HYUNDAI OFFERS AN SUV MADE
FOR THE CITY WITH SANTA CRUZ
Finally, a pickup truck that accommodates tight city streets and parking places.
Sure, it’s not going to work for you if you’re running a construction business and do a lot of heavy duty hauling, but if you’re like most of us, what’s behind the cabin isn’t as important as what’s inside it.
And what’s inside the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a suite of features and conveniences that will make you forget you are actually behind the wheel of a truck, not a compact SUV or high class sedan.
The South Korean automaker ventured into the pickup truck segment by introducing the Santa Cruz as a 2022 model. It targeted buyers who traditionally shopped in the crossover SUV segment and are adventurous enough that they need the extra storage space an open bed would provide instead of the enclosed back of an SUV.
Even as a relatively newcomer, the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz gets some tweaks and a new trim level with the XRT replacing what was formally dubbed SEL Premium. The 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT, which this review is based on, and the Limited and Night models kind of separate themselves from the base SE and SEL trims with upgraded powertrains and higher starting prices.
The SE and SEL come with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 181 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque while the XRT, Night, and Limited versions get a 2.5L turbocharged 4-banger that boosts those numbers to 281/311, respectively.
The turbo gets a dual clutch transmission with paddle shifters in place of the standard automatic.
That and the extra standard features results in a jump in starting MSRPs of below $31,000 for the SE and SEL trims to over $38,000 for the higher end models.
Every Santa Cruz comes with LED headlights with high beam assist and tail lamps, an LED cargo light and safety features like blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, lane-keeping and lane-following assist, and forward collision avoidance assist.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, lockable bed storage compartment, a multi-functional tailgate with assisted open/close, rear bumper steps, power panoramic sunroof, front dual USB ports, rear-view camera, rear-seat heater ducts, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, and Bluetooth connectivity also are all common features.
With the XRT, you get Smart (adaptable) cruise control, dual climate control, an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 3-month subscription to Sirius-XM satellite radio, Hyundai’s Blue Link-plus Connected Car System, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster.
All-wheel drive is standard on the Night, XRT, and Limited models and optional to replace front-wheel drive on the SE and SEL.
Starting MSRP for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT is $39,850. Adding the $1,335 freight charge and my test 2024 Hyundai Cruz XRT came in at $41,185.
What I didn’t like about the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT: Overall, tech features are user friendly but I don’t understand why they eliminates a convenient knob to control audio volume. Finding the button to adjust the volume can detract from the driver’s attention. Voice guidance for navigation referred to little-used street names for Miami, where a street can have up to three or more names. Stick to numbers, Hyundai!
Would I buy the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT? Yes. Unless you are doing big hauling jobs, the Santa Cruz has the capability most people are going to need when it comes to runs to Home Depot and Lowe’s.