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The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is one of the best trucks on the market, competing in the quickly growing compact pickup truck segment. This unique-looking truck comes with impressive specs for about $27,000. Here’s a look at three reasons to buy the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz and two reasons to pass.

1. The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz’s optional turbo engine is sporty and powerful

A black 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz truck parked in a green area.
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai Motor Company

One of the truck’s best features is its sporty optional engine, according to TrueCar. The base version of the truck comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that gets 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Hyundai offers another engine option: a 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder that gets 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. That’s a difference of 90 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque. 

With the turbo engine equipped, the truck gets a “sport-sedan-like performance.” This optional turbo engine allows the truck to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 6 seconds, which is a significant improvement from the base engine’s time of 8.8 seconds. The turbo engine also allows the Hyundai truck to tow up to 5,000 pounds of cargo, an increase of 1,500 pounds from the standard engine.

2. Hyundai gave the truck a good infotainment system

The South Korean auto giant also gave the truck a capable infotainment system. The Santa Cruz starts with an 8-inch touch screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Drivers can upgrade the truck’s infotainment system with optional features like a 10.25-inch touch screen and a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster display.

3. The compact truck has a good size and a practical bed

One of the main benefits of compact trucks like the Santa Cruz is their size. The truck is relatively small in terms of its dimensions, and this will allow drivers to have an easier time with parking the truck in tight urban spaces. Despite its small size, the compact truck also has a practical truck bed. It’s a 4-foot bed, which is one of the smallest beds on any truck. That said, the South Korean automaker gave the truck bed a tonneau cover as a standard feature.

1. Hyundai doesn’t offer a hybrid option for the truck

However, the Santa Cruz isn’t a perfect truck, and one of its biggest flaws is related to its powertrain options. Hyundai currently offers the standard 191-hp engine or the optional 281-hp engine. The standard engine gets 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on highways, for 24 mpg combined. The optional engine gets 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on highways, for 23 mpg combined.

Those aren’t great fuel economy numbers, and they aren’t competitive with the fuel economy of the Santa Cruz’s main rival, the Ford Maverick. The Maverick starts with a hybrid powertrain with 38 mpg combined, which is 14 mpg better than the Santa Cruz. Until the South Korean automaker offers a hybrid powertrain, the truck won’t be competitive with the Maverick in terms of fuel efficiency. 

2. The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz doesn’t have much interior storage space

Another issue with the Hyundai truck is its lack of interior storage space. Once again, this is an area where Ford’s compact truck excels in. The Maverick has “a surprising amount of storage spaces and cubbies,” according to TrueCar. In comparison, Hyundai didn’t give Santa Cruz much in this area, and that can limit its usability as a daily driver.


Let’s Face It, the Hyundai Santa Cruz Could Have 1 Unique Issue