2023 Toyota Tacoma Gets Beat by 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz in Many Ways

Are you considering getting either the midsize Toyota Tacoma or the compact Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck? Find out how the two trucks measure up in this 2023 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz comparison. With a wide array of advantages, the Santa Cruz beats the Tacoma in many ways. 

2023 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz: What are the differences?

Front angle view of Solar Octane 2023 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck
Solar Octane 2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

In this 2023 Toyota Tacoma vs. Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck comparison, we evaluated several areas. This includes performance, gas mileage, towing, payload, off-road capabilities, passenger space, warranty coverage, reliability, and price.

Tacoma vs. Santa Cruz: Performance and gas mileage

Front angle view of Blue Stone 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck
Blue Stone 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

For performance, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz offers more powerful engine options than the 2023 Toyota Tacoma. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the Santa Cruz generates 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, while the available turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. 

In comparison, the base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine for the Tacoma generates 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and the available 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.

Also, the Santa Cruz gets higher gas mileage than the Tacoma. It has an estimated fuel economy of up to 21 city/27 highway mpg, compared to 20 city/23 highway mpg for the Tacoma. 

Tacoma vs. Santa Cruz: Towing and payload

The 2023 Tacoma can tow more than the 2023 Santa Cruz. It has a maximum towing capacity of 6,800 pounds, compared to 5,000 pounds for the Santa Cruz. However, the Santa Cruz can haul a heavier load in the pickup bed. It has a maximum payload capacity of 1,753 pounds, compared to 1,685 pounds for the Tacoma.

Tacoma vs. Santa Cruz: Off-road capabilities

For off-road use, the Tacoma has the advantage. For one, the four-wheel drive system offered for the Tacoma is more effective at driving over rough terrain than the all-wheel drive system for the Santa Cruz. Also, the Tacoma has higher ground clearance (up to 9.4 vs. 8.2 inches). Additionally, unlike the Santa Cruz, the Tacoma has off-road-focused models, including the TRD Pro, TRD Off-Road, and Trail Edition trims. 

Tacoma vs. Santa Cruz: Safety

Given its history, the Santa Cruz has the advantage for safety. For the previous model year, unlike the Tacoma, it earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick award. 

Tacoma vs. Santa Cruz: Passenger space

The 2023 Tacoma is bigger than the 2023 Santa Cruz in terms of exterior dimensions. However, the larger size doesn’t result in more passenger space. Both pickup trucks can seat up to five people, but the Santa Cruz has a total passenger volume of 104 cu-ft, compared to 100.3 cu-ft for the Tacoma.

Tacoma vs. Santa Cruz: Warranty coverage and reliability

The warranty coverage for the Santa Cruz is very generous, with the backing of a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. In comparison, the Tacoma has a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty for the Tacoma. Also, while both pickup trucks offer free maintenance, the coverage for the Santa Cruz is for a longer period, with a 3-year/36,000-mile plan, compared to a 2-year/25,000-mile plan for the Tacoma. 

Additionally, for reliability, the Santa Cruz has a slight edge. It earned a J.D. Power reliability rating of 83/100 compared to 81/100 for the Tacoma. 

Tacoma vs. Santa Cruz: Price

Which pickup truck costs more: the 2023 Tacoma or the 2023 Santa Cruz? The starting price of the 2023 Tacoma is $27,250 MSRP, compared to $25,450 MSRP for the Santa Cruz.

2023 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz: Which pickup truck is better?

In this 2023 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck comparison, the 2023 Santa Cruz has most of the advantages. This includes advantages for performance, payload capacity, safety, passenger space, more generous coverage for the warranties and complimentary maintenance plan, reliability, and a lower price. Conversely, the 2023 Tacoma has advantages for off-road capabilities and towing. 

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