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Eric's Autos: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Eric Peters on

On the downside, this engine is thirsty for what it is, averaging just 23 mpg (21 city, 26 highway). But the Santa Cruz isn't so much about saving gas as it is about saving size.

SEL Premium and Limited trims also come standard with a 2.5-liter engine -- but this time, it is turbocharged. Because of that, it produces 281 horsepower and 311 foot-pounds of torque (not too far off the torque produced by small V8s).

This version of the 2.5 engine is also paired with an eight-speed automatic, and, this time, AWD is standard equipment.

Interestingly, this much more powerful engine doesn't use much more gas than the standard 2.5-liter engine, even with standard AWD. It averages 22 mpg (19 city, 27 highway), so there's no fuel efficiency cost associated with opting for the stronger engine.

On The Road

The Santa Cruz doesn't require rock-climbing gear to get in.

 

It's about the same height as most crossovers, which means you just get in. Once in, you feel as you would behind the wheel of a crossover, without having to drive another crossover. And when it comes time to stop driving and park, it's as easy to do as if you were driving a same-sized crossover.

With the standard engine, there's enough pickup to get to 60 in about seven seconds. With its optional turbocharged engine, the Santa Cruz is very quick, getting to 60 in six seconds flat.

Either way, there's plenty of power for merging and passing without straining.

At The Curb

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