By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT, MI – Hyundai is pitching its Santa Cruz as a sports adventure vehicle.
This is the deal. The Santa Cruz looks like a small pick-up truck, but it doesn’t have the capability of a truck. Thus, Hyundai decided not to pitch attributes that the Cruz doesn’t have.
But it can carry all sorts of stuff in the bed like bikes both pedal power and small motor bikes.
Our test vehicle had a retractable tonneau cover that slid over the bed creating more secured cargo space.
The cabin was enclosed. It was spacious, quiet, and comfortable.
From the front, the Santa Cruz had a hidden lighting signature visible in the grille when the lights were illuminated. The grille was cascading, there were also some elements of a skid plate in the lower front fascia. Both fenders and hood completed the rugged look.
The Santa Cruz’s A and C pillars have fast forward and rearward rakes that typical open-bed utility vehicles. We also had large 20-inch alloy wheels with a multifaceted triangle design. They were surrounded by armor-like wheel arches.
In the back, the horizontal “T” lighting signature was distinctive from anything on the road. The functional rear open bed area features secure, lockable in-bed storage, integrated corner bumper steps and a lockable tonneau cover, that was seamlessly integrated with the overall design.
The rear tail lamps were embossed with: “Designed in California” as a testament to the passion of Hyundai’s California-based design team. Small, discrete design details such as this can be found throughout the exterior and interior.
The cockpit focused on the driver but there was still a dual cockpit design. The 10-inch infotainment screen was edgeless. There was no cowl over the instruments, and it worked nicely. There was more storage space under the second-row seat.
We had the 2.5-lter four-cylinder engine that made 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to an eight-speed dual automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
This powertrain had some grunt to it, made the Cruz quick and it got 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg combined.
We also had all-wheel drive. The HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The Sport setting gave a more agile feel by sending more torque to the rear wheels.
Hyundai said the HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles.
The Sport setting gives a more agile feel by sending more torque to the rear wheels, for a sporty, dynamic experience. Our 2.5L Turbo AWD model boasts could tow up to 5,000 lbs.
There was LED lighting in the bed, a rear sliding glass, rear bumper corner steps, heated side mirrors and turn signals, self-leveling suspension, blind side collision avoidance, lane keeping assist, safe exit warning, rear cross traffic warning, and forward collision avoidance assist are come of creature comforts and safety equipment of the 2022 Santa Fe Cruz.
Our test vehicle had a sticker of $41,100 as tested.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com