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The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is an excellent option if you’re considering buying a compact truck. As one of the most talked-about new pickups, it’s earned its reputation. For the 2023 model year, the Santa Cruz is touted as a comfortable truck with a high-quality interior, many amenities, and some pickup truck capability. However, there are five trim levels in the lineup, so which should you choose? Experts and buyers only enjoy a few trims in the lineup. There are only two 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz trims worth buying.

Which 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz should you buy?

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz vs. 2023 Ford Maverick
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

You’ll find a few different answers searching for the best 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz trim. Within the lineup, five different trim levels vary significantly in equipment. Moreover, it’s worth noting that all versions are a solid choice, but some are much less luxurious than others. Edmunds highlights the compact truck in a few ways. For example, comfortable ride quality, agile handling, a powerful turbocharged engine, an impressive number of technology features, and thoughtful cargo bed features.

Unfortunately, the cheapest trim levels aren’t worth buying. According to Edmunds, the SE base model and slightly more expensive SEL trim are poorly equipped. Buyers choose the SEL trim more than any other model. Starting at $26,745 and $29,085, respectively, their obviously the more popular choices because of their low starting price. However, the SEL Premium and Limited trims are the only ones worth buying.

Experts agree on the best 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz trim

Front angle view of blue 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz, highlighting affordable pickup truck alternatives costing under $28,000
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

First, Edmunds recommends buying the Santa Cruz SEL for a few reasons. For example, it “comes loaded with desirable features — a larger touchscreen, navigation and traffic-adaptive cruise control — as well as the punchy turbocharged engine. It’s the one to get if your budget allows.” Unfortunately, the SEL Premium is much more expensive, starting at $38,645, but provides far more value than its lower versions.

In the same vein, Car and Driver recommend the same 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz SEL Premium trim. “Unlike the lesser SE and SEL, it has a more powerful engine along with fancier equipment that includes standard all-wheel drive. The system is a $1500 option on the lesser trims. The SEL Premium comes with standard LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment with navigation and enhanced voice commands, and adaptive cruise control with GPS-based curve control.”

1 other Santa Cruz trim worth buying

Other than the SEL Premium, only one other 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz trim is worth buying. The Limited model is the top-of-the-line range-topper that costs more than all other trims. However, it comes with everything the SEL Premium offers, plus more. The Limited trim ($41,615 MSRP) is very well-equipped for slightly more than the SEL Premium.

It takes the standard turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and all SEL Premium features. Then gains leather upholstery, rear-seat USB ports, ventilated front seats, a Bose premium sound system, a 360-degree camera system, and a lane-keeping system. In addition, anyone who wants to make their compact truck look cooler can do so with the optional Night package. Edmunds expects it will be exclusive to the Limited trim and add 20-inch black alloy wheels, front and rear black skid plates, and tubular black side-step rails.

Not all 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz trims are worth buying

In conclusion, only two 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz trims are worth buying. The SEL Premium model provides the most bang for your buck. As the cheapest model with standard all-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine, it’s far superior to cheaper trims. Plus, it’s well-equipped with amenities like wireless smartphone charging, navigation, adaptive cruise control, and more. Optionally, the Limited trim is the only other good choice. It’s got everything the SEL Premium trim does, plus more, including a new black-out design package for 2023.


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