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There’s no doubt that we love the Hyundai Santa Cruz and all of its small-truck glory. It may not be as capable as larger trucks like a Ford F-150 or a Chevy Silverado, but the Santa Cruz works well for small-scale jobs and daily driving.

I have the all-new 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT trim for the week and am impressed once again with its practicality and bold styling. I also found a few pros and a couple of minor cons when driving it daily. Check them out.

Pro: The more powerful turbocharged engine makes driving the Hyundai Santa Cruz more fun

The turbocharged engine in the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT
2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

For 2024, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is available with two different engines – a naturally aspirated or a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder. The new XRT trim level comes standard with the turbocharged engine, which puts out 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque.

That’s 80 more ponies than the non-turbo engine, and the difference can be felt when driving the truck. I drove the Santa Cruz XRT up and down the mountains in Colorado and it trudged along nicely with ease. There’s plenty of mid-range power for climbing steep inclines and getting up to freeway speeds.

Con: The front seats lack thigh support and the rear seats lack space

Although the Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT’s interior is a comfortable space to spend time in, I didn’t like that its front seats lacked thigh support. The 8-way power adjustment and leather surfaces are nice, but the seat bottoms are a little short. The truncated seat cushions can cause some discomfort for tall drivers during long trips.

Additionally, the rear seat area is comfortable enough for short trips but can tap into people’s claustrophobia after a while. It’s a little cramped back there.

Pro: The Santa Cruz XRT will make you look like a rugged off-road enthusiast

The front corner view in the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT
2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The main differences between the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT trim level and the others in the lineup are mostly cosmetic. The adventure-focused variant has black mirror caps, door handles, new fender flares, lower door garnishes, side steps, and bed rails. There are even orange caps for the wheels to make them look more rugged.

That said, no one outside of the truck knows that the XRT trim is mainly an appearance package, which will make you look like an avid off-road enthusiast without trying.

Con: The little truck rides low, and it has a small bed

The 2024 Santa Cruz XRT may look more aggressive than the other trim levels and more unique than most other cars on the road, but it still rides a lot like a car.

The Santa Cruz is based on the Tucson, so it’s pretty compact and low. Its bed also measures 4.3 feet, which is smaller than the average truck. The last time I drove the Hyundai Santa Cruz, I could barely fit a three-drawer dresser in its truck bed.

Pro: That small bed is very utilitarian

The cargo area in the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT with a cart in it
2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Despite the truck bed’s small dimensions, I will say it’s useful in other ways. There’s a utility track rail and cleat system and D-rings to tie stuff down. There’s also plenty of lighting, a 115-volt outlet, and an in-bed trunk to carry a little more cargo.

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz has more advantages than disadvantages

Ultimately, the 2024 Santa Cruz is as impressive as ever, and the new XRT trim makes it look even bolder than before. Check out more of our coverage on the Hyundai Santa Cruz and its other trim levels.