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As a small truck, the Hyundai Santa Cruz has been fairly successful. And soon, Hyundai’s compact pickup will enter the 2023 model year. Because this pickup truck was released in 2022, it is unlikely that there will be significant changes made for 2023. So, what’s new for the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup?

What is the difference between the 2022 and 2023 Santa Cruz?

In terms of major differences, there are not going to be many changes between the 2022 and the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz. The biggest change might be the Santa Cruz Night, which boasts a number of blacked-out accents. 

The Night package adds 20-inch black rims, a darker grille, and black-painted door handles. Other changes will be made to the mirror caps and side steps. Although the intent is to make this small truck look more aggressive, it is not necessarily successful. Still, it does look cooler than the standard Santa Cruz. 

Is the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz good off-road?

Although it doesn’t have a package like the Tremor option on the Ford Maverick, the Santa Cruz does offer available all-wheel drive. This can help it to handle some light trail work. Just don’t expect the Santa Cruz to go everywhere that a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon could. 

A 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz shows off as a small truck.
Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Hyundai has designed this vehicle to be versatile. It is based on the Tucson SUV, and with all of its features, it does a good job with usability. What would be nice is if Hyundai made an off-road package for its small truck. It certainly looks the part of an adventure vehicle. Offering something like a factory lift, an improved AWD system, and other off-road features could help it compete against the Maverick. 

Is the 2023 Santa Cruz better than the 2022?

According to Car and Driver, the 2023 version of Hyundai’s small truck should be better than the outgoing model. Hyundai is trickling down various features that were previously only available to top trims. And that will likely be welcome among consumers. 

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz parked next to horses.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

 Things like the 10.3-inch touchscreen are now available to the SEL Premium trim. Before, only the Limited trim could get it. The SEL Premium also gets adaptive cruise control with GPS-based curve control. This system can even match the posted speed limit. 

There is a slight price hike for the 2023 Santa Cruz across the lineup. But that increased price doesn’t come without benefits. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard, even on the base SE trim. 

Is the Hyundai Santa Cruz reliable?

If you want the benefits of a truck bed without buying a traditional truck, the Santa Cruz does have a good reputation for being reliable. According to J.D. Power, the predicted reliability is 83 out of 100. 83 is considered in “great” territory. And that should add to your confidence if you want Hyundai’s compact pickup truck. 

Overall, the 2023 Santa Cruz should continue the success this small truck has already been having. Even if it is fairly similar to the old model.


Only 2 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Trims Are Worth Buying