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The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is certainly a head-turner. Labeled by Hyundai as a sport adventure vehicle but classified by car enthusiasts as a truck, the newest 2023 Santa Cruz offers many great options for someone looking for an uncovered bed with the comfort and agility of a smaller vehicle. But before running out to purchase one of these, here are three pros and cons to consider first.

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Specs

A beige 2023 Santa Cruz parked in front of the ocean and a rocky area in the sand.
2023 Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor Company

According to Hyundai U.S.A., the base trim Santa Cruz SE offers 23 mpg combined, which isn’t a bad offering for a truck. The engine produces 191 hp with 18-inch alloy wheels making it powerful enough for standard use. Going to their limited edition Night trim you’ll get an additional 90 hp, bringing your total up to 281 hp with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.

Moving up to the SEL Premium and Limited trim packages you’ll get Hyundai TRACtion All-Wheel Drive (HTRAC), along with the standard and premium creature comforts on the inside, such as wireless integration for your phone and a proximity key with a push button start. 

What’s New in 2023?

A black 2023 Santa Cruz Night parked in front of a night sky with a city scene.
2023 Santa Cruz Night | Hyundai Motor Company

Particularly in the Night trim option, we see the 2023 Santa Cruz pick up some stylish new features, such as blacked-out accents and a darker grille. Because the Santa Cruz is a new vehicle from 2022, there were not a lot of upgrades to the design needed in 2023, but these additional cosmetic options make for a cool and more aggressive-looking small truck.

In 2023, some options only available in the higher trims in the 2022 Santa Cruz are now standard in the lower trim models, making these features more accessible.

Pro 1: Stylish interior and exterior

A black interior of a 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz.
2023 Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor Company

Before investing in the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz, it’s important to consider all the aspects. According to MotorTrend one pro is it’s body shape.

The distinctive body shape of the Hyundai Santa Cruz really has created a niche of its own in terms of modern vehicle body styles. The tech features look nice on the dashboard, and the comfortable interior feels as smooth as the ride in this adaptable truck.

Pro 2: Excellent road manners

Because of its compact size and thoughtful design, the Hyundai Santa Cruz drives like a crossover. With optional features like a turbo powertrain, you have great control over your ride. The quiet cabin makes this a pleasant vehicle to drive.

Pro 3: Useful tonneau cover

A 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz truck tonneau cover latch.
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz tonneau cover | Hyundai Motor Company

This well-designed feature makes the 4-foot bed more beneficial as it fully encloses and protects the bed. It makes it easy to go shopping and have a covered area for the ride home to ensure your items are kept safe and dry.

Con 1: Short 4-foot bed

A 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz truck bed loaded with various items.
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor Company

For people hoping for the traditional bed size of a larger pickup, the short 4-foot bed may feel like a letdown. If you expect to haul your friend’s sectional couch on a moving day in one load, this pickup may not be for you, but if you are looking for a bed that will hold a couple of bikes, the Santa Cruz should work well.

Con 2: Less capable than a Ford Maverick

The Hyundai Santa Cruz’s main competitor, the Ford Maverick, is less expensive and comparable in function. It could make a better option for a buyer, depending on what they are looking for in a truck.

Con 3: Turbo powertrain is pricey

One of the best features available in the Santa Cruz is the turbo powertrain, which does not become available until the Night, SEL Premium, and Limited trim options.

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz offers a stylish and practical ride worth considering. With standard features that offer a comfortable experience and upgrades that increase its practicality as a small truck, this sport utility vehicle seems like it will be here for the long run.


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