An SUV With a Pickup Bed

This one’s personal. I grew up in Santa Cruz County. My mom nevertheless life in the residence I grew up in, 20 minutes down the road from Santa Cruz. I surfed at Manresa, mountain-biked in Nisene Marks, rock-climbed at Pacific Edge. I am the target demographic for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, but does it do justice to its namesake, my hometown?

I am going to acknowledge, there was trepidation on my portion. The Santa Cruz seems to be excellent on paper, but it’s based on the new Tucson SUV, which we observed to be a triumph of kind in excess of operate in a recent comparison exam. It was sluggish and rode harshly, but it appeared wonderful and was bursting at the seams with style and tech. Does the Santa Cruz compact pickup truck experience the exact fate?

Fantastic to Drive—at The very least in Selected Trims

Five minutes powering the wheel of this compact truck places that fear to rest, so extensive as you pop for one particular of the major two trims. The Santa Cruz will come as a front-wheel-generate truck with a by natural means aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, but you can upgrade equally elements, incorporating all-wheel drive and a turbocharger. Hyundai only furnished a turbocharged all-wheel-generate design for this assessment, so we cannot tell you for sure the foundation model does not go through the Tucson’s journey and electricity deficiencies.

We can absolutely inform you the prime products will not. All tricked out, the Santa Cruz rides and drives wonderfully. Some pickup vehicles struggle to trip nicely with no any load in the bed, but not the Santa Cruz. On the bumpy streets of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the worn-out concrete of Bay Region freeways, the minor truck rides wonderfully. From behind the wheel, the Santa Cruz compact pickup drives like a much better SUV than the Tucson. The only reminder you are driving a truck is the mail slot of a rear window, a prevalent challenge even amid larger sized midsize pickups.

We can choose an educated guess about the foundation engine’s efficiency, nevertheless. Aside from design-certain programming, the common powertrain is identical to the 1 in the Tucson we tested, only in the SUV it has to move a auto which is at the very least 200 kilos heavier when in the same way geared up. That thing essential 9.3 seconds to hit 60 mph from a stop, and efficiency-minded transmission programming made it truly feel even slower. We can only hope the foundation Santa Cruz is tuned for performance, or it is going to be a genuine pet with any equipment in the back again.

Dwelling the Way of living

Putting equipment in the bed is the full place. Hyundai is adamant: This is not a truck for truck people. If you do not think it truly is a actual truck, it’s not for you. It is really for persons who never want to park or fill up a complete-sizing or even midsize pickup but who are tired of cramming their bike in the back again of an SUV or lifting it on to the roof of their auto.

This I get. When I lived in Santa Cruz, I drove a coupe and only surfed at the beach front that was inside of going for walks length from my household. If I wanted to mountain bike, I experienced to trip to the condition park. Finding the board or the bicycle into or on to the vehicle was also substantially of a problem. If I could’ve thrown either in a cargo bed, it would have been a activity changer. That is what Hyundai is heading for, and if that and a run to the yard centre are all you would ever use a pickup for, the Santa Cruz succeeds. The 4-foot mattress is just extensive adequate to suit your bike or shortboard or hang either in excess of the tailgate. The Honda Ridgeline-style trunk under the mattress ground is just major plenty of to stow a wetsuit or muddy shoes.

Then you will find that manufacturing unit-built, lockable, roll-up steel mattress protect. If the Nextdoor app is accurate, a good deal of folks in my place have equipment stolen from their truck beds on a common foundation. I you should not like leaving just about anything beneficial in the back again seat of a pickup, a great deal a lot less the mattress. A protected space of that sizing delivers big peace of thoughts in the city. Same thing when camping. A single can fill the back seat of a comprehensive-dimensions pickup to the roof with tenting equipment really very easily, and this truck’s back again seat is a ton more compact than that. The storage below the back again seat, below the mattress, and in the locked mattress provides an all-new level of vehicular Tetris to master.

Filling the rear seat with gear shouldn’t be much too really hard. By the quantities, the Santa Cruz has virtually the exact exact same rear legroom as a midsize Honda Ridgeline, but we are not sure how Hyundai came up with that measurement. The again seat of a Ridgeline is huge in contrast to other midsize trucks’, and the one in the Santa Cruz is certainly cozier. Older people with short legs will have lots of house, but the extensive-legged are likely to be squeezed, particularly if the people up entrance are tall, also. The windowsill that sharply rises by your outboard shoulder also contributes to a sensation of snugness. At least it can be a quiet journey right up until a bit of wind sound all-around the door mirrors crops up at interstate speeds.

Off the Beaten Route

If the trailhead or camping internet site you are headed to is farther off the beaten path than a dust road, you happen to be going to have to have new tires. The bundled Michelin Primacy all-seasons are great for daily driving, but they’re typically ineffective off-street. Even having heading on a steep grime highway sees wheelspin from all four corners as the rubber struggles fo
r grip. Hyundai’s H-Trac all-wheel-push technique is quick to transfer power to the rear wheels, but it can only do so considerably when all those wheels have as minimal traction to perform with as the fronts. The truck’s ground clearance and method, breakover, and departure angles are all respectable, so with greater tires, the Santa Cruz could most likely make it a great deal farther into the woods.

