2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Reveals Itself

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

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]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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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.

  • Kars This article was about Ford not Tesla - you are clearly confused.
  • Ollicat Those are individual charging stations vs entire gas stations that have 8 - 16 pumps. And gas stations take 3 minutes to fill vs 30 min to hours for a charging station. And gas pumps are much more likely to be working vs charging statins. Nice try with more propaganda though.
  • Richard Poore Sure, as the article itself notes (hence my ire) California has mandated that all new vehicles sold in state be EV by 2035. They require EV or hybrid by 2026. Since the author admits to this mandate it seems that the article title is clickbait... was really hoping that there was some sort of changes in the CA position since the state is sorely behind on where they need to be with charging stations for this sort of requirement.
  • VoGhost When will Audi eliminate the fake, oversized grills that impede aerodynamics?