The Hyundai Santa Cruz: A Compact and Affordable Pickup Truck

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is a unique and versatile pickup truck that combines the efficiency and drivability of a compact crossover with the utility of a pickup. For those who don’t need the size and power of a full-size truck, the Santa Cruz provides a right-sized and more affordable solution.

The Santa Cruz shares much of its design and interior with the Hyundai Tucson, making it instantly recognizable and appealing to fans of the popular compact crossover. The front-end design is particularly impressive, with its distinctive LED lighting.

There are two engine options available for the Santa Cruz. The base engine is a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-4 with 191hp, which some find to be underpowered. However, the uplevel 2.5-liter turbo I4 with 281hp is much better suited to the Santa Cruz, offering more usable power and smoother shifts with the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The turbo engine also allows for a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.

Unlike the Hyundai Tucson, the Santa Cruz does not offer hybrid powertrain options. This is likely due to the Santa Cruz’s lower sales volume compared to the Tucson. However, it’s worth noting that the Ford Maverick, a similar-sized pickup, is experiencing high demand for its hybrid engine option.

While the Santa Cruz is not a traditional truck with body-on-frame construction, it can still handle some tough jobs. It has a payload capacity of up to 1,411 pounds and can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the turbo engine and all-wheel drive. The bed also offers a sliding tonneau cover and various bed organizers for added convenience and versatility.

In terms of off-road capabilities, the Santa Cruz has 8.6 inches of ground clearance but lacks all-terrain tires or adaptive off-road drive modes. Those seeking more rugged off-roading experiences may need to invest in aftermarket modifications.

The price of the Santa Cruz starts at $27,985 for the base model and goes up to $42,405 for the top-of-the-line Limited trim. Its main competitor is the Ford Maverick, which has a lower starting price and offers a hybrid engine option. However, the Santa Cruz boasts a more stylish interior and offers a more affordable alternative to traditional midsize trucks.

Overall, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is a compelling option for those who prioritize a compact size, affordability, and versatility in a pickup truck. Whether it’s for daily driving or light towing and hauling, the Santa Cruz delivers on both functionality and style.

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