And that makes the base Ford Maverick even more appealing.
Here at CarBuzz, we're big fans of Hyundai's Sports Adventure Vehicle. Not only does the Santa Cruz look phenomenal, but it drives well too. What's more, it comes with a really practical cargo bed and the interior is an absolute treat. Don't just take out word for it, though. Consumers are clearly impressed by the Hyundai, with the pickup recently overtaking the Chevrolet Corvette to become America's fastest-selling vehicle.
But with a starting price of $25,175 (including the destination fee) at launch, it was nearly $4,000 more expensive than its fiercest rival, the Ford Maverick. With consumers already strapped for cash, those looking for a more budget-friendly alternative would look no further than the Ford. Yet, this hasn't stopped Hyundai from upping the price of the Santa Cruz. The base SE trim level now starts at $25,385, a $210 increase.
While it may not seem like such a big deal, implementing a minor price increase less than a year after the initial launch is surprising. Then again, Hyundai could just be responding to the ongoing chip crisis which continues to threaten vehicle supply across the globe. Interestingly, the Korean brand is looking at rather unusual ways to circumvent the chip shortage, exploring the compatibility of general use chips normally used in appliances and small electronics.
To be fair, Ford has also increased the prices of the Maverick, although it still starts at below $20,000 excluding destination. While the top-spec Lariat derivative saw its price jump by $370, the range-topper is still only $27,355 (including destination charges) - just $1,970 more than the base model Hyundai. By comparison, the most expensive Santa Cruz Limited is a whopping $41,115. That being said, the priciest Santa Cruz does receive a more powerful turbocharged four-pot than the Ford; 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque for the former and 250 hp and 277 lb-ft for the latter (if you go for the EcoBoost version of the Maverick).
The Hyundai also boasts a plusher cabin, featuring a classier design and more car-like design elements. The Maverick's workhorse persona may appeal to more rugged, outdoorsy types, but the Santa Cruz definitely pips the Ford when it comes to cabin ambiance. But it's not just these compact pickups that have seen pricing increases in 2022. The Blue Oval's popular Explorer SUV also got more expensive in January, by up to $1,070 depending on the trim level.
Unsurprisingly, deals on the Santa Cruz and Maverick have seen a decline. CarsDirect notes that last fall, the Korean carmaker was offering 0% financing on the Santa Cruz with no payments until 2022. In January, the Ford was also eligible for 0% APR. The incentive was soon canceled (along with lease deals) when news broke of Maverick orders being stopped.