On the pavement, where this small truck will invest most of its time, the uplevel Santa Cruz grips well and handles improved. By the two truck and SUV criteria, it drives astonishingly sporty with immediate steering and exceptional entire body regulate. The only point undercutting Hyundai’s boasting about the nimbleness and maneuverability of this truck is how wide it feels in the lane. Only an inch and a fifty percent broader than a Tucson, the Santa Cruz is almost five inches narrower than an F-150, but it will not feel like it. Up slender mountain roads and trails, it feels like you actually need to have to be vigilant to keep among the lane markers.

Encouraging you, really should you put down enough income, is a complete suite of active and passive security devices, up to and including lane maintain steering support and adaptive cruise command. Flip them all on, and a very long highway vacation out to a nationwide park is a breeze. Some might want to switch off the blind spot cameras, however. The live video clip that appears in the instrument cluster every time you use your turn sign can be distracting, and in this truck, a blend of lousy camera angles and small visuals make it typically unhelpful.

Feature Time

When the options are fantastic, though, they’re wonderful. The electronic instrument cluster and widescreen infotainment procedure are so significantly ahead of the competitiveness in graphic style it is really not even funny. A lot less can be said for the flat panel that houses the touch-sensitive HVAC and radio controls. They respond to each and every contact quickly like a telephone, but there is certainly no making use of them devoid of getting your eyes off the highway. Also, totally no a single would like a volume control you have to poke continuously. Even a touch slider is greater. But truly, just set the knob again. If you want to poke a display, use the Blue Connection application that allows you commence the vehicle, set the HVAC, and verify the fuel stage from your phone, which can also act as the motor vehicle essential.

That is the other section of Hyundai’s pitch. Indeed, representatives will concede, the Santa Cruz commences hundreds of pounds greater than the impending Ford Maverick and just about equal to a midsize truck, but it doesn’t surface as however Ford will give nearly as numerous superior-tech devices, and the midsizers surely never. Those people goods and the Santa Cruz’s sleeker, nontraditional truck styling are what you happen to be paying for. If you happen to be employed to modern SUVs and all their ease capabilities, you are going to be pleased to know you usually are not offering just about anything up going to a pickup, as lengthy as it is a Santa Cruz. From a 360-diploma digicam method to heated and cooled seats and wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Car, the Santa Cruz has all the bells and whistles you don’t obtain in a midsize truck and pay substantially, significantly a lot more for in a full-measurement truck.

Ford does have Hyundai licked in gas economy, though, thanks to the Maverick’s common hybrid powertrain. Hyundai could unquestionably put in the Tucson Hybrid’s batteries and motors in the Santa Cruz but for now, is not going to dedicate to executing so. Which is far too poor, because the truck’s gasoline financial system truly is not significantly greater than a midsize pickup’s. On the other hand, it’s also effectively the similar as the Tucson’s, so if you happen to be the target consumer investing in a tiny SUV on one particular of these, you would not give up your carlike gasoline overall economy.

Turbo Time

If you can hold your foot out of it, of program. The optional turbocharged motor has an overabundance of midrange torque that’ll get you going in a hurry when you have to have it. The throttle’s tuned so you can cruise all-around town easily with just more than enough get up and go, but set your foot in it a little bit additional, and all the electrical power is there to execute a go or climb a hill. The standard twin-clutch automatic paired with this motor shifts immediately and unobtrusively, but it from time to time appears to be to hold gears more time than it needs to when you’re up to speed and have lifted off the accelerator. Conversely, it tends to upshift a little too soon when you happen to be ascending a quality and will need to lift off the fuel momentarily for a corner.

What about major truck stuff, while? That respond to will have to hold out for yet another assessment when we can get a trailer on the hitch and a hefty load in the bed. On paper, the Santa Cruz has strengths in both payload and towing around the Maverick. Heck, the specs are as superior or greater than all those of some midsize vehicles. As quickly as we’re in a position, we’ll see how properly this compact truck basically drives when you load it up.

As an SUV substitution, however, it hits all the ideal notes. It appears to be and drives like an SUV, it has all the most up-to-date features accessible on a mainstream vehicle, and the mattress is a lot more than practical ample to support outdoorsy hobbies. Even if it won’t perform for ranchers and contractors, the Santa Cruz will be a winner for the intended buyer. Each town dweller who spends weekends out in the woods, in the hills, or at the ocean but concerns about the sizing of their assigned parking house at their condominium owes it to by themselves to examine out this new course of compact pickup, since the Santa Cruz does precisely what it promises.

If I at any time go back to Santa Cruz, I might be so content with the practicality I would not feel negative for a minute driving a truck named just after the town. Acquire it from a hometown boy, the Hyundai Santa Cruz has acquired its name.