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Hyundai Santa Cruz owners are sharing their sentiments in a recent J.D. Power survey, both favorite and not-so-favorite. Of all the crazy cool elements this SUV-turned-pickup has to offer, there’s one thing about the Santa Cruz that current owners say is their least favorite.

The J.D. Power survey regarding the Hyundai Santa Cruz owner responses

If you’re not familiar with the Hyundai Santa Cruz, it’s definitely worth a look. It competes with the midsize truck segment but with many of the characteristics of an SUV.

It’s agile and comfy like a crossover but has the versatility of a pickup. Its funky design will either be right up your alley or nowhere close. But there are plenty of consumers already snatching up their Santa Cruz models. And that’s the group J.D. Power wanted to talk to about the pros and cons of this little truck.

The J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout Study (or APEAL) set out to gather some intel from midsize pickup segment owners. In particular, the J.D. Power team asked Santa Cruz owners to rate 10 categories of amenities and features in order of most favorite to least favorite about the Hyundai. And the results are in, highlighting a few key likes and dislikes.

The least favorite things Hyundai Santa Cruz owners listed

Ranking in descending order, the five areas of the Hyundai Santa Cruz that current owners like the least include the powertrain, the infotainment system, driving comfort, ease of accessibility, and fuel economy. Starting with the powertrain, which could be either the 2.5-liter four-cylinder or the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, J.D. Power says the Santa Cruz has more of an SUV driving dynamic.

Driving comfort didn’t fare well among consumers, which may be more subjective to personal preferences. And getting in and out of the Santa Cruz category came as a next-to-last least favorite, contradicting the J.D. Power review, which cited easier access because of its SUV design.

Coming in at the bottom as the least favorite thing about the Hyundai Santa Cruz is the fuel economy. Edmunds seconds that notion since the Santa Cruz earns a combined 25 mpg.

This isn’t all that impressive, considering you can get the turbocharged engine on the Ford Maverick and get 25 mpg or even bump up to the bigger Honda Ridgeline for more pickup feel and still earn 21 mpg combined.

There are still some good things worth noting

It’s not all bad, though, and Hyundai Santa Cruz owners didn’t hesitate to rank their favorite aspects of their pickups. Some of the aesthetics they rated highly on the favorites list include interior design, setting up and starting, feeling safe, driving feels, and, most liked of all, exterior styling.

Business Insider agreed whole-heartedly about the driving feels, citing just how fun the turbo variation was for their testers to drive. It’s a punchy little engine, capable of tapping into 281 horses and providing 311 lb-ft of torque. And yes, the safety features are in abundance with the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Expect all the latest driver aids, like lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warnings, and forward-collision warnings, as standard equipment. 

Most reviews of the Hyundai Santa Cruz have ample pros and cons to consider before you buy one. But this latest J.D. Power study, which surveyed actual Santa Cruz owners, might prove to be more helpful. Get excited about the funky exterior design and bring a little pickup functionality to an SUV ride. 


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