 227 HP
Torque 178 LB-FT 195 LB-FT
Transmission 8-speed automatic 6-speed automatic

A plug-in hybrid is also a possibility, seeing how the Tucson comes in this variety, but we’ll have to wait and see if this will be the case.

By comparison, the Ford Maverick is expected to be available with the same powertrains as the Bronco Sport. These are a 1.5-liter with 181 horsepower and a 2.0 liter with 245 horsepower, so pretty much on par with what Hyundai is offering.

Cargo Capacity Might Be Minimal

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup - Everything You Need to Know
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Judging from the pictures alone, it seems the Santa Cruz will have a smaller bed than the Maverick. This seems to be inline with what company officials are hoping the pickup will be, and that’s “a new category of vehicle unlike anything else in the US market.” And if they’re referring to a pickup that won’t be able to tow or carry anything, they’re right.

And that’s it. But before I leave, let me know in the comments below what would you prefer if you were given the choice - Maverick or Santa Cruz?

Iulian Dnistran
Loves cars since he was a toddler. Learned how to drive when he was 6. Born and raised in a small Romanian mountain town, he had a radio show with two buddies when he was 14, and continued his love affair with radio until the end of high school. Got a Master's degree in journalism in 2013 and started to write about cars the same year, when he got a job at the largest motoring website in Romania. Since 2016, he's a videographer and photographer and sometimes he still gets the chance to drive cool cars and write about them.  Read full bio
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