Skip to main content

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz might be funky-looking, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a massively popular pickup truck. Its small size has proven to be a gap in the market that many people want, and most carmakers are interested in filling it. While publications like Consumer Reports have reliability concerns, Edmunds is flying the Santa Cruz flag high. Edmunds ranked the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz in the top spot for small pickup trucks

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

Is the Hyundai Santa Cruz a good pickup truck? 

Edmunds ranked the Santa Cruz first in its class of small trucks for its premium interior, long list of features, and efficient powertrain. 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is unique in that it combines the feeling of a small SUV with the practical nature of a pickup truck. Its bed is only 4 feet long, allowing enough space for some light trucking but keeping the driving profile friendly. 

Like many trucks today, the Santa Cruz is built using unibody construction. This is the main aspect of what gives the Santa Cruz an easy profile. Another aspect of what Edmunds liked about the Hyundai truck is the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-pot making 281 hp. While I doubt many Santa Cruz shoppers are looking for a fast truck, the turbo version can get a 60 mph sprint in under 6.5 seconds. There is also the same 2.5-liter engine but naturally aspirated, making 191 hp.

Edmunds also liked the ride’s comfort, writing that it handled road imperfections with grace. However, wind noise could sometimes get the better of the otherwise upscale interior. 

Why did Edmunds rank the Santa Cruz so highly? 

midsize truck
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night | Hyundai

There is clearly plenty to like about the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Edmunds took every one of these things into consideration. In fact, many other publications gave it similar reviews. However, Consumer Reports is one of the few reviewers that go in on predicted reliability. Given the model is so new, most people don’t have much to say about reliability. 

Consumer Reports ran its predicted reliability polls and found this as the model’s only real downside. This predicted reliability kept Consumer Reports from ranking the truck as highly. 

What other small trucks are worth considering

Woman standing by 2023 Ford Maverick, most affordable new hybrid car and pickup truck with best fuel economy
2023 Ford Maverick | Ford

As we mentioned, the Santa Cruz ranked higher than other small pickup trucks from Edmunds. However, there is a catch. Edmunds has only ranked two small trucks, the Hyundai and the Ford Maverick

For the time being, the small truck game is a pretty simple one. Despite the popularity of the Ford Ranger or the critical success of the Honda Ridgeline, neither of them are truly small trucks. There are rumors of Mitsubishi taking a stab at hopping into the American pickup truck market once again by bringing the Mitsubishi Triton back to the States. This is a result of the fact that these two small pickups are madly popular. The market is clearly hurting for smaller, cheaper, and more effcient pickup trucks. 

For the time being, though, Edmunds has made its choice quite clear.