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Eric's Autos: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Eric Peters on

Two thirds of the Santa Cruz is crossover.

It's the 4.5-foot bed that comprises the other third that makes this anything but another crossover. The bed is in some ways more useful than a truck's bed -- even though it is shorter than one -- in part because it is more usefully wider, which is because it doesn't have the usual pair of huge wheel humps protruding into the bed that you find in most truck beds that restrict what you can slide into them.

There is also room under the bed ... for another bed. This one is an insulated tub with a drain that is just the ticket for hauling several bags of ice and your favorite beverage or putting fish and such on ice. It's also a good place to hide things you'd prefer others not see.

But perhaps the most appealing thing about this Hyundai's bed is that you can get to whatever's in it without needing a step ladder, as almost all current trucks come standard with because their beds (and bed walls) are so high that even a man well over six feet tall cannot touch the floor of the bed without standing on a milk crate.

The Rest

Hyundai equips the base SE and next-up SEL trims abundantly. Highlights include a very good six-speaker stereo and 8-inch touchscreen (SE) as well as heated seats and outside mirrors, plus the lockable/hidden storage bin under the bed out back (SEL).

 

On the downside, many desirable features -- the even-better Bose premium audio system, navigation and rear seat USB charge ports -- are restricted to the much more expensive SEL Premium and Limited trims.

The Bottom Line

It's nice that small trucks are making a comeback -- even if they aren't, really.

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Eric's latest book, "Doomed: Good Cars Gone Wrong!" will be available soon. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

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