A blue 2022 Ford Maverick is shown from the side parked in a city.

2022 Ford Maverick vs Hyundai Santa Cruz: Which Is the Better Compact Commuter?

Just because you’re interested in a pickup truck doesn’t mean you want a hulking, robust towing machine that’s difficult to maneuver and packed with too much power that you simply don’t need. When you crave a commuter with remarkable efficiency, a couple of compact pickups come to mind. Comparing the 2022 Ford Maverick vs 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz will reveal two models that were designed to give frequent travelers more options when it comes to their trusty travel companions.

If you want a smooth, controlled ride, optimal efficiency, and loads of features to make any commute more enjoyable, these top trucks are prepared to deliver an inspiring ride. We’re here to help you make a better decision when you desire a pickup truck that can perform well in stop-and-go traffic, long rides, and everyday work, and these trucks came to compete. So, when it comes to the 2022 Ford Maverick vs 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, get ready to see which truck winds up at the top for your everyday travel needs.

Ride Quality & Comfort

It doesn’t matter if you’re trekking into the city for work, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or you have an hour-long drive into the next county each day, the time you spend behind the wheel matters. Not only do you want to ensure that your pickup truck is delivering a smooth ride, but you also want to sit back and be comfortable. After all, you never know what your commute has in store for you, and it’s best to be prepared for anything. And although both the Maverick and Santa Cruz are new additions for the 2022 model year, they’re already making waves in the industry.

The Maverick began to wow us from the moment we laid eyes on it, and upon finding out that its base engine is a hybrid, we were even more impressed. Combined with the continuously variable transmission, you’ll be able to feel a difference during your journey as it delivers both power and maneuverability that simply can’t be rivaled. Its compact size makes it easy to navigate even the densest traffic, and when you want to enjoy a calm and pleasing ride, the Maverick’s interior is ready to delight. Depending on the trim level you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy basic comfort or work your way up to plush appointments to really get cozy during your commute. Enjoy a leather-wrapped steering wheel, ambient lighting, and pure sophistication in its top trims, and when you want to sprawl out and relax, you’ll be able to do so in its spacious cabin.

For its high price, you would expect a bit more out of the Santa Cruz, but unfortunately, you may be a little disappointed. There’s no hybrid powertrain available for starters, so if saving a bit of money at the pump is on your mind, you will want to opt for the Maverick. Like its competitor, the Santa Cruz sports a nice size that makes it easy to cruise around town in, as well as make its way through traffic during those hectic morning commutes. Although the Hyundai model showcases nice appointments within, perfect for the daily driver, you’ll need to upgrade to enjoy the really elegant features, which means that the sticker price gets upgraded as well. All in all, for the money you save, plus the hybrid powertrain available, we have to go with the Ford Maverick here when it comes to ride quality and comfort.

A green 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is shown from the side driving past a lake.

Practicality & Adaptability

Both compact pickups offer superior maneuverability, which can really come in handy, especially when you’re navigating packed streets, but what about practicality? Your commuter needs to be practical, and one of the main ways it can prove this to you is through its fuel efficiency. You may already know which truck has a leg up here, and that’s the Ford Maverick, which is armed with that beautifully efficient 2.5L hybrid powertrain. Able to get a manufacturer-estimated 40 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, it’s pretty clear that penciling in time to stop at the pump won’t be a regular occurrence.

It’s not just about efficiency, although that is a huge part of choosing the right commuter. It’s also about adaptability, and when you’re riding in the Maverick, you get to enjoy loads of perks. Convenient storage solutions make staying organized on the road as easy as ever, and with a nice long bed for its size, you have even more room to cart around gear and materials for work. Speaking of truck beds, the Maverick’s bed, otherwise known as a Flexbed, is fully customizable, which means that accommodating anything is easier with the Maverick. If you need a little more power, opt for the available 2.0L EcoBoost turbocharged engine and be able to tow up to 4,000 lbs when armed with the Maverick’s Trailer Tow Package.

The Santa Cruz won’t be winning any awards for fuel efficiency with its 2.5L Turbo only able to get 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, although it does tow slightly more than the Maverick at 5,000 lbs. When you’re a commuter, though, you want a fuel-efficient vehicle, and the Santa Cruz simply isn’t it. Another reason we’re not loving the Santa Cruz is its smaller bed size, which can really limit what you’re able to handle during your drive. If you don’t want to worry about carving out time to fuel up and you need to be able to accommodate everything you’re bringing with you for the day, our pick lies with the Maverick.

Safety & Productivity

Let’s not forget one of the most important responsibilities of any driver… safety. As we mentioned before, there can be a lot that goes on during your commute, which is why it helps to have a vehicle that will be able to navigate the chaos. Both the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz offer plenty of standard and available safety and driver-assist features designed to help you stay more focused behind the wheel, even if those traveling around you aren’t as cautious. It always helps to have an extra set of eyes and helpful tools at your disposal during your journey.

It also helps to be able to stay updated and connected during your commute, especially if you find yourself driving long distances or are frequently at a stand-still on your way into the office. Being able to have access to your phone without taking your eyes off the road can help you safely stay up-to-date on what’s going on while you’re not at work. Both the Maverick and the Santa Cruz provide access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as user-friendly infotainment interfaces to help make your drive more productive.

An orange 2022 Ford Maverick is shown parked on a city street after winning a 2022 Ford Maverick vs 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz comparison.

2022 Ford Maverick vs 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

When you want a compact pickup that can deliver efficiency, power, and practicality, the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz are the two top options. Although they may seem similar in looks, the Maverick proves that it offers drivers more with its hybrid powertrain designed for optimal efficiency, as well as a versatile bed and cabin space to handle anything. Unfortunately, the Santa Cruz falls short in these areas, which can be a big deal for commuters. After all, you may be spending a lot of time on the road, which is why it’s important to be able to get comfortable and have the assurance you need that your vehicle is adding value to your commute each and every day.