Forget Hauling: The 2023 Hyundai ‘Santa Cruz N Line’ Is Built To Haul

Hyundai’s “N Line” performance portfolio will be adding the Santa Cruz pickup to its tweaked model segment. The company has already said that N Line packages will be doled out to over 15 models in the next two years. Producing an N Line Santa Cruz is a no-brainer. Here’s what we know. 

What engine will the Santa Cruz N Line have?

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz N Line speculation | Hyundai/MB

We already know that the 2022 Sonata N Line packs a 290 hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder. But that’s almost matching the Santa Cruz’s optional 2.5-liter with 281 hp. So whatever the N Line Santa Cruz packs will be more powerful than the current Sonata N. We expect a bit over 300 hp.

The Sonata N Line’s engine is hooked to an eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission that features paddle shifters. That should carry over to the Santa Cruz N. Santa Curz’s  20-inch wheels should be all-new for N models as well.

Inside, the seats will come with the N Line blue stitching, upgraded seats, N Line gear selector, and a larger head-up display. Hyundai is quietly upgrading all of its interiors including Santa Cruz. A unique digital gauge cluster and other special features will improve Hyundai’s interior improvements. 

What exterior changes will the Santa Cru N Line have?

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a small truck, but its off-road capability may be compromised.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Color choices will come from the Veloster N. Red brake calipers will add some detail to show through those unique 20-inch wheels. Unique body-color wheel openings will tie into a unique lower fascia, which will also see body-color differentiation. A ventilated hood, N emblems, and black mirrors will be part of the Santa Cruz N package, too. 

Hyundai’s bet on a smaller unibody pickup is starting to pay off, and it wants to keep the momentum going. It has already sold more than half of what it sold in all of 2021 in January and February alone. So sales are picking up fast. Part of that may be due to Consumer Reports’ positive conclusions about the truck.

Also, smaller trucks, in general, are increasing in sales and numbers. Ford’s Maverick is the Santa Cruz’s closest competitor. But both Chevy and Ram are known to be cooking up something to compete in this segment. But that should only draw more attention to the Santa Cruz. 

Hyundai has other pickups it is developing

2023 Hyundai Palisade rendering
2023 Hyundai Palisade rendering | KOAECA.RU

We also understand that with the success of the Santa Cruz, and sales of midsize pickups in general, Hyundai is working on something for this segment as well. We don’t know much about it yet, but it will be based on the Palisade SUV. Success breeds more success, as they say. This new Hyundai pickup probably won’t see daylight until the end of next year or the beginning of 2024.

But for now, Hyundai has some Santa Cruz pickups to sell. The more powerful N Line version should be at dealers by the end of 2022. Right now, Hyundai is being coy about availability and pricing. We expect it to MSRP at just over $40,000.

RELATED: The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Can’t Stop Winning Awards