Clash of the Compact Trucks: Ford Maverick vs Hyundai Santa Cruz

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Hyundai Santa Cruz/Image Credit: Hyundai – Ford Maverick/Image Credit: Ford

The compact pickup truck segment of vehicles is back courtesy of automotive powerhouses Hyundai and Ford. Compact pickup trucks have all but fallen out of favor due to the popularity of full-size and mid-size trucks. If a truck that’s more city-friendly and budget-friendly is something you’ve been waiting for, the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are here to help. While these two newcomers may be the only options you have in this reanimated segment, you’ll still need to choose between them. Here’s our head-to-head comparison to help you make your decision.

Power and Efficiency

Coming standard on the all-new Ford Maverick is a hybrid powertrain capable of 191 HP and 155 lb.-ft of torque which is only available in front-wheel drive. This hybrid setup aims for 40 MPG in the city and 500 miles of range. In need of more power and capability? A 2.0-liter turbo engine putting out 250 HP and 277 lb.-ft of torque comes as an option as well. This setup can also be equipped with all-wheel drive.

With the Hyundai Santa Cruz, the standard setup is a 2.5-liter engine putting out 190 HP and 180 lb.-ft of torque estimated to get 21 MPG in the city. A more powerful option is also available in a turbocharged engine with 275 HP and 310 lb.-ft of torque. All-wheel drive will be offered on both engine setups.

Do you value a more powerful vehicle? Then the Santa Cruz is your champion. If efficiency is your focus, then the Ford Maverick is the more appealing option.

Towing and Capability

Hyundai Santa Cruz/Image Credit: Hyundai – Ford Maverick/Image Credit: Ford

The Ford Maverick’s standard hybrid setup is capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds while its turbo engine option with the 4K Tow package can tow up to 4,000 pounds. Payload capacity on the Maverick comes in at 1,500 pounds.

With the Hyundai Santa Cruz’s standard engine, you can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Hyundai’s more powerful turbocharged engine is then capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds. The Santa Cruz will have a payload capacity of 1,748 pounds.

In this head-to-head battle, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is the more capable out of the two trucks.

Cargo and Interior Space

Ford Maverick/Image Credit: Ford – Hyundai Santa Cruz/Image Credit: Hyundai

A 54.4-inch-long bed featuring integrated power outlets comes on the all-new Ford Maverick. This bed will have stamped slots for use of 2x4s or 2x6s to create a divided space, elevated storage, and more. There are also built-in threaded holes and a variety of tie-downs to offer versatility to new Maverick owners. Within the interior, Ford’s new truck boasts a 5-passenger capacity with a storage bin underneath the rear bench seat.

Hyundai’s new Santa Cruz truck has a bed that is 52.1 inches long with integrated power outlets as well. The Santa Cruz, like the Maverick, will also allow for the use of wood beams to create a two-level load floor. In the Santa Cruz, there is enough seating for five people and a seat-length storage bin hidden under the rear seats.

When it comes to cargo and interior space, the Ford Maverick is the winner by way of having a longer bed that comes with the added versatility of built-in threaded holes and tie-downs.

Safety and Connectivity

When it comes to safety features, the Maverick comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot 360 allowing for automatic emergency braking and automatic high beams. Stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, lane centering, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert also come as an optional package.

For Hyundai’s offering, every Santa Cruz comes standard with lane-keep assist, driver attention monitoring, and front automatic emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection. Additional options include adaptive cruise control, side and rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. Both trucks will come standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

If safety and connectivity are major components of your decision between these trucks, you’ll be happy to know that the standard safety and connectivity options on both vehicles have made this category a tie.


Ford Maverick/Image Credit: Ford – Hyundai Santa Cruz/Image Credit: Hyundai

The 2022 Ford Maverick will be offered at three different trim levels with the base XL model starting at only $19,995. The following XLT and Lariat trims come in at $22,280 and $25,490 respectively with an FX4 off-road package also available for each.

Hyundai’s 2022 Santa Cruz comes with four different trim options and its base SE model starting at $23,990. Trims then go through the SEL, SEL Premium, and Limited options. The Limited trim of the Hyundai Santa Cruz will start at $39,720. Optional all-wheel drive will be available for the SEL Premium and Limited trims as well.

Ford’s all-new Maverick truck is the clear winner when it comes to price over the Hyundai Santa Cruz, emerging as the most budget-friendly option.

After comparing Ford and Hyundai’s new offerings, it is fair to say that the excitement for these new compact pickup trucks is well-deserved. Ultimately, the battle between these modern compact pickup trucks comes down to the buyer’s needs. For someone looking for the most features per dollar, the Ford Maverick may be the more attractive option. Buyers looking for higher hauling capabilities could see the Hyundai Santa Cruz as their preferred choice. Once you’ve chosen the compact truck to fit your needs, all that’s left is to choose the color that best suits your style.

Adrien Perucho

Adrien Perucho

Born in the Philippines and moving to Massachusetts at the young age of 8 years old, Adrien has gathered a multitude of life experiences from which to draw inspiration. In 2020, he graduated from Arizona State University’s Digital Culture program and found work in automotive marketing later that year. One day his talents will afford him the luxury of driving a new Porsche 911.