definitely a head turner like the driver
So far so good. I'm about 5000 miles in to my 2022 Santa Cruz I purchased in Oct 2021. I bought the SEL model without the turbo AWD engine with the idea of passing this on to the daughter eventually. But after driving this, I've decided, she can keep riding her bike. I do regret not purchasing the AWD turbo trim as I'm a Turbo Lover but at that time it was quite out of my price range. Most dealers were/are marking up prices due to low supply.
I am happy with this not truck / not SUV and I have gotten quite a few compliments with the styling all around. For me it would be perfect if the rear window went down also and if I had purchased that turbo engine. When driving around the neighborhood at 20mph to 30mph and you want to blast some Wang Chung, you need to adjust the combination of windows opened with the sunroof to not get that weird popping in your ears. It's just uncomfortable to drive with some opened, some closed etc. Maybe if the rear window went down, it would help the air flow better, I dunno, I'm not an engineer and I dont want to blind you with science.
As for the engine, I used to drive a Nissan Xterra which was a V6 and a gas guzzler. I drive 33 miles to work one way daily (5xWk) and seem to be spending about the same in gas so that's a little disappointing. And it doesn't seem to make a big difference if it's on Sport mode or Smart mode or if I'm listening to Van Halen's Panama or LL Cool J's I Need Love. Only difference is the engine screams a little louder on sport mode which is funny because the dash lights turn red. It's like when the wife puts on that sexy red dress, my screams get a lil louder too!
I think since this was labeled as an activity vehicle, the AWD should be standard on all trims to assist with those who do haul stuff.
I like what the Santa Cruz looks like with the tonneau cover closed and I don't mind that it shortens your bed length as I'm not someone who needed to purchase a vehicle to haul stuff daily and my days of human smuggling across the border have ended anyway. If I needed a truck to haul stuff I'm sure bed length would have been my priority and would have looked elsewhere. It did surprised me when it rained and stuff that I did have in the bed got wet with the cover closed. The seal in the hidden trunk located in the bed works great, nothing in there get wet but anything in the bed does. It's not the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.
One last thing, as I'm blasting Danger Zone (at a safe decibel level that the standard stereo this trim provides) and while driving at the legal speed limit of 85 here in Texas, I've noticed the hood start to dance as well. It seems air enters somewhere up in there while traveling at highway speeds and I noticed the hood jiggle or bounce as if attempting to break away from the hood latch and smack me in the face for listening to ABBA.
Overall, I'm happy with my Santa Cruise and I'm never gonna give you up.