The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz has finally seen the light of day. It was about time, given all the fuzzy photos and hype prior to dropping today. More like a dull thud than a big bang, but here it is.
Hyundai describes the Santa Cruz as groundbreaking, and that may be so. Tabbed a sport adventure vehicle, it’s meant for urban consumers who want to be outdoors. They just can’t bring themselves to live where Uber Eats and Doordash can’t deliver.
We’ve just cut through its entire reason for being. Maybe the trick grille with hidden lights that can only be seen when it’s lit is the Santa Cruz’s signature. It could also be the voluminous hood and wheel arches, the latter armor-like. We should be much more enamored than we are, but ‘designed in California’ isn’t that big a deal.
There’s a 2.5-liter, in-line four-banger with direct-injection, 190 horsepower, and 180 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s hooked to an eight-speed auto transmission, mostly for efficiency. Then there’s a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine, with 275+ HP, and 310+ lb-ft of torque. The turbo’s mated to an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters, presumably to help with responsiveness. Both drivetrains are connected to HTRAC, Hyundai’s all-wheel-drive system. Until we have the opportunity to get a Santa Cruz out in nasty weather, it’s there to make you think you’ll be okay in snow or on ice. A Sport setting provides more torque to the rear wheels, though not enough to get the Cruzer in the next “Fast And The Furious” installment.
The Santa Cruz is, in a pickup truck sort of way, meant to do more than it should. Take towing for example. The normally-aspirated four-cylinder has a 3,500-pound rating, and the Turbo model? It gets a 5,000-pound rating.
How much praise can be heaped on the interior? Design teams focus on the number of cupholders, part of the selection process.
The center stack’s home to the infotainment screen, and an optional digital cluster. Makes you think you’re better informed.
Stubby’s what the Santa Cruz is. There’s early registration in late April for sales that start this summer. The line forms to the left.