3 Things to Know Before You Buy a 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz

As one of the only competitors to the Ford Maverick, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz isn’t as truck-like. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hyundai has made its small truck to be ideal for handling things like city life while still offering the utility of a pickup bed. Here are some things you might want to know about the Santa Cruz compact pickup. 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is not a hybrid

As more brands are moving toward hybrids and fully-electric trucks, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz does not offer a hybrid powertrain. Considering the hybrid powerplant on the Ford Maverick is extremely popular, that might come as a bit of a disappointment to some. 

That said, the 2023 Santa Cruz does not come up short in terms of power. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 191 horsepower and 181 pound-foot of torque. For most cases, opting for the available turbocharged engine might make for a better driving experience. It makes 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. 

The 2023 Santa Cruz has legitimate towing capacity

At the end of the day, the Santa Cruz is still a small truck. It does not offer the same type of towing capacity that the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma have, as it is not a body-on-frame pickup. But, the Santa Cruz can tow just as much as the Honda Ridgeline.

A 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz shows that it's a compact pickup truck that's ready for adventure.
Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

When properly equipped, this small truck can handle up to 5,000 lbs in terms of towing. In order to unlock that, you must get the turbocharged engine. The base engine can only to up to 3,500 lbs. If you really do need a larger towing capacity, it is probably best to look toward something like a mid-size pickup or even a full-size truck. 

This small truck now has more standard features

The 2023 Santa Cruz has gotten a slight price increase over the 2022 model. But, that increase in price is not for nothing. Base models of this compact pickup now come with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard fare. In the past, those features were not even offered to the Santa Cruz SE. 

Hyundai's small truck, the 2023 Santa Cruz shows some off-road prowess.
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

More standard equipment is also offered to the Santa Cruz SEL Premium trim as well. You can get adaptive cruise control that also features GPS-based curve control. 

Is the Hyundai Santa Cruz reliable?

According to J.D. Power, the Santa Cruz is a fairly reliable small truck. It is based on the Hyundai Tucson, so the platform has been around for some time. At the same time, Hyundai’s small pickup is still a fairly new product. So time will tell how well this model stands up to serious miles on the clock. 

Overall, the Santa Cruz might not be as popular as the Ford Maverick, but it does bring a lot to the table. The interior does feel fairly premium, and the exterior styling takes some risks. What could be a gamechanger for this pickup is if Hyundai decided to add an off-road package, along with adding some kind of hybrid powertrain.