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Ford Maverick vs Hyundai Santa Cruz: Comparing Compact Pickups

Ford Maverick vs Hyundai Santa Cruz_ Comparing Compact Pickups
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The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz will likely come to mind when considering practical and affordable alternatives to larger trucks. These compact pickups have proven reliable for car buyers, offering the utility of a truck without the hefty price tag. But which one is the best fit for you?

This guide covers everything you need to know about both vehicles. The Ford Maverick vs Hyundai Santa Cruz ends here. Keep reading to compare features, capabilities, and tools to help you pick the perfect compact companion for your next adventure.

2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz vs 2024 Ford Maverick: Are they trucks? Yes!

Even though they may be smaller than regular trucks, they still fall into the category alongside vehicles like the Honda Ridgeline. They have truck beds, right? They don’t have as much towing capacity as larger pickup trucks, but they have their perks. Sometimes, they tend to drive more like crossovers too. As mentioned, they are not explicitly designed for everyday truck lovers but for city-dwellers with active lifestyles.

About The Ford Maverick

The Ford Maverick is not your typical Ford truck. This newcomer defies convention, offering a fuel-efficient hybrid option and a turbocharged engine for a powerful drive. Its versatility is unmatched, making it a perfect fit for those who need efficiency for daily commutes and power for weekend getaways.

The Ford Maverick is renowned for its innovative storage solutions and surprisingly spacious interior, proving that a compact truck can be incredibly practical. Despite its compact size, the Maverick can tow heavy loads, making it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

About The Hyundai Santa Cruz

With its sleek, car-like design, the Hyundai Santa Cruz isn’t afraid to turn heads. This stylish offering prioritizes comfort without sacrificing capability. Under the hood, you’ll find a standard engine that delivers solid power for everyday driving, with an optional turbocharged upgrade for those seeking extra muscle.

Santa Cruz’s interior is a haven of modern technology and thoughtful amenities, making every journey pleasurable. Don’t underestimate its functionality – the Santa Cruz offers a versatile open bed and innovative cargo solutions, proving it can handle your weekend warrior needs while maintaining everyday practicality.

In other words, both pickup trucks are similar and can fill in for each other, but they still differ. Look at the significant differences between the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Engine and Performance

Winner: Santa Cruz

The Ford Maverick boasts a standard hybrid powertrain, a first for the compact truck segment. It also offers an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine for those seeking a more exciting driving experience. This option produces 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque.

The Santa Cruz, on the other hand, doesn’t back down without a fight regarding engine and performance. It has a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 281 horsepower, and up to 311 lb-ft of torque. The Santa Cruz also has an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with an AWD. This vehicle’s acceleration is the strongest out of both.

Better Fuel Economy

Winner: Maverick

Regarding fuel efficiency, the winner is clear: the Ford Maverick pickup reigns supreme. Both trucks are fuel efficient compared to larger trucks, but in the Ford Maverick vs. Hyundai Santa Cruz comparison, the Maverick stands out.

Its standard hybrid powertrain delivers MPG figures that compact SUVs envy, making it a champion for budget-conscious drivers and eco-warriors alike. With EPA-estimated ratings of 42 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and a combined 37 mpg, the Maverick Hybrid takes the cake for fuel economy.

Even the Ford Maverick’s optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine offers respectable fuel efficiency. With front-wheel drive, it achieves 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and a combined 25 mpg. All-wheel drive slightly reduces those figures to 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and a combined 26 mpg.

While the Santa Cruz offers decent fuel economy, it can’t compete with the Maverick’s hybrid option. The standard 2.5-liter engine delivers 22mpg city, 26mpg highway, and a combined 23mpg. Opting for the turbocharged engine comes at the expense of fuel efficiency. It manages 19mpg city, 27mpg highway, and a combined 22mpg.

