- Small pickup trucks have arrived. The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are both new for 2022.
- Both pickups aim to offer truck capacity in a compact, low-cost package.
- We drove both models and compared them across price, bed size, driving experience and more.
Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz have arrived. Brand new ones for the 2022 model year both aim to do the same thing: offer pick-up options in a cheaper, smaller package.
But which one should you buy?
I tested both vehicles and can confirm that they are both great options for people who like the idea of a pickup but want something that is easier to drive and park than your standard, bulky truck.
Yet they each bring something different to the table. How Hyundai and Ford Compare:
Maverick wins the prize with a starting MSRP of $ 19,995. For the low outlay, however, you do not get basic amenities like cruise control and electric mirrors. Santa Cruz, by comparison, starts at around $ 24,000 and comes with several standard features, including lane keeping and Apple CarPlay wireless.
If you want a four-wheel-drive, turbocharged Santa Cruz, choose an upper trim level and pay around $ 36,000. The same is available at Maverick for around $ 23,000.
The trucks are almost identical in size: the Hyundai is 196 inches long, while the Maverick comes in at 200.
Both are compact enough to be fairly easy to toss around city streets or parallel parks.
Driveline and driving experience
Maverick is your best bet on fuel economy. Its standard hybrid driveline delivers 37 mpg combined, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Santa Cruz gets up to 23 mpg combined.
Four-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine are optional on both vehicles, the latter being recommended if you value speed and passing power. I found Santa Cruz’s 2.5-liter turbo fun and powerful. Maverick’s base engine, no matter how efficient it was, was slow to pick up speed.
Maverick buyers can add an FX4 offroading package, while Hyundai does not offer a similar one.
The beds of both trucks are roughly equal in size. Santa Cruz’s is about four feet long, while Maverick’s is 4.5 feet.
But Santa Cruz comes with small storage containers that flank the bed and a hold under the bed. You can pay extra for cubbies in Maverick. And both offer options like sockets, lighting and tonneau covers.
Both trucks are wide enough to fit 4×8 sheets of plywood across the wheel wells. And both encourage do-it-yourself improvements as partitions by providing slots in the bed that fit dimensional lumber.
Towing and towing
I did not manage to push the limits of the towing and towing ability of these trucks, but here are the numbers:
Maximum towing capacity is £ 4,000 for Maverick and £ 5,000 for Santa Cruz. That’s enough to tow a small motorhome or some ATV.
The payload is roughly equal: £ 1,564 for the Maverick and £ 1,609 for the Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz looks more daring and off-beat than Maverick, which has plenty of right angles and conventional truck proportions.
I felt cooler driving the Santa Cruz than the Maverick, but – as with most of the differences between these two trucks – it’s all a matter of preference.
If your priorities are fuel economy, price, and a truck built for work, the Maverick may be more your speed. If you’re more of a weekend warrior who wants something that will turn heads and carry your gear, Santa Cruz could be a better choice. Hyundai does not even call Santa Cruz a pickup truck, but rather a “sports adventure vehicle”.
But in reality, both models could excel in one of these roles. It’s your choice.