2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz qualifies as a true pickup truck or not, which is the hottest debate now. But its unique design and useful cargo box make it less debatable. Although many mid-size trucks can tow more (Hyundai’s max is 5000 pounds) and perform better in the rocky terrain, the Santa Cruz isn’t going to impersonate those aggressive-looking, trail-eating, worksite-mule pickups. Instead, it is a Hyundai Tucson compact SUV with a truck bed.
After all, the two share a platform and powertrains. The engine option includes a weak 191-hp four-pot and an optional 281-hp turbo-four that increases its vigor performance. While the unhealthy engine is available with front- or all-wheel drive, the wilder mill mates only with all-wheel drive. Only reserved for the top two trim levels. The SEL Premium and Limited have the best tech and nicest interiors.
Although there aren’t any major changes to Santa Cruz for the 2023 model year, Hyundai did increase the starting price. With the entry-level SE trim by $1010 to $26,745 and now it comes standard with a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. Other equipment changes include the 10.3-inch infotainment system making its way down to the SEL Premium. Likewise, the SEL Premium now has adaptive cruise control with GPS-based curve control, more advanced voice-recognition software, and automatic matching of the posted speed limit. The old paint options Ice White and Mojave sand has been replaced by Atlas White and California Sand, as well.
Engine & Performance
The Santa Cruz pickup comes with two different powertrain choices. The standard option is a 2.5-liter four-pot pumping out 191-hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. However, based on the lethargic acceleration of the Tuscon crossover, this entry-level engine would be best avoided. The upgraded engine is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four with 281-hp and 311 lb-ft. This adds power and punchier response times to the Santa Cruz.
Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic, but the turbo pairs with the dual-clutch variant. AWD is also offered with both four cylinders. The top-of-the-line Limited model showcases the truck’s refined ride and agile handling. The Santa Cruz Night model is distinguished by black 20-inch rims, a dark grille, as well as black-painted door handles, mirror caps, and side steps. The pickup is shorter and lower than its segment competitors, which makes it easier to maneuver around town.
|2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Mileage
On the base engine and FWD, the Santa Cruz is EPA rated at 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Adding AWD drops its highway rating by 1 mpg. The turbocharged has estimates of 19 mpg city and 27 highway. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder is only rated to tug up to 3500 pounds.
Dimensions & Airbags
|2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Dimensions
The pickup truck is outfitted with a contemporary infotainment system in the form of a standard 8.0-inch or an optional 10.3-inch touchscreen. It comes with wireless device charging, and also offers wireless pairing for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Those who want an upgraded stereo can opt for the eight-speaker Bose sound system.
|2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Trims
The Santa Cruz is offered in five trim levels with various features. However, we would recommend the SEL Premium is the one to get. Unlike the lesser SE and SEL, it has a more powerful engine along with needful equipment which includes standard all-wheel drive. The system is a $1500 option on the lesser trims. The SEL Premium comes with standard LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Specifications & Top-Speed
|2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Specifications