READ ALSO: Hatchback vs. Sedan vs. SUV | Choosing the Right Luxury Car for You

Capability Check: Towing Capacity and Payload

Winner: Santa Cruz

Okay, so you shouldn’t expect much here, as towing is not their strong suit. While compact pickups might not be towing titans, the Santa Cruz vs. Maverick can still handle a surprising amount of weight.

The Maverick’s towing capacity varies depending on the engine choice. The standard hybrid can pull up to 2,000 pounds, while the EcoBoost option can pull up to 4,000 pounds. Santa Cruz takes the lead with a slightly higher towing capacity across the board. The base engine offers a towing capacity of 2,500 pounds, while the turbocharged option can pull up to 5,000 pounds.

Regarding Payload, Santa Cruz also takes the lead with a maximum payload capacity of 1,640 and 1,740 pounds in the bed, while Maverick offers a maximum capacity of 1,500 pounds.

Size Matters: Dimensions and Cargo Space

Winner: Both!

Thanks to its smaller footprint, the Maverick is surprisingly maneuverable. It measures 199.7 inches long, 75.4 inches wide, and 65.5 inches tall. The Santa Cruz is slightly larger, measuring 195.7 inches long, 75.8 inches wide, and 61.8 inches tall. This difference might be negligible for most drivers, but it could be a factor if navigating tight spaces is a concern.

What about bed space? The Maverick boasts a surprisingly spacious bed. It measures 54.4 inches long and 53.3 inches wide and offers 36 cubic feet of cargo space. This makes it suitable for hauling bikes, camping gear, or furniture. On the other hand, Santa Cruz’s bed is slightly shorter at 52.1 inches long, but slightly wider at 53.9 inches wide. However, it offers less overall cargo space at 27.0 cubic feet.

Both trucks offer seating for five, but the Maverick might feel cramped for rear passengers, especially on longer journeys. The Santa Cruz boasts slightly more rear legroom, making it a more comfortable option for those who frequently have passengers in the back.

Cargo Solutions Beyond the Bed

Maverick: This innovative truck offers hidden storage compartments in the bed and behind the rear seats, making it a master of maximizing space.

Santa Cruz: The Santa Cruz counters have a clever available under-floor storage compartment in the bed, offering additional secure storage for gear.

So which truck wins here? They both win. If maximizing cargo space in the bed is your priority, the Maverick takes the lead with its longer bed and decent cubic footage.  However, the Santa Cruz might be better if you need more passenger space or prefer a slightly more maneuverable truck.

Interior Comfort and Features

Winner: Functionality? Maverick. Luxury? Santa Cruz

Think of the Maverick interior as a well-organized toolbox. Easy-to-clean materials like cloth seats and rubberized floors prioritize practicality for those who lead active lifestyles. This means you don’t need to think about muddy boots, spilled coffee, etc. It’s all easy to clean.

Smart storage solutions, like hidden compartments and a cleverly designed bed that maximizes space, ensure you can pack everything you need for your next outing. While the interior might not boast luxury materials, its focus on functionality makes it a haven for those prioritizing usability over frills.

Santa Cruz has a more upscale environment. Think modern design, comfortable front seats with premium materials, and a larger touchscreen infotainment system. Santa Cruz prioritizes comfort and technology, creating a more luxurious atmosphere for everyday driving. It boasts a panoramic sunroof and ambient lighting, setting a stylish and sophisticated tone.

This brings us to a tie yet again. If you prefer functionality, we recommend the Maverick. But if you are tech-savvy Santa Cruz should be more your style.

Offroad Capacities of the Compact Pickups

Winner: Ford Maverick

Although their offroad capacities are much smaller than regular trucks, both vehicles can go off-road. Comparing both, the Ford Maverick is more off-road capable than the Santa Cruz. Maverick gives consumers a choice of two off-road centered versions – The FX4 off-road package and the Tremor package.

The FX4 off-road group includes upgraded suspension, off-road terrain drive modes, skid plates, a better cooling system, tow hooks, hill descent control, and alloy wheels with all-terrain tires.

