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Kelley Blue Book: Return of the compact pickup: the Hyundai Santa Cruz vs. the Ford Maverick

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz and the 2022 Ford Maverick mark the return of compact pickups to the U.S. market. Here’s how they compare.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz starting price: $25,000 (est.)

Above average: Powerful turbo engine option; available full-time AWD; tows up to 5,000 pounds.

Below average: Base engine’s fuel economy; short cargo bed.

Consensus: Hyundai
HYMTF,
-0.33%

calls the Santa Cruz a “Sport Adventure Vehicle,” but we’d say it’s a compact 4-door crossover SUV with a small pickup bed. Fuel economy underwhelms, but we like the power of the optional turbo engine and the robust towing capacity.

2022 Ford Maverick
2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT and 2L-EcoBoost AWD Lariat.

Ford

2022 Ford Maverick starting price: $19,995

Above average: Hybrid engine’s fuel economy; low starting price; available FX4 off-road gear.

Below average: Hybrid model is FWD only; most advanced safety features cost extra.

Consensus: The Ford
F,
-1.86%

Maverick is by far the most affordable and economical pickup out there, and yet it doesn’t seem like a toy. It has real-pickup styling and a good measure of utility as well.

Santa Cruz vs. Maverick: compact pickup revival

Hyundai Santa Cruz

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is based on the unibody platform of the Hyundai Tucson SUV, but it’s wider and just over a foot longer with a 4.5-foot cargo bed. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 190 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder turbo in the upper trims cranks out 275 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

See: Review: Hyundai’s first pickup, the 2022 Santa Cruz

The base engine’s fuel economy is a somewhat disappointing 23 mpg overall, while the turbo is only 1 mpg lower. Either engine can be had with FWD or AWD. With the turbo, the Santa Cruz can tow 5,000 pounds, while the base engine is rated  for 3,500 pounds.

See: The best cars for new college grads

The Santa Cruz is offered in SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and Limited trim levels. Standard equipment includes wireless Apple
AAPL,
+1.80%

CarPlay/Android Auto, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-keep assist, and Safe Exit Warning. The SEL gets Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, heated seats, and a power driver’s seat.

The SEL Premium comes with the turbocharged engine, Hyundai’s digital key, dual-zone automatic climate control, and LED headlights. The Limited trim benefits from a 10.25-inch touch-screen display, digital instrument cluster, and Hyundai’s Blind-Spot View Monitor. The cargo bed’s handy features include a lockable/retractable/removable tonneau cover, an under-floor storage well, and an in-bed power outlet.

Ford Maverick

The 2022 Ford Maverick is a new 4-door pickup that’s about a foot shorter than the Ranger. It uses a unibody platform and a front-drive-based layout, with all-wheel drive optional. The cargo bed is 4.5 feet long, and 4-foot building materials fit inside riding atop the wheel wells.

The standard powertrain is a 4-cylinder hybrid that Ford estimates will get up to 40 mpg in the city. Output is 191 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive only, though.

An optional turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with an 8-speed automatic is good for 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft. It can be had with AWD and increases the tow rating from 2,000 to 4,000 pounds. An FX4 off-road package adds skid plates, hill-descent control, tow hooks, and a trailer hitch.

Trim levels are XL, XLT, and Lariat, plus a limited-run First Edition. An 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hotspot, two USB ports, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and standard. The Maverick’s cargo bed boasts a standard bedliner, 12-volt outlets, and an available 110-volt outlet, but there’s no under-floor storage.

Similarities

Compact footprint; 4-door cab; bed size; payload capacity.

2021 Ford Maverick advantages

Low starting price; standard hybrid engine’s fuel economy; traditional pickup styling; FX4 off-road package.

2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz advantages

AWD available with either engine; turbo 4-cylinder power; towing capacity; standard advanced safety features; available tech; long warranty.

Also see: This is the full-size pickup that costs the least over 5 years

Which one is right for me?

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz shares a lot of the amenities and characteristics of the new 2022 Hyundai Tucson on which it is based. It’s basically a sporty compact SUV with the utility of a pickup.

The 2021 Ford Maverick’s appeal lies in its ultra-low starting price and its great gas mileage. It’s a viable choice for buyers who want more traditional pickup styling but thought a new truck was out of reach.

Compare the specs:

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz 2022 Ford Maverick
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter I4 2.5-liter hybrid I4
Horsepower 190 hp 191 hp  @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 180 lb-ft 155 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission 8-spd automatic CVT
Fuel Economy 23 mpg (21 city/26 hwy) 37 mpg (40 city/33 hwy) EST.
Also Available 2.5-liter turbo I4; AWD 2.0-liter turbo I4; AWD
Specs
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 10 years/100,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety n/a n/a
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 118.3 inches 121.1 inches
Overall Length 195.7 inches 199.7 inches
Width 75.0 inches 72.6 inches
Height 66.7 inches 68.7 inches
Turning Diameter n/a 40.0 feet
Headroom, Front n/a 40.3 inches
Headroom, Rear n/a 39.5 inches
Legroom, Front n/a 42.8 inches
Legroom, Rear n/a 35.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Front n/a 57.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear n/a 55.6 inches
Cargo bed length 52.1 inches 54 inches
Max Payload 1,410 pounds 1,500 pounds
Max Towing 5,000 pounds 4,000 pounds

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

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