Two all-new compact trucks, the 2022 Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are about to arrive at a dealership near you. These models combine the easy-to-drive nature of a crossover SUV with a truck’s towing and hauling capabilities. But which is the ultimate compact truck? Our comparison guide does a little detective work.
Best Price: 2022 Ford Maverick
For the best deal on a compact truck, check out the Maverick first and foremost. Ford’s all-new small truck starts at just $19,995. The most luxurious trim level starts at $25,490, giving you lots of extra comforts and conveniences at a great rate.
By comparison, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz will cost you a little bit more. Its base model starts at $23,990. And its top trim model, the Limited, starts at $39,720.
Raw Power: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
When it comes to truck-style muscle, the Santa Cruz takes the lead. Its standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine will impress you with its 190 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. With this engine, this little truck can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The Santa Cruz’s optional engine, another 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, boosts total output to 275 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque. It helps the Santa Cruz tow max loads of up to 5,000 pounds.
Max payloads vary according to equipment, but the Santa Cruz can haul up to 1,748 pounds of camping gear or weekend bags.
The 2022 Ford Maverick also offers two engine options, one of which can be a thrifty hybrid. The Maverick’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is paired with an electric motor to create a total of 191 horses and 155 pound-feet of torque. This hybrid powertrain helps the Maverick tow up to 2,000 pounds.
The optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offers heftier performance, with 250 horses and 277 pound-feet of torque. Upgrade to this engine for max tow ratings of 4,000 pounds. The Maverick’s towing package will help you haul heavier trailers with confidence, thanks to its oil cooler, upgraded radiator, and trailer brake controller.
However you equip your Maverick, this small pickup truck will be able to haul a minimum of 1,500 pounds.
Thriftiest Ride: 2022 Ford Maverick
Thanks to the Maverick’s nifty hybrid engine, Ford’s new compact truck will help you save at the pump. Although official EPA ratings aren’t out yet, Ford says its new truck will earn 37 mpg combined (41 city/33 highway). The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz trails behind, earning up to 23 mpg combined (21 city/27 highway).
Truck-Style Utility: 2022 Ford Maverick
Both compact trucks are built on crossover-style platforms. The Maverick is based on the Ford Escape, and the Santa Cruz is based on the Hyundai Tucson. These underpinnings make them especially nimble in a tight spot, perfect for both city streets and narrow trails.
While the all-new Hyundai Santa Cruz is designed for city dwellers who limit their adventures to the weekend, though, the all-new Ford Maverick is meant for anyone who wants a smaller version of a rugged pickup truck.
The Maverick’s 4.5-foot Flexbed is highly configurable, with a multi-height tailgate that can be combined with the wheel wells to create storage shelves. The bed also offers D-rings and movable in-bed rails to organize your gear. And there’s even a small cubby for your tools. The multi-position tailgate can even extended the load floor from 4.5 feet to 6 feet.
The Santa Cruz bed is slightly smaller, with a 4.2-foot load floor, and it’s not quite as versatile. But it does include a lockable tonneau cover and an underfloor storage compartment. This compartment even includes a drain, so you can use it as an ice chest.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is pretty cool, but the 2022 Ford Maverick is the real game-changer, giving you everything you didn’t even know you want in an extra-small pickup truck.
It’s notable that Hyundai isn’t even calling the Santa Cruz a truck, but rather a Sport Adventure Vehicle. It’s the Ford Maverick that’s built for all the things we associate with trucking — off-roading, hauling heavy gear, and towing trailers — just on a smaller scale than ever before.