2022 Ford Maverick vs. Hyundai Santa Cruz Comparison Ends With an Honest Verdict


If pricing is of utmost importance, the Maverick wins this round hands down because the XL hybrid front-wheel-drive trim level starts at $19,995, excluding destination charge. The Santa Cruz, which features halogen headlights instead of LEDs, will set you back $23,990 for the base grade.

The acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) and quarter-mile performance aren’t really dealbreakers in this particular segment, but Edmunds does have a few numbers for us. The Maverick with the 2.0-liter turbo and AWD needs 6.4 and 14.7 seconds, while the Santa Cruz with the 2.5-liter turbo and AWD records 6.5 and 14.6 seconds.

Combined fuel economy favors the Maverick at 25 miles to the gallon (9.4 liters per 100 kilometers) compared to 22 miles per gallon (10.7 liters per 100 kilometers) because of the smaller engine and because it’s a little bit lighter at 3,767 pounds (1,709 kilograms) compared to 4,128 pounds (1,872 kilograms). In the real world, however, Edmunds squeezed out better gas mileage from the Santa Cruze, although not by much over the Maverick.

The payload and towing ratings are better for the Santa Cruz, but still, there are two small caveats we shouldn’t ignore. The Maverick is available with an integrated trailer brake controller, and the sides of the bed are significantly lower, therefore making it easier to reach in and grab items.

On the road, the steering is pretty vague in the Maverick as opposed to the more SUV-like Santa Cruz, according to Langness. “The Santa Cruz has better handling, more direct steering, and it’s quieter. It doesn’t have a rough ride, it’s not as choppy. It’s going to be more fun on curvy roads in the canyons.”Travis also makes a case for the better interior of the Hyundai, which matters a lot if you intend to drive a lot. What’s more, the less truck-looking model feels a little more refined and comfy in off-road scenarios.

Customers who intend to drive their kids to school in the Maverick or Santa Cruz are recommended to pick the latter as well because the Hyundai boasts more legroom and space in the footwells. Understandably, Travis prefers the Santa Cruz as the objectively better vehicle overall, while the Maverick gets the thumbs up for the trucky stuff and the macho styling.