There's a clear winner, according to consumers.
Hyundai may have set record sales for the brand in 2022 with 724,265 vehicles sold, but Ford's Maverick doubled the sales of the comparable Hyundai Santa Cruz. Hyundai sold 36,480 of its compact truck, while Ford sold 74,370 units of the Maverick.
Both compact trucks debuted in 2022, and the Maverick quickly became a sales hit compared to Santa Cruz, logging in 4,140 of the 5,988 combined sales in October of 2022. The Ford Maverick starts at $22,195 while the Hyundai Santa Cruz pricing begins at $25,450, but it's not necessarily just the price disparity between the two that's making the difference.
This is not a battle Hyundai wants and positions its small truck as a lifestyle vehicle more suited to throwing your wet camping gear and hiking boots in the bed or bringing home treasure from antiquing. Conversely, the Maverick is advertised as being Built Ford Tough and equipped to help you tackle that next home project, haul your gear, and more.
However, the reality is that they are the only two small trucks on the US market running on a monocoque chassis rather than the usual heavy ladder frames associated with trucks.
As much as Hyundai would like to be the leader in a segment of one, people looking for a small, light, and economical truck are cross-shopping the two. And, any truck is a lifestyle truck or a utility truck if you know how to use it.
Put against each other, the Maverick is cheaper to get into, more economical on fuel (41 mpg compared to 21 mpg), and has a longer truck bed (54.4 inches compared to 48.4 inches). However, the Santa Cruz is better equipped as a base model, can tow more (3,500 to 5,000 pounds for the Santa Cruz, 2,000 pounds for the Maverick), and is arguably better looking.
So, why does the Maverick outsell the Santa Cruz by such a margin? It's hard to pin down as both trucks deliver such different blows to each other. However, our educated guess is that Ford already has a considerable reputation and following for its trucks.
After all, a Ford truck has been the best-selling vehicle in America since the 1970s and has bred a considerable amount of loyalty and goodwill over those decades. On top of that, price matters, and Ford is catching shoppers that don't want to spend an extra $4,000 or so for a more SUV-like driving experience.