Compact pickup trucks are back, thanks to a pair of new models from pickup truck first-timer Hyundai and pickup sales king Ford. The 2022 Ford Maverick and 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz will launch at the same time and will compete head to head in the marketplace, but their real-world battle is still a few months away. For now, though, we can get a pretty good idea of how they’ll stack up by comparing their vital statistics and specifications.
How Big Are These New Compact Pickups?
Properly small pickups, known to fans as mini trucks, were big in the last century, but they long fell out of favor as buyers turned to full-size pickups in droves, and more recently to midsize pickups. As those trucks have gotten bigger, interest in smaller trucks—ones the same size as midsize pickups used to be—has grown. Enter the 2022 Ford Maverick and 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Both compact pickups are built on SUV platforms rather than traditional truck platforms. This means the Maverick is related to the Bronco Sport and Escape, while the Santa Cruz is related to the Tucson. You can think of them, in effect, as longer versions of those SUVs with open cargo areas.
The longer of the two, by a full 4.0 inches, is the Maverick. Most of that comes from a 2.8-inch-longer wheelbase. The Maverick is taller, too, by 2.0 whole inches. It is, however, narrower than the Santa Cruz by 2.6 inches. If you have a narrow garage or parking space, the Ford is your best bet. But when it comes to shallow garages, low ceilings, and street parking, the Santa Cruz is going to fit better.
But How Do They Compare on the Inside?
We can’t really say at the moment, because Hyundai hasn’t released any interior measurements for the 2022 Santa Cruz. The only thing we know for certain is, Hyundai chopped 4.8 inches of rear legroom compared to the Tucson, which gives us a figure of 36.5 inches. Ford provides comprehensive measurements, so we can compare Hyundai’s figure to the 2022 Maverick’s 35.9 inches of rear legroom on the standard hybrid model and 36.9 inches on the optional gas-powered model.
Not knowing any of the Santa Cruz’s other interior dimensions, all we can definitively say is your passengers will have basically the same amount of legroom in the rear seat of either truck.
How Much Room Do They Have in the Beds?
Let’s get down to real truck stuff. The 2022 Ford Maverick’s bed is slightly longer at 54.4 inches compared to the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz’s 52.1 inches. Both are wide enough to fit a sheet of standard 4×8 plywood lying down on top of the wheelwells, and both have tailgates you can set to a middle position to hold up that plywood. Both also have pockets to place wood beams in the bed in order to create a two-level load floor. Both trucks also offer power outlets in their beds.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz has a clear advantage in bed-storage space. Ford will install an optional storage cubby in one side of the Maverick’s bed, but the Hyundai comes standard with two, as well as a lockable underfloor trunk.
Those Are Small Beds. How Much Weight Can They Carry?
The new Maverick has a maximum payload capacity of 1,500 pounds; the new Santa Cruz tops out at 1,748 pounds (though this number may change, as Hyundai has already revised it multiple times). Payload is the combined weight of all passengers and cargo, and Hyundai points out the Santa Cruz is only rated to carry 660 pounds of its total in the bed. Ford, like most automakers, does not specify how much weight may be carried in the bed versus the cab.
Can These Little Trucks Tow?
Yes, they can. Any 2022 Ford Maverick can tow 2,000 pounds, and the all-wheel-drive model increases its towing capacity to 4,000 pounds with the optional 4K Tow package. The standard Santa Cruz can tow 3,500 pounds, and the all-wheel-drive model can pull 5,000 pounds.
Can They Go Off-Road?
Both trucks offer decent ground clearance, 8.3-8.6 inches for the Maverick and 8.6 inches for the Santa Cruz. Both also offer all-wheel-drive systems. Only Ford, though, offers an off-road FX4 package with all-terrain tires, protective skidplates, and recovery tow hooks. If you need to go deep into the wilderness, a 2022 Ford Maverick with the FX4 package is going to get you much farther.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Do They Get?
The Ford Maverick is the undisputed fuel economy champ here because the standard model is a hybrid. Ford estimates it will get 40/33/37 mpg city/highway/combined, and the company will only offer the hybrid Maverick in front-wheel drive at launch. The company has not released fuel economy estimates for the optional gas-only engine, which is more powerful and available with all-wheel drive.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz offers two gas-only engines. The standard engine is offered in both front- and all-wheel drive, and it returns an EPA-estimated 21/26-27/23 mpg city/highway/combined. An optional turbocharged engine is only available with all-wheel drive, and it gets 19/27/22 mpg city/highway/combined.
How Much Power Do Those Engines Make?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the powerhouse of this duo. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine makes 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque and uses an eight-speed automatic transmission. The optional 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 281 hp and 311 lb-ft and uses an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The Ford Maverick, as noted, comes standard with a hybrid powertrain. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine and electric motor make a combined 191 hp and perhaps 173 lb-ft. An optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes 250 hp and 277 lb-ft. The hybrid uses an electric continuously variable automatic transmission; the gas-only engine uses an eight-speed automatic.
What Do These Trucks Cost?
Ford has gone for the marketplace jugular, starting the 2022 Maverick at just $21,490. Hyundai hasn’t yet announced pricing for the 2022 Santa Cruz, but we believe it will cost several thousand dollars more to start.
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