2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Reveals Itself

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
2022 hyundai santa cruz reveals itself

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz has finally seen the light of day. It was about time, given all the fuzzy photos and hype prior to dropping today. More like a dull thud than a big bang, but here it is.

Hyundai describes the Santa Cruz as groundbreaking, and that may be so. Tabbed a sport adventure vehicle, it’s meant for urban consumers who want to be outdoors. They just can’t bring themselves to live where Uber Eats and Doordash can’t deliver.

We’ve just cut through its entire reason for being. Maybe the trick grille with hidden lights that can only be seen when it’s lit is the Santa Cruz’s signature. It could also be the voluminous hood and wheel arches, the latter armor-like. We should be much more enamored than we are, but ‘designed in California’ isn’t that big a deal.

There’s a 2.5-liter, in-line four-banger with direct-injection, 190 horsepower, and 180 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s hooked to an eight-speed auto transmission, mostly for efficiency. Then there’s a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine, with 275+ HP, and 310+ lb-ft of torque. The turbo’s mated to an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters, presumably to help with responsiveness. Both drivetrains are connected to HTRAC, Hyundai’s all-wheel-drive system. Until we have the opportunity to get a Santa Cruz out in nasty weather, it’s there to make you think you’ll be okay in snow or on ice. A Sport setting provides more torque to the rear wheels, though not enough to get the Cruzer in the next “Fast And The Furious” installment.

The Santa Cruz is, in a pickup truck sort of way, meant to do more than it should. Take towing for example. The normally-aspirated four-cylinder has a 3,500-pound rating, and the Turbo model? It gets a 5,000-pound rating.

How much praise can be heaped on the interior? Design teams focus on the number of cupholders, part of the selection process.

The center stack’s home to the infotainment screen, and an optional digital cluster. Makes you think you’re better informed.

Stubby’s what the Santa Cruz is. There’s early registration in late April for sales that start this summer. The line forms to the left.

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Apr 18, 2021

    "I’m sure one can find a 70’s or 80’s era Luv, Yota, Ranger, or S10 somewhere…….. oh but they aren’t new and need repairs…." Lou_BC--True and I found a 2008 I4 regular cab Ranger on Craigslist last year after I gave my 2008 Isuzu I-370 to my nephew. Since I bought my Ranger there is less availability of smaller trucks and the prices have dramatically increased. A base 2011 Ranger with close to 100k miles in good condition can fetch 20k. My Ranger needed a paint job, rear bumper, and new tires and it has some frame rust on it although none of the rust has gone completely through. I have a total investment of just under 6k in my Ranger which now has about 105k miles. If I find a good body man who is not too expensive I might have the frame sandblasted and undercoated but that is if I decide to keep it for a long time and even then I would have to spend thousands of dollars but then I would have a truck that I would keep at least 10 years. It might be worth it since the engine and transmission have been well maintained and the interior is close to perfect.

  • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Apr 19, 2021

    Four doors - no thanks.

  • Jerry Hightower I'd like to see a true hardtop.
  • Jerry Hightower I'd like to see a true hardtop
  • 28-Cars-Later "Six-thousand dollars get you in the door."You just cost me six thousand dollars! And one Cadillac.
  • 28-Cars-Later Kudos to the Mazda team on the attractive front end, though the lack of front bumper is still detention after class. Rest of it is also visually appealing, its shocking me how good this looks and how bad Honda (and to an extent Toyota's) styling is in comparison.
  • Slyons My guess is they keep the 2.0 liter they have now with minor tweaks, and shoehorn in the 48V mild hybrid system that just debuted in the CX-90. Should allow for all the regular fun of wringing out the 4 cyl and bump the fuel mileage up at least a couple points. I don't think we'll see a major evolution of the drivetrain until the next next model (NF?).