5 Things Wrong with the All-New Hyundai Santa Cruz
Hyundai introduced the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz earlier this week to great acclaim. Apparently it’s the small pickup truck (or sport activity vehicle) the world has been clamoring for, yet few people outside the automotive universe seem to be talking about.
Almost immediately it becomes obvious there are 5 things wrong with the Santa Cruz. Some are easy to fix (electric version) and some aren’t. All should affect your decision to buy a 2022 Santa Cruz.
(That's not to say we totally dislike the Santa Cruz. There are also 5 good things to know about the Santa Cruz that should be considered as well.)
The first thing is Hyundai isn’t a pickup company. Sure, the Santa Cruz is basically a Hyundai Tucson underneath. However, the rest of the Santa Cruz is all new for Hyundai and the team at the Hyundai plant in Alabama. There are bound to be issues with the 2022 model that will be fixed for the 2023 model year. Be patient and wait a year. Let the kinks get worked out.
The second thing is the choice of engines. The 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injected, turbocharged engine from the Hyundai Kona would be the better choice because its low-end peak torque delivery seems better suited to a sport activity vehicle, which isn’t built for speed. Also, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission just seems to make more sense.
The third issue is the targeted market: urban dwellers. They’re a myth, especially in light of the pandemic when people moved out of cities in great numbers. The 2022 Santa Cruz will sell in great numbers among the people who don’t need marketing to. The challenge comes with the 2023 year and beyond.
The fourth issue is it’s a four-door sport activity vehicle. More room could have been gained in the bed if this was a two-door vehicle with a small interior cargo area that could seat two kids in a pinch. It’s an educated guess but the market for the Santa Cruz isn’t going to be families; it’s going to be active couples with no kids. A coupe, so to speak, would make the bed more functional.
The fifth issue is the choice of powertrains. Where is the electric option? Hyundai is on a massive move to dominate the electric vehicle market globally. It would have been a home run to unveil the Santa Cruz EV from the start. It has the electric vehicle platform technology. By 2025 Hyundai aims to sell 1 million electric vehicles globally. It took a giant step toward that goal with the reveal of a 10-vehicle EV lineup. It should have been 11 vehicles.
What do you think? Are there other issues that come to mind? Are these issues we raised incorrect? Comment below.
Keith Griffin covers Hyundai and Kia at Torque News. He has been writing continuously about cars since 2002. Keith used to be a researcher/writer for US News & World Report, as well as numerous car sites, including Carfax and Car Gurus, and a contributor to The Boston Globe. Most recently, Keith was the managing editor for American Business Media. Follow Keith at @indepthauto on Twitter, on @LinkedIn and on his Indepth Auto Facebook page.