The compact pickup truck war in the US market just bumped up a notch. Hyundai finally announced pricing for its Santa Cruz, and the initial reaction might be one of shock. The base model Santa Cruz SE starts at $23,990, a full $4,000 (okay, $3,995 to be specific) more than its Blue Oval competitor, the 2022 Ford Maverick. However, there's a bit more to it than that.

For starters, Hyundai's price doesn't include a $1,185 destination fee, so that raises the entry-level Santa Cruz to $25,175. To keep things fair, the Maverick has a $1,495 destination charge so its entry-level price is really $21,490. Still, that's a difference of $3,685 and that's not insignificant when talking about a compact segment where buyers are certainly cost-conscious. Furthermore, that same price gap exists at top-tier models, with the Santa Cruz Limited starting at $40,905 after destination. By comparison, a dressed-up Maverick First Edition with the turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive starts at $36,310.

Gallery: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai offers five different trims for the Santa Cruz, versus just three from Ford (excluding the limited-run First Edition). Hyundai also separates its three core trims (SE, SEL, and SEL Activity) by front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. So while the initial reaction to Hyundai's expensive Santa Cruz is indeed shocking, a closer look at mid-range trim levels suggests the trucks are far more comparable. That's likely where the vast majority of sales will fall; this general pricing chart for Santa Cruz and Maverick offers a glimpse of that strategy.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Price (includes dest.) 2022 Ford Maverick Price (includes dest.)
SE FWD 2.5 $25,175 XL FWD 2.5 $21,490
SEL FWD 2.5 $28,375 XLT FWD 2.5 $23,775
SEL Activity FWD 2.5 $31,645 Lariat FWD 2.5 $26,985
SE AWD 2.5 $26,675 XL AWD 2.0 Turbo $24,795
SEL AWD 2.5 $29,875 XLT AWD 2.0 Turbo $27,725
SEL Activity AWD 2.5 $33,145 Lariat AWD 2.0 Turbo $30,935
SEL Premium 2.5 Turbo $36,865 Lariat First Edition $36,310
Limited 2.5 Turbo $40,905 N/A


As we see, the price difference does narrow in the mid-range all-wheel-drive models, but Ford continues to hold an advantage. However, it's difficult to draw a pure apples-to-apples comparison as Ford only offers all-wheel-drive with the higher-output 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and the upgraded eight-speed automatic transmission, whereas front-wheel-drive Mavericks get the 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain with a CVT. Hyundai offers all-wheel drive with its base 2.5-liter engine, and all Santa Cruz trucks get an eight-speed automatic, save for the Premium and Limited which get a performance-oriented eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

The pricing situation is further complicated by Hyundai still not sharing a configurator for the Santa Cruz. The Maverick is considerably cheaper in base-model trim, but it's also a truck that comes with steel wheels, automatic emergency braking, and little else. Throughout the Santa Cruz lineup we expect more equipment to be included as standard versus Maverick, and that shows in a maxed-out Maverick price of over $42,000 once every option box is checked. Depending on Hyundai's options for the range-topping Limited, Ford could be more expensive in the upper spectrum.

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Hyundai will beat Ford to market in this reborn compact truck segment. Santa Cruz sales are slated to begin in late July 2021, whereas Maverick will reach dealerships in the fall.

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