So, while Hyundai is first into the pool – Ford has also recently announced the Maverick; another anticipated new compact offering. This looks like it could be the start of a trend, and a most welcome one in the market based on the response so far.
As we all know the traditional half-ton has grown to epic proportions in the past 20 years. Even today’s mid-size trucks are larger than the half-tons of two generations ago. It’s this exaggerated evolution of truck body size that has led to a sales opportunity at the other end of the scale. Yes, it’s safe to say the compact truck is back.
The 2022 Santa Cruz breaks new ground within the SUV, truck and crossover segments by offering what Hyundai calls a ‘Sport Adventure Vehicle’. This Santa Cruz boasts bold yet sophisticated design, powerful and efficient powertrain options, a flexible open bed for gear, full featured connectivity and an all-wheel drive platform that is equally at home in urban and more rugged, adventure-focused environments. The Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle begins production in Montgomery, Alabama in June and will be available for sale sometime this summer.
The Santa Cruz was developed to satisfy a need found by Hyundai’s consumer research that found consumers, often living in urban environments, wanted a vehicle built for escapes to weekend adventures of all kinds. Many of these customers carried gear and equipment that is better suited to an open bed rather than a typical SUV. These buyers wanted versatile transportation that is flexible for urban, adventure, occupational or even home improvement gear.
To satisfy this need, the Santa Cruz is built with a secure, open bed area which includes a lockable, sliding tonneau cover fitted as standard in Canada, hidden bed storage and versatile bed extension accessories. At the same time, these customers still value the secure utility of a compact SUV, with its comfort and ample passenger space – so it’s a four-door 5 passenger cabin setup that wins the day, and the sale.
The Santa Cruz will come with a 2.5L direct-injected turbocharged engine with an estimated 275+ hp and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque, linked to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). This DCT includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual shifting.
The HTRAC All-Wheel-Drive system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. (Only AWD is coming to Canada)
This system has a wide range of torque distribution variability, tuned for conditions such as straight-line acceleration, medium and high-speed cornering, and hill starts. For those customers who tow their weekend gear, the 2.5L Turbo AWD boasts a generous 5,000 lbs. of towing capability with Canadian-exclusive Multi Terrain Control modes: Mud, Sand and Snow.
This new offering includes multiple extended safety and convenience features, with an array of advanced safety technologies as part of the Hyundai SmartSense feature suite – these include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection; Lane Keeping Assist; Driver Attention Warning; Lane Following Assist; Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist; Safe Exit Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist. Other safety features like Adaptive Cruise Control are also available.
Connectivity in the Santa Cruz includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto displayed on an eight-inch split-screen. It also has wireless charging and Hyundai’s Bluelink connected car system. The Bluelink system is complimentary for three years and includes features such as Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Find My Vehicle, and others. Bluelink features can be accessed via mybluelink.ca web portal and the Bluelink smartphone app.
Other key features on the 2022 Santa Cruz include:
- Remote Engine Start allows the owner to remotely warm up or cool down the vehicle using the Santa Cruz key fob on models equipped with Proximity Key and Push Button Start.
- Remote profile management—stores select vehicle settings, with the ability to remotely update and push back to the vehicle, personalized to driver preferences.
- Remote start enhancements:
- Remote seat heating and ventilation (on/off for each individual heated/cooled seat).
- Profile selection (preloads individual driver settings for seating position/side mirrors).
- Vehicle Status Notifications—if the vehicle is left with doors unlocked, customers will receive a notification.
- Maintenance Alert Enhancement—maintenance interval tracking is now visible in the multimedia system, with ability to reset.
Pricing for the Santa Cruz has not been announced at the time of writing. Our best educated guess is that the actual date will be closer to July. Units are set to arrive at dealers by August.
If you’d like a closer look at the Santa Cruz, you can do that on the Truck King YouTube channel. We recently got up and personal with a preproduction model at Hyundai HQ in Markham, ON.