Written by Marco Carvajal
2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz HTRAC 2.5
The new 2024 Santa Cruz is a small-size Sport Adventure pickup truck. This new car is not just a pickup truck, it is a Sport Adventure Vehicle that combines the comfort of an SUV with the open utility of a truck bed.
People love the shape of the Santa Cruz with its curvy bed with lines going down from the top of the cabin to the bed. It looks young, cool, and adventurous.
Drives love this car’s combination of the best parts of an SUV with an open bed, a versatile fun car for any journey.
The new 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a small crew-cab pickup truck available in five trim levels: SE, SEL, Night, XRT, and Limited, with pricing from $27K to $40K
The Hyundai Santa Cruz is the first four-door pickup truck sold by Hyundai in the North American market
This new truck has been a sales success, it is a very appealing product for American drivers.
The Santa Cruz is smaller than most midsize pickup trucks, and Hyundai is calling it a “sports adventure vehicle,” or SAV, establishing an entirely new segment.
The Santa Cruz is hard to define, it is a very different car. It is a compact pickup truck that uses unibody construction instead of the traditional body-on-frame pickup truck underpinnings.
It shares the same platform with the Hyundai Tucson compact SUV. The Santa Cruz uses car-like construction and we can say it is an SUV with the bed of a truck.
The Santa Cruz offers interesting features, with the comfort of an SUV and the utility of a truck, resulting in a more comfortable ride than body-on-frame construction, but also results in lower overall capabilities when it comes to off-roading, towing, and hauling.
The Santa Cruz can tow up to 5,000 lbs. with the available strong turbocharged engine.
Two available engines, a 2.5 liter DOHC 16-valve Inline 4-cylinder, and a 2.5 liter DOHC 16-valve Inline 4-cylinder turbo.
The Santa Cruz produces up to 281 horsepower and 311 Torque, and it is available with HTRAC All Wheel Drive, which lets you take the Santa Cruz on different terrain and weather.
There are two available transmissions, an 8-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC and the advanced 8-speed Wet Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) with paddle shifters. Transmission shifts are crisp and quick.
Drive Mode Select is standard in all trims.
Handling in flat curves is impressive for a body-on-frame small truck, the Santa Cruz is fun to drive on a winding mountain road.
It has a very smooth ride and there is almost no difference between the Santa Cruz and driving an SUV.
The powerful V6 engine is robust, with very good sporty acceleration, as is its handling and steering, where Hyundai has made improvements in recent years.
Its ride is smooth over broken roads and the suspension absorbs most of the larger bumps.
The steering is responsive and gives you a good feel of how the front wheels are moving. Steering gains some extra resistance in Sport mode, but in Normal mode, it’s light enough to maneuver into the tightest parking spots with ease.
Built in the USA
The Santa Cruz is proud to be American, built at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, LLC (HMMA), Hyundai’s first assembly and manufacturing plant in the United States located in Montgomery, Alabama. The $1.8 billion automotive plant is one of the most advanced assembly plants in North America.
Even if Hyundai is a Korean automaker, some of its vehicles are designed and built, especially for the US market, and what better way to design and build a car for this market than at the Hyundai design studios in the US, and build it a Hyundai’s plant in the US.
The Santa Cruz is an exclusive product of Hyundai USA, it is the first HMMA-built vehicle that started in Montgomery, Alabama, as the Santa Cruz is not being built anywhere else in the world.
New for 2024
For the 2024 car model year, Hyundai is introducing the Santa Cruz XRT trim model, replacing the SEL Premium trim model, a new model blending the comfort of the former SEL Premium with the rugged features of the SEL and the optional Activity Package.
New for 2024, all Santa Cruz include LED projector headlights standard across the complete lineup.
Dual-zone climate control and an automatic defogger are standard on all trims except the base SE.
The SEL Activity Package adds a 10.3-inch infotainment screen in the Night, XRT, and Limited trims.
Finally, the Night trim also gets the same faux-leather upholstery as the new XRT.
The new adventurous XRT trim model includes an attractive leather-wrapped steering wheel, black faux-leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, Hyundai’s Digital Key, wider fender flares, side steps, and bed rails.
The main competitors of the San Cruz are the Honda Ridgeline and the Nissan Frontier.
The Santa Cruz is the winner in terms of low price and also the winner in terms of fuel economy compared to the Ridgeline and the Frontier both have better fuel economy.
The Santa Cruz Fuel Economy is 21 MPG in the City and 27 MPG on the highway with a Fuel tank capacity of 17.7 gallons, while the Ridgeline and the Frontier have similar lower fuel economy of 18 MPG city and 24 MPG highway.
Pricing for the Santa Cruz starts around $27K, followed by the Frontier at $30K and the while the Ridgeline at $39K.
The Santa Cruz offers good value and low purchasing costs together with good fuel economy.
The interior design of the Santa Cruz is very intuitive, with high-quality materials and with many soft touch points.
The Santa Cruz is not exactly a luxury truck, but it’s a fun car to drive especially very popular for young drivers who feel very cool driving this style of car.
The driver and front passenger can enjoy premium seating comfort to make any ride experience comfortable.
The rear seat backs are very upright which is typical of a pickup truck and there is no way to recline them. Also, there is no folding center rear armrest.
The payload capacity of the Santa Cruz is very high for a small vehicle, ranging from 1,568 pounds to 1,906 pounds across the Santa Cruz Lineup.
I like the storage flexibility of the Santa Cruz with underfloor storage that can also serve as a cooler.
The bed of this vehicle includes side and sealed underfloor bin storage with a drain, an optional 115-volt power outlet, and the very practical lockable tonneau cover of the bed becoming not just a traditional pickup truck bed, but a safe cargo area.
Hyundai’s digital key is a great optional feature available in the Santa Cruz, that lets you share a digital copy of the Santa Cruz key via text on Android Smartphones.
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