Is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Reliable?

  • By: Sean Cooper

Many people pay close attention to what Consumer Reports says about brand new vehicles and how it rates them, and rightly so. However, if you’re holding off from buying a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz due to its low rating, this is why you should ignore the low Consumer Reports rating for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

The overall Consumer Reports Rating considers several elements, one of which is a vehicle’s predicted reliability. Because the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a brand new model with no track record, Consumer Reports has had to use the reliability rating of the Hyundai brand as a whole. That relatively low score carries considerable weight for the overall rating, so the Santa Cruz has a low overall rating of just 59 out of 100.

What Consumer Reports says about the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

If you put the questionable reliability rating for the Santa Cruz of just 2 out of five to one side for a moment, CR is actually relatively complimentary about the new Hyundai pickup truck. The publication gave the 2022 Santa Cruz a 77 out of 100 for its road test, four out of five for acceleration, and 4 out of 5 for predicted owner satisfaction.

CR had to include a predicted reliability score in its overall rating because that’s what it does. However, there is no historical evidence for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz to generate an accurate rating. The only thing Consumer Reports could do then was to use Hyundai’s brand reliability rating, which turned out to be bad news for the Santa Cruz.

On the report’s page, Consumer Reports has a section titled “No Detailed data Available.” This section states:

“Consumer Reports obtains its reliability data from a questionnaire that is sent to subscribers. In the questionnaire, we ask subscribers to note any problems with their cars that occurred in the past 12 months. They are asked to identify problems that they considered serious (because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime).

A typical model has about 200 to 400 samples for each model year. For some model years, typically those of older or less popular cars, we do not have a large enough sample size to provide results of statistical confidence.”

Although it doesn’t state it expressly, the same will inevitably apply to a brand new vehicle that has been around long enough for 200 to 400 samples to be submitted. This is why the overall CR report for the Hyundai Santa Cruz is flawed.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz recalls

At the time of writing, there’s already been one recall issued for the Hyundai Santa Cruz by the NHTSA. The recall isn’t explicitly aimed at the Santa Cruz as it also includes specific versions of the Santa Fe SUV.

The recall summary states, “Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) is recalling certain 2022 Santa Fe and Santa Cruz vehicles. The oil supply pipe to the turbocharger may crack, which could result in an oil leak in the engine compartment.”

The fix for the issue is for dealers to replace the turbocharger oil supply pipe free of charge, and owner notification letters will start arriving from May 27, 2022. Alternatively, owners can contact Hyundai customer service for information quoting recall number 222.

What’s the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz like?

There’s no reason to be put off buying a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz if you want one, but are you sure what you’re going to be getting? In the strictest technical terms, the Santa Cruz might be a pickup truck, but it’s no rival for an F-150 or even a Chevy Colorado.

Although the Hyundai Santa Cruz bed is being widely praised for its versatility, like the rest of the truck, it’s not exactly big. There are clever storage solutions and even built-in steps for easy access to the load space, but the size of objects it can accommodate is severely limited.

To be fair, Hyundai doesn’t even go as far as to describe the Santa Cruz as a truck but instead refers to it as a “sport adventure vehicle.” The closest contemporary rival of the Santa Cruz is probably the Ford Maverick (good luck getting one of those this year), but the Hyundai is much closer in design and functionality to the legendary Chevy El Camino.

On the plus side, the Santa Cruz drives and handles like a car and comes with the kind of safety and convenience features you expect to find in a family var. It’s small and maneuverable in tight urban spaces, and it can feel pretty fast when equipped with the available turbocharged engine.

With the standard 2.5-liter inline-four engine, the Santa Cruz develops a modest 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque, which goes to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds, and the maximum payload is 600 pounds with the base engine.

However, that increases to a maximum tow rating of 5,000 with the more powerful 2.5-liter turbo-four, which develops 281 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. and comes mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

What’s wrong with the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz?

If you are looking at the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz as a small pickup truck, there are several downsides you need to consider.

  • Limited off-road capability
  • A tiny bed
  • Sub-par fuel economy
  • Not especially affordable, particularly the top trim level

Those reasons could lead many buyers to look elsewhere, but what about the other side of the equation?

What’s right with the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz?

I have no problem claiming the way the Santa Cruz looks is its finest attribute. I think the Hyundai’s rugged, futuristic, and unique styling is absolutely sensational, and I’d buy one for that reason alone. Then again, I don’t need a 12,000-pound towing capacity or a 2,000-pound payload.

The strong points of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruze are:

  • Stunning exterior styling
  • Clever storage solutions
  • Urban-chic design
  • Lively turbocharged performance
  • Maximum 5,000-pound towing capacity

Should you buy a 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe?

If you like the way the Santa Cruz looks and it suits your (modest) needs, you should definitely go out and buy one if you can get your hands on one. It’s the pickup truck for those who don’t really need a pickup truck, but they do need or want a little more flexibility than an SUV of a similar size might offer.

Prices for a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz start from as little as $24,440, but you can also pay more than $40,170 for a high-spec Limited model.