The compact truck segment, which had been dormant for some time, experienced a resurgence in the 2022 model year with the introduction of both the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz. These compact pickups have made a significant impact on the market, demonstrating their popularity among consumers.
The potential for more competitors to join this revived segment is high, indicating a promising future for the compact truck category. However, as of now, the Maverick and Santa Cruz stand alone as the sole contenders in the small pickup market.
It’s intriguing to examine how their most recent updates stack up against each other, especially considering they are pioneering this revived segment.
Diverse Powertrain Options Available for Both Models
The 2024 models of the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick have brought about significant changes, particularly in the engine department.
|Vehicle Model||Engine Type||Horsepower||Torque (lb-ft)||Transmission||Drive Type||Additional Cost (if any)|
|Ford Maverick (Standard)||2.0-liter EcoBoost||250 hp||277 lb-ft||Eight-speed automatic||Front-wheel drive (standard), All-wheel drive (optional)||–|
|Ford Maverick (Optional)||2.5-liter Hybrid||191 hp||–||Continuously variable transmission||Front-wheel drive||$1,500|
|Hyundai Santa Cruz (Standard)||2.5-liter four-cylinder||191 hp||181 lb-ft||Eight-speed automatic||Front-wheel drive (standard), All-wheel drive (optional)||–|
|Hyundai Santa Cruz (Optional)||Turbocharged 2.5-liter||281 hp||311 lb-ft||Eight-speed automatic with dual-clutch system||Front-wheel drive (standard), All-wheel drive (optional)||–|
In the 2024 model year, the Maverick has restructured its powertrain lineup. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, which previously was an optional feature delivering 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, has now become the standard engine.
On the other hand, the 2.5-liter hybrid unit, which was the standard engine producing 191 hp, is now an optional feature for all three Maverick trims at an additional cost of $1,500. The non-hybrid Maverick comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and offers an all-wheel-drive option (front-wheel drive is standard), while the hybrid version comes with a continuously variable transmission and is exclusively front-wheel drive.
The Santa Cruz, on the other hand, also presents a variety of engine options, but all are gasoline-powered. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that generates 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. There’s also an optional turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that delivers a robust 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque.
Both Hyundai engines are coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission. However, the turbocharged engine benefits from a dual-clutch system.
The Santa Cruz comes standard with front-wheel drive, but an all-wheel drive is also an option.
Comparative Analysis: Hyundai Santa Cruz vs Ford Maverick Compact Trucks
|Feature||Hyundai Santa Cruz||Ford Maverick|
|Bed Size (length x width in inches)||48 x 53||54.4 x 53|
|Front Legroom (in inches)||41.4||42.8|
|Rear Head, Leg, and Shoulder Room||Slightly better than Maverick||Slightly less than Santa Cruz|
|Standard Towing Capacity (in pounds)||3,500||2,000|
|Maximum Towing Capacity (in pounds)||5,000||4,000|
|Seven-Pin Connector||Available with turbocharged engine model starting at $38,210||Available with EcoBoost engine and 4K Tow Package at $745|
|Ride Comfort||SUV-like, more compliant, and supple||Less compliant and supple than Santa Cruz|
The Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick are compact trucks that offer impressive capabilities despite their smaller size. Both vehicles are available only in extended cab versions and come with a single bed size.
They offer similar interior dimensions, with the Maverick providing slightly more front legroom, while the Santa Cruz offers a bit more space in the rear. When it comes to the bed size, the Maverick takes the lead with a length of 54.4 inches, compared to the Santa Cruz’s 48 inches.
However, both trucks have the same bed width of 53 inches.
In terms of towing capacity, the Santa Cruz outperforms the Maverick. It can tow 3,500 pounds with the standard engine and up to 5,000 pounds with an upgrade.
The Maverick, on the other hand, has a standard towing capacity of 2,000 pounds and can tow up to 4,000 pounds at maximum. It’s worth noting that the Santa Cruz requires an aftermarket trailer brake controller to reach these towing capacities, and this controller is not factory-installed.
Both trucks come standard with four-pin connectors. To get a seven-pin connector, Maverick buyers need to opt for the EcoBoost engine and the 4K Tow Package, which costs an additional $745. Santa Cruz buyers, meanwhile, need to choose a model with a turbocharged engine, which starts at $38,210.
Despite these differences, both trucks offer a comfortable ride. The Santa Cruz, in particular, offers an SUV-like ride, as it’s based in Tucson. This makes it more comfortable and smoother than the Maverick.
Ford Maverick: A More Economical Compact Truck Option
The Ford Maverick stands out as a more economical choice for compact truck buyers, particularly those looking to reduce their fuel expenses. Its optional hybrid powertrain delivers an impressive fuel efficiency of 37 combined miles per gallon (mpg), as per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings.
Even with the EcoBoost engine, the Maverick proves to be a more cost-effective option, offering up to 26 combined mpg. In contrast, the Hyundai Santa Cruz offers a maximum of 23 combined mpg with its standard engine.
When equipped with its turbocharged unit, the Santa Cruz’s fuel efficiency drops slightly to 22 combined mpg.
Hyundai Santa Cruz: Higher Price Tag, More Features, and Better Warranties
While the Ford Maverick is a more economical choice, the Hyundai Santa Cruz justifies its higher price tag with a wealth of additional features and superior warranty coverage. The 2024 Ford Maverick has a starting price of $23,400, whereas the base 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz is priced at $26,650.
The Santa Cruz offers five trim levels compared to the Maverick’s three, and the top-tier models can exceed the $40,000 mark. The Maverick’s highest-priced model, the Lariat, caps at $34,855.
Despite the higher cost, the Hyundai Santa Cruz provides excellent value for money. Its higher-end trims are packed with features and amenities that the Ford Maverick cannot match, regardless of the model or optional extras.
The base Santa Cruz model also offers more standard features, including a suite of driver aids like automatic forward emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with steering assist, and rear cross-traffic warning. In contrast, the Maverick only comes standard with automatic forward emergency braking.
Both base models come with eight-inch touchscreens, cloth upholstery, six-speaker audio systems, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. However, Santa Cruz’s interior is more luxurious and less austere.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz also has a significant advantage when it comes to warranties, which could offset its higher initial cost. The 2024 Santa Cruz comes with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, seven-year rust coverage, free maintenance for three years/36,000 miles, and free roadside assistance for five years.
In comparison, the Maverick offers a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and five years of rust protection, which seem quite modest in comparison.
In conclusion, both the 2024 Ford Maverick and the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz have made significant strides in the revived compact truck segment. Each offers unique advantages that cater to different buyer preferences.
The Maverick is notable for its affordable price and impressive fuel efficiency, making it a great option for those on a budget or seeking to save on fuel expenses. If you’re interested in reading about comparisons between cars, take a look at our article on the 2023 Ford F-150 vs the 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500.