CarTruckThing - I wanted something with a bed that would fit in the garage.
In short I wanted a small truck - or rather the capabilities of a small (not a midsize) truck, specifically the bed of a small truck for home projects, trip to the warehouse. I also wanted the ability to park in my garage - although I have an oversized two car garage that's not used for storage parking a full size pickup truck (F-150) wasn't easy and would almost always be left in the driveway. The Santa Cruz fits that "niche" perfectly. There's another small pickup on the market and I was investigating that - I really wanted more of a SUV/CUV feel and features in the interior - I didn't need the "truck like" ride anymore. Ride comfort and performance are VERY good - since the Santa Cruz shares platforms with the Tucson there's less in terms of "truck" feel and more of a "car" feel. There's adequate space in the second row for adults although if the front passengers are much over 6 foot leg room might be a bit cramped. The configuration of the bed is very good - plenty of tiedowns/anchors, areas for 2x4's to create a second level for cargo. Because the bed is composite there is no need for a bed liner but you may want a bed mat to keep things from sliding around. There's under bed storage similar to the Honda although it is a bit more shallow than the others. The most used bed feature for me is the integrated steps in the bumper - with my full size truck I had to step up on the bumper and over into the bed and then put the tailgate down - with the Santa Cruz regardless of if the tailgate is up or down you can climb into the bed. On higher trim levels (and all in Canada) you'll get the roll top bed cover. I like this feature a lot although it will take up some space at the front of the bed - this can be removed though I've yet to remove mine - I plan to in the warmer months for trips to the garden center. The competition has more of a "truck" look to it - their interior is perhaps a little more "flexible" but the points for style, comfort and even a touch of "luxury" goes to the Santa Cruz all day long. The competition seems to be less expensive for base trims although keep in mind that even with a few options and destination the price for the Santa Cruz is very close. At top trim levels with options added would I still choose the Hyundai over the competition? In a second. Does the competition make a great small truck? Absolutely, I would "shop" both - I think that if you're looking for interior/ride comfort, technology, something that looks a little different, and a great buying experience then I would look seriously at the Santa Cruz.
One note about the lack of a volume/tune knob/dial - if you OWN the vehicle you quickly get used to using either steering wheel controls or the capacitive touch buttons - it is a bit annoying at first but it becomes a non-issue after a week or two. Auto reviewers ALWAYS mention this but keep in mind they review several vehicles a year and don't get "used to" a vehicle for very long - it would be confusing/annoying to me if I couldn't find the volume knob in the 3rd car in a week I was driving. As for the climate controls - with little exception it's a set it and forget it arrangement. Occasionally I'll adjust the temp up or down a few degrees but the automatic climate controls do a great job of keeping things warm/cool based on what you set.