Fuel economy figures for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz are officially out and posted to the EPA’s website. This being the only “compact” pickup with fuel economy estimates out, we expected excellent numbers. Of course, Ford will imminently enter the ring with its Maverick and shake things up with a supposed hybrid option (according to the truck’s badge in Ford’s teaser).
The Santa Cruz is no hybrid, though. There are two engine options available. A naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the base option, and it’s paired with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. This model achieves 21 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined. Following zero norms, the all-wheel-drive version improves on the front-driver’s figures. Highway fuel economy ticks up to 27 mpg, while the city and combined figures carryover from the front-wheel-drive pickup. We’re not sure why the all-wheel-drive Santa Cruz gets better fuel economy, as it’s normally the opposite case with cars that offer two-wheel and all-wheel drive. Regardless, the difference is so little that the EPA estimates your annual fuel costs will not be affected by choosing one over the other.
If you want more power, you’ll need to step up to the optional 2.5-liter turbo option that’s exclusively paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. This model sees a drop in city mileage to 19 mpg. However, the highway fuel economy matches the naturally aspirated model’s 27 mpg. You lose 1 mpg combined versus the base truck, as the turbo model comes in at 22 mpg combined.
We still don’t know what the Ford Maverick’s fuel economy will be, but the suggestion of a hybrid option has us thinking it will surely beat the Santa Cruz. Versus midsize pickups, the Santa Cruz has the advantage (in most cases). The Honda Ridgeline is the only other unibody competitor, and it comes in at 18/24/21 mpg. That’s a slim but sizable win. Ford is nipping at the Santa Cruz’s heels with a two-wheel-drive Ranger rated at 21/26/23 mpg. Of course, the Ranger with its 2.3-liter four-cylinder and body-on-frame construction is much more capable than the Hyundai at getting work done, too. The Santa Cruz does beat the base four-cylinder versions of the Toyota Tacoma (20/23/21 mpg) and Chevrolet Colorado (19/25/22 mpg), though.
If you want a Santa Cruz, Hyundai says the small pickup will go on sale this summer. Pricing is not out quite yet.