2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz 2.5T avoids Convention

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UPDATE 11/21/10: This review has been updated with test results for a 2.5T model.

Entering the lucrative truck market is not for the faint of heart. Baja. by Subaru lasted four short years, Honda had to slaughter the looks of his Ridgeline to secure a seat at the table, and also Toyota T100 stumbled to become the V-8 powered Tundra. And who can forget the Ford Explorer Sport Trac? It would seem that to be successful in this segment, your truck looked better and behaved like, well, a truck.

In what could be an attempt to manage expectations, Hyundai he is not using the word “t” to describe his new entry, instead referring to it as a “Sport Adventure Vehicle”. Hyundai even goes so far as to claim the Santa Cruz It wasn’t designed as a midsize truck competitor, but one look at the package and it’s hard to classify it as anything else.

Andi HedrickCar and driver

Drive it and you are not so quick to use the “t” word. The Santa Cruz travels on an extended version of the Tucson the crossover platform, with A-pillars and a multilink suspension with self-leveling shock absorbers at the rear. Its 118.3-inch wheelbase (nearly 10 inches longer than the Tucson) contributes to a calm and composed ride, without any of the rear-end somersaults sometimes found in a full-size pickup with an empty bed. Maneuverability in the city is similar to that of a car. With a length of 195.7 inches and a width of 75.0 inches, the Santa Cruz fits easily into parking lots. Quickly driven along back roads with two lanes, the Santa Cruz is agile, staying relatively flat in the corners.

The high-end Limited example we tested had plenty of power to accompany its moves. Borrowed from the oldest Santa Fe, its 2.5-liter turbocharged in-line four delivers a significant output of 281 horsepower. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmits torque to all four wheels. Off the line, this powerplant will wait a beat before its turbo begins to charge, but it quickly builds a steam head, delivering a hefty 311 foot-pounds of torque from 1700 to 4000 rpm. respectable 6.0 seconds flat, and the quarter mile goes by in 14.5 seconds at 98 mph. Aided by a lightweight 4132-pound curb weight for a truck, that’s enough thrust to outrun all players in our latest comparison test of mid-sized pickups, which all weighed in excess of 4500 lbs. Likewise, the 0.82g of skate grip in our example and stopping 171 feet from 70mph would also have been enough for top marks in that rating.

Andi HedrickCar and driver

Lesser Santa Cruz models abandon the turbo and double clutch for a 191hp 2.5-liter and conventional eight-speed automatic. The base 2.5-liter models only 181 foot-pounds of torque and is something we’d skip. We haven’t tested that version yet, but in an all-wheel drive Tucson, the non-turbo 2.5-liter feels slow Time of 8.8 seconds at 60 mph. Front-wheel drive is standard here, with all-wheel drive a $ 1500 option. There is no hybrid variant, but as the Tucson features both hybrid and plug-in versions, we expect the closely related Santa Cruz to follow. example in the future. In terms of fuel economy, the standard 2.5-liter quattro has a slight advantage: a combined EPA estimate of 23 mpg versus the turbo model’s 22, although our test car averaged 30 mpg on our test on the highway at 75 mph, improving its highway estimate by 3 mpg.

Despite its Tucson bases, the Santa Cruz is capable of truck-like activities. All-wheel drive Turbo models are rated to tow 5000lbs, and even the basic front-wheel drive configuration can tow 3500lbs. Trailer Sway Control, a function of the stability control system, helps mitigate unwanted trailer movement and is standard on all models. Off-road excursions are also possible, as 8.6 inches of ground clearance is enough to get you into the tough stuff. A decent starting angle of 23.2 degrees will ensure you get out of the most moderately difficult situations without leaving the rear bumper on the trail. The journey itself may not be entirely smooth, as we’ve found that the stickiness of the Santa Cruz’s floor-mounted accelerator pedal can make it difficult to maintain a slow running speed.

