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The Hyundai Santa Cruz doesn’t need much help to be appealing. It is an efficient, good-looking, and reliable pickup truck that offers comfort and style with its fresh aesthetic. Although some might question its standing as a proper pickup truck, we don’t have time for that. If it’s got a bed, it’s a truck. The real question is, why would you pick the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz over the very similar 2023 Hyundai Tucson SUV? Well, here are three reasons why you might choose the truck over the SUV

Santa Cruz in gray at sunset
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Are the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz and Tucson similar? 

The 2023 Hyundai Tucson and the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz share a platform and an engine. These two Hyundai products are quite similar. In fact, you can save yourself a lot of time and research just by considering the two as the same, except one is an SUV, and the other is a pickup truck. In fairness, there are some differences between them. For instance, the Tucson has a plug-in hybrid model. The Santa Cruz does not. 

The Santa Cruz is a truck 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz shows off its capability as a real truck.
Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Look, like it or not; pickup trucks are the most utilitarian vehicles on the road. As trucks start to get more hybrid options, as well as smaller ones, too, the segment’s utility only gets accentuated. 

The bed, albeit pretty tiny, makes this a better fit over the Tucson for many drivers. If you do or hope to do any outdoor activity with regularity, the bed is for you. Ever plan to do any farm or yard work? Well, the Santa Cruz won’t pull any horse trailers any time soon, but lawn debris, moving equipment, and DIY project materials? The Hyundai small pickup truck can handle that. 

Who wants to do any of that in an SUV? 

How much does the 2023 Hyundai Tucson cost? 

Front angle view of silver 2023 Hyundai Tucson crossover SUV, highlighting most common problems reported by owners
2023 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai

The second reason to pick the Hyundai Santa Cruz over the Tucson is another slow pitch down the middle; price. The 2023 Hyundai Tucson starts at $28,235 for the SE model. The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz starts at $27,035 for the SE. The top trim for the Hyundai pickup is only $41,905 for the Limited, while the Tucson Limited starts at $46,095, according to Car and Driver

How much can the Hyundai Santa Cruz tow? 

The last reason to pick the Hyundai Santa Cruz over the Hyundai Tucson is towing. The Hyundai Tucson can tow 2,000 lbs, but the Santa Cruz can hook up and haul 5,000 lbs. From toe to tip, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is a more utilitarian vehicle and, as such, deserves some respect. 

While towing isn’t a major factor for all car buyers, it certainly is for some. Considering that these vehicles share engines and a chassis, you’d think they two would be slightly more comparable on towing. 

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is weird but cool

There is a fourth, less tangible aspect to the Santa Cruz; it’s funky. The funkiness of bringing the ute/small pickup truck back into the fold as a potentially AWD adventure machine is a boss move. It’s got to be eating Subaru alive to know that the ute’s return was taken from them. Either way, there is so much to like in the current Hyundai lineup; picking from these two models is like shooting at a giant target; it’s hard to miss.