The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its safety rating for the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Applicable for the 2022 model year, the nonprofit organization awarded Hyundai's first passenger vehicle with a bed a Top Safety Pick.

The kicker, however, is that the safety rating isn't applicable to all trim levels of the Hyundai Santa Cruz. According to the IIHS release, the Santa Cruz only receives the Top Safety Pick when equipped with specific headlights, particularly in the SEL Premium and Limited trims where the Hyundai pickup got a good rating for their projector LEDs.

Gallery: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz First Drive Review

Of note, the Santa Cruz SE and SEL trims come with halogen projectors for low beams and halogen reflectors for high beams. On the IIHS safety evaluation, visibility using these headlights on straightaways was rated 'good' on the right side of the road and 'fair' on the left side. On curves, however, visibility was inadequate in all four IIHS tests.

On high beam, however, the halogen reflectors were rated inadequate for visibility on both straightaways and curves, leading to a 'poor' rating.

Despite this, the Santa Cruz was rated with all greens on other tests done by the IIHS, including the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength, and head restraint tests.

It's important to note that the Santa Cruz earned superior ratings in the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations for both the standard and optional front crash prevention systems. 

That said, the 2022 Santa Cruz proved its worth for the lower-tier Top Safety Pick award, especially for the SEL Premium and Limited trims. If not for the halogens, the entire range would have gotten a Top Safety Pick+ award.

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