The all-new 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz has finally been unveiled, six long years after its concept version first made its debut.
The all-new Santa Cruz looks quite different now compared to the concept that previewed it, as Hyundai has now based their first-ever pickup on the all-new Tucson crossover SUV. While the two vehicles look similar from the front, they’re not exactly a copy-paste of each other. For instance, the front bumper is more rugged, featuring more plastic cladding for better protection from stone chips. In addition, the cascading grille with its Parametric Hidden Lights has a slightly more angular look compared to the one in the Tucson.
At the sides, the Santa Cruz has a 249 mm longer wheelbase in order to accommodate the bed. Though unlike most new Hyundais nowadays, the side profile does not feature as many creases, giving it a more purposeful look. Entry-level variants come with 18-inch wheels, though higher-trim models can be equipped with bigger 20-inch wheels. Neither wheel size is fitted with all-terrain tires since the Santa Cruz is mainly biased for on-road use.
Moving towards the rear of the Santa Cruz, and you’ll see a pair of unique LED taillights. Unlike other pickups which are vertically stacked, the Santa Cruz features a horizontal design. Hyundai says the Santa Cruz’s design combines the best of a pickup and a crossover SUV.
As for its length, the Santa Cruz is 315 mm longer than the Tucson, with its bed being about 1.3 meters long, which is just 0.2 meters shorter than the likes of the Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux. That said, the overall volume is much smaller than those aforementioned pickups, but it does feature a standard lockable tonneau cover and an underfloor trunk.
The interior of the all-new Hyundai Santa Cruz is almost similar to the Tucson’s, which is no bad thing since it’s a thoroughly modern and plush interior. Soft-touch materials adorn the cabin, plus certain variants come with a 10-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch infotainment system. Higher variants even come with a Bose surround sound system. Hyundai says that design is just as important as utility in this vehicle, which is why the Santa Cruz also comes with under-seat storage.
Powering the all-new Santa Cruz is either a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated gasoline engine that produces 190+ hp and 244+ Nm of torque or a 2.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that produces a strong 275+ hp and 420 Nm of torque. The non-turbo mill is fitted with an 8-speed automatic while the turbocharged engine gets the Hyundai Motor Group’s new 8-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.
Though the Santa Cruz is based on the Tucson’s front-wheel-drive (FWD) architecture, buyers can opt for HTRAC all-wheel-drive (AWD), which has more capability to send more power to the rear wheels compared to the brand’s other AWD systems. In addition, the Santa Cruz can tow up to 1,588 kg with the 2.5 non-turbo engine or 2,268 kg with the 2.5 turbo engine.
Of course as with every modern car nowadays, the Hyundai Santa Cruz comes with the brand’s SmartSense suite of advanced driver-assist systems, which includes automatic emergency braking, full-speed radar cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and Hyundai’s Lane Following Assist and Safe Exit Assist. Lane Following is essentially a smarter lane keeping assist while Safe Exit Assist warns occupants if there’s an oncoming vehicle when they attempt to open any of the vehicle’s doors.
The all-new Hyundai Santa Cruz will go on sale in the U.S. market this summer with production commencing at its Alabama plant this June.