Andi HedrickCar and driver

Despite the duality of purpose, the real make-or-break feature here is on the back. Where most truck beds are a blank canvas, this is more of an artists’ toolkit. Because the Santa Cruz is designed exclusively for the North American market, the development team worked to create the kind of usability and versatility that would appeal to the outdoor adventure set marketers love to target. The key to this mission is a dent-resistant (as opposed to stamped steel) molded composite bed, which allowed the team to utilize every square inch of space, whether it is inside, under or above the bed.

Packed with cubbies and hidden compartments, Santa Cruz’s plastic bed is more intricate than a puzzle box. Just like in the Honda Ridgeline, there is lockable underfloor stowage space located close enough to the tailgate that it’s easy to retrieve items without straining. The drain plugs make it a perfect place to store drinks on ice. More space is found on the sides of the bed behind the wheel arches, along with an AC outlet with enough current to run a small refrigerator. There are anchors throughout, as well as an adjustable cleat system. The space above the wheel arches is large enough to accommodate four-foot-wide plywood sheets.

Andi HedrickCar and driver

Hyundai is also crazy about accessories. Whatever item your hobby requires, the Santa Cruz can probably protect, store, and transport it. With the tailgate down, it can accommodate a couple of cross bikes or kayaks. A factory tonneau cover retracts into the front of the bed and is much easier to use than the folding jobs seen on some pickups. The pre-cut tabs on the top of the bed rails can be punched to add a canopy system. And when was the last time you saw a truck with roof-mounted cross bars?

Step inside and you’ll discover a refined interior largely shared with the Tucson. Reasonably quiet 67 decibels of noise creep into the cabin at 70 mph, with full-throttle shots registering just 72 decibels on our sound level meter. The instrument panel and infotainment screen are neatly hidden in the dashboard, rather than being mounted on top. The result is a clean, low-profile dashboard that allows for excellent forward visibility. The Santa Cruz accommodates tall passengers in both rows, with plenty of decent head and leg room in the rear. Like many pickups with small sliding rear windows, items going through are limited to things the size of footballs and six-packs.

Andi HedrickCar and driver

The central stack features all of Hyundai’s latest technologies. Most models feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen, with wireless Apple CarPlay and standard Android Auto. Exclusive to the Limited trim level is a 10.3-inch screen with navigation. As with the Tucson, the system with the larger screen cannot mirror the wireless phone; you will have to connect the phone as if it were 2018. Most of the controls surrounding the system are capacitive-touch; they look stylish but attract their fair share of fingerprints and aren’t as easy to use as the physical buttons found in other Hyundai models. In what is a first for the brand, a small Santa Cruz emblem adorns the controls for air recirculation and hill descent control. The interior and exterior of the Santa Cruz are topped with other Easter eggs.

Despite what Hyundai claims, those little illustrations really resemble the shape of a truck because the silhouette of the Santa Cruz says truck. But the exterior lacks the upright, boxy look that characterizes traditional pickups. The styling is a beefy, bulky take on Hyundai’s latest design language, and the big, bold grille filled with bright work is beautiful. But the Santa Cruz looks like a crossover turned pickup. It makes no attempt to hide its roots.

Andi HedrickCar and driver

Discussing how truck is or not might be fun for internet discussions (please comment below-And.), but the biggest hurdle for the Santa Cruz may be its price. The base SE versions start at $ 25,215 and include a good amount of standard equipment, but opting for the turbo requires an additional $ 10K. High-end Limited models start at a steep $ 40,945. This price becomes a problem when considering a world where dimensions are similar Ford Maverick exists. A Maverick starts at just over $ 20,000 and features a standard hybrid powertrain that’s fine for a combination of 37mpg EPA classification for fuel economy; the more powerful turbocharged versions top the yet frugal 26 mpg combined. The Maverick also features a more conventional truck style, which could make it more attractive to more conventional truck buyers. But Hyundai is taking another route: it remains to be seen whether its bet will pay off, so perhaps the question becomes: do you want a truck or do you want a Santa Cruz?

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