The Tremor Off-Road package adds low-speed cruise control, a twin-clutch locking rear differential, and increased ground clearance.

Safety Showdown: Standard Features and Technology

Winner: Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz has an extensive list of advanced safety features and better crash-test scores. Maverick trucks also have their measure of safety systems, such as driver-assist systems. Still, Santa Cruz comes with standard pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, exit warnings for exiting passengers, and more.

Comparing crash test results, Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickups stand out, although there’s little difference here. Santa Cruz earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

The Maverick received a four-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, it received a “Marginal” rating from the IIHS on the updated front overlap test, raising some concerns about frontal crash protection.

The All-Important Price Tag: MSRP and Trim Levels

Winner: Ford Maverick

The more expensive of both small trucks is the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Of course, it would be costly to have a high-tech interior like that. The Santa Cruz’s base trim costs $26,900, and range-topping models may cost up to $41,320. The Ford Maverick, on the other hand, has base prices ranging from $23,400 to $34,855.

The debate between the Hyundai Santa Cruz vs Ford Maverick is heating up as both trucks compete for dominance in the compact pickup segment. How do you know which one to choose?

Choosing Between the 2024 Ford Maverick and 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Choosing between both vehicles depends on your budget, as well as, your preferences. However, note that if you want to get a used compact crossover or pickup at the best price, you must consider the vehicle’s history and records. That’s where a vehicle history report comes in handy.

A vehicle history report essentially lists every single detail about the past life of any vehicle. It contains information about:

  • Accident records
  • Damages
  • Total loss records/salvage records
  • Theft records
  • Ownership history
  • Market value
  • Service records
  • Auction and sales history
  • Warranty information
  • Vehicle specifications
  • Vehicle usage
  • Lien and loan records, and more

Don’t make the mistake of buying a used car without verifying its overall condition and roadworthiness, mainly the mileage and interior condition for models like the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz or the Maverick XLT. Get a vehicle history report for the used 2024 Ford Maverick and 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz with our VIN check tool, and avoid scams now!

Maverick vs Santa Cruz: Pros and Cons of Each

Ford Maverick: The Practical Pick




  • Good fuel economy ranging from 23-30mpg.

  • Despite its size, the bed offers decent cargo space.

  • Hidden compartments maximize space utilization.

  • Looks more like a pickup.

  • It is a budget-friendly option compared to the Santa Cruz.

  • May not be ideal for hauling heavy loads because of its lower towing capacity.

  • Engine feels somewhat weak for its ratings

  • Might feel tight for passengers on longer journeys.

  • Upper trims are fairly expensive.

  • Focuses on functionality over luxury.

  • Some trims have better safety features than others.

Hyundai Santa Cruz: The Stylish Choice




  • Can handle heavier loads with the smooth turbocharged engine.

  • Upscale materials and interior features create a luxurious feel.

  • Standard safety features and ratings on most trims for enhanced safety.

  • Offers a sleek and modern aesthetic.

  • Less fuel-efficient compared to the Maverick Hybrid.

  • Offers less cargo space in the bed.

  • Has less of a truck feel compared to the Maverick.

  • Fairly expensive

  • Cargo Solutions is not as extensive.

Although both trucks arrived in 2022, this guide covers all models/trims manufactured since then. Whether interested in the latest 2023 or 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz or 2024 Ford Maverick, this guide can help you make the right choices.

The best truck for you depends on your priorities. Do you crave unbeatable fuel efficiency and a practical, utilitarian interior? Then the Maverick might be your perfect match. However, the Santa Cruz could be ideal if superior towing capacity, a luxurious and comfortable cabin, and the latest safety features were more important.

Get a detailed vehicle history report to ensure you aren’t buying a lemon and test-drive both trucks. This way, you can determine which feels more comfortable and aligns best with your lifestyle and driving needs.

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