Skip to main content

With its blend of pickup truck and passenger car, the Hyundai Santa Cruz brings upper-tier utility and excellent dynamics. Since drivers don’t have to compromise between a truck or a car, they get the best of both worlds. That makes for a highly versatile vehicle.

A similar design—the Honda Ridgeline—brought an indispensable feature to market: the in-bed trunk. Thankfully, Hyundai included one on the Santa Cruz, giving customers more ways to stow their gear. 

Let’s look at the Hyundai Santa Cruz and why in-bed trunks are so useful. 

In-bed trunks are a gamechanger

Pickup beds offer abundant storage for a variety of tasks. Visiting the home improvement warehouse? It’s sure nice tossing lumber and tools in the bed. Going on a weekend trip? Just store all your gear in the back, without stuffing things in a trunk. But one feature makes a bed even better: an in-bed trunk. 

Sometimes, drivers need weather protection for their gear. In a rainstorm, leaving groceries in the bed probably isn’t the best idea. Or, if taking a road trip through snowy mountains, keeping luggage well-protected is a priority. While tonneau covers or toppers solve the issue, they can be expensive add-ons. 

But in-bed trunks change that. Offering a storage area within a pickup bed, in-bed trunks provide protection and convenience. That’s a big plus for everyday drivers. 

Both the Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz have in-bed trunks. In addition to their car-like unibody construction, that separates them even further from traditional pickups. And it adds extra usability for multiple tasks, from grocery runs to ski trips. 

The Santa Cruz’s in-bed trunk measures approximately 7 inches deep, 38 inches wide, and 18 inches long. During testing, MotorTrend was able to store four or five grocery bags horizontally.

The Honda Ridgeline brought this feature to the mainstream

Honda pioneered the in-bed trunk on its Ridgeline pickup, providing a convenient storage space just inside the liftgate. With the Ridgeline positioned as a more livable ride—compared to rugged body-on-frame vehicles—this useful feature offered yet another selling point. And besides that, it just works. 

MotorTrend found the Ridgeline’s trunk highly useful, with 7.3 cu-ft of room, a drain plug, and slots for cargo dividers. They were surprised by the trunk’s capacity, using it to good effect on a long trip. 

The Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz are similar in other ways too

Related

How the 2023 Honda Ridgeline Went From Zero to Hero

Pickup trucks are cool. With their powerful stances and rugged capability, pickups have curb appeal and brawny performance. But they’re not always easy to live with. Body-on-frame construction and big tires can lead to a jostly ride and ponderous handling. And large-displacement engines get poor fuel economy. 

But the Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz change that, combining car-like civility and truck utility. Key to that is their unibody construction. 

Traditional pickups place the cab/bed atop a steel ladder frame, for a body-on-frame build. While that’s good for challenging terrain and heavy loads, it detracts from on-road dynamics.

Conversely, cars use a unibody setup, where the chassis and body are one piece, enhancing ride and handling. 

With their unibody layouts, the Ridgeline and Santa Cruz offer a pleasant ride and sharp handling, without compromising much utility. There’s still a large bed in the rear, and available AWD brings all-condition traction. Add inlined fenders and crew cab body styles, and you have vehicles that can handle any task.

Beyond that, both trucks have comfortable and modern interiors, ample driver’s assistance tech, and solid fuel economy. They also look good, with athletic styling and elevated ground clearance, for a strong, capable appearance. 

The Hyundai Santa Cruz’ in-bed trunk brings extra convenience to a capable vehicle. Using the Honda Ridgeline-derived feature, the Hyundai adds weather-protected storage without a tonneau or topper. That’ a plus for grocery runs and road trips alike. Besides that, the unibody pickup has a comfortable ride and agile handling, for versatile performance on the street or trail. The Santa Cruz is a modern, rugged ride.