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2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is somewhere between a crossover utility vehicle and a pickup truck. Photo: Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is one of those "neither fish nor fowl" vehicles: It's an SUV crossed with a pickup truck — and I love it.

The big picture: Truck devotees will complain that the 4-foot-bed is too short, or that the Santa Cruz can't haul a giant RV or motorboat. (For the record, it can tow up to 5,000 pounds.)

  • But for the vast majority of urban dwellers whose big adventure is an outing to the garden center, this is the perfect vehicle.

Details: The Santa Cruz drives like a crossover SUV, which isn't surprising, since it's based on the same basic underpinnings as the Hyundai Tucson.

  • That means it's refined and easy to park, which non-truck people will appreciate.
  • Some reviewers have complained that the standard 2.5-liter engine is underpowered, but I drove the turbocharged all-wheel-drive option, which, at 275 horsepower, had plenty of get-up-and-go.

One of my favorite features was the Santa Cruz's lockable, roll-up metal tonneau cover.

  • At a tailgate, we packed our valuables in the bed and safely locked them away while we went to the game.
  • The extra storage below the bed (similar to a Honda Ridgeline) was especially handy.

Other goodies: The Santa Cruz Limited also featured a 360-degree camera system, heated and cooled seats, a premium Bose sound system and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

  • Android smartphone users can use a phone app as their digital key.
  • The optional 10-inch touchscreen is lovely but difficult to use, with no buttons — keeping your eyes off the road for too long.

The Santa Cruz comes with a full suite of standard safety and available assisted driving technologies.

  • Hyundai's highway-assist technology was a bit overbearing at times, though.

The bottom line: The Santa Cruz starts at about $24,000, which is higher than Ford's new Maverick compact pickup. And at $39,720, the Limited AWD I drove seems downright expensive.

  • But if it fits the bill for weekend warriors, that's OK.

Go deeper

Columbus open to selling replica Santa Maria

The Santa Maria replica in the Scioto River in 2004. Photo: Joe Sohm/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It's been seven years since a replica of the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus, was removed from the Scioto River as part of a Scioto Mile redesign project. It remains in city storage with no plans to set sail anytime soon.

  • The $1.3 million attraction opened Oct. 12, 1991 as the centerpiece of a yearlong 500th anniversary celebration of Columbus' 1492 expedition.
Updated Oct 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

"SNL" cold open skewers Facebook whistleblower hearing

A screenshot of Pete Davidson as MySpace founder Tom Anderson in the latest "SNL" cold open. Photo: NBC

"Saturday Night Live" parodied the fallout from the Facebook whistleblower's Senate testimony in this week's cold open — with Pete Davidson stealing the show as MySpace founder Tom Anderson.

The big picture: The sketch skewered lawmakers' understanding of the social media platform, with Cecily Strong's Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asking whistleblower Frances Haugen, played by Heidi Gardner: "I have 2,000 friends on Facebook. Is that good?"

1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Facebook exec warns of "more bad headlines"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In a post to staffers Saturday obtained by Axios, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg warned the company that worse coverage could be on the way: “We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid.”

Catch up quick: Roughly two dozen news outlets had agreed to hold stories based on leaked materials from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for Monday publication — but the embargo fell apart Friday night as participating newsrooms posted a batch of articles ahead of the weekend.