Hyundai Santa Cruz: A major facelift brings a more aggressive look

Hyundai Santa Cruz: A major facelift brings a more aggressive look

The last facelift of the Hyundai Santa Cruz, which was launched exclusively for the North American market, was a year ago. Even then, Hyundai designers were interested in making their small pick-up, which was launched in the United States in the summer of 2021, look more solid. Now they continue the path they took a year ago with a major facelift, which is currently being shown for the first time at the New York Auto Show.


Hyundai is giving all Santa Cruz variants a new front apron, a different radiator grille, revised rim designs and redesigned daytime running lights. And the off-road XRT kit introduced in the final model year now looks even more exclusive. Santa Cruz. “Rockwood Green” and “Canyon Red” join the Santa Cruz palette as new exterior colors.

internal space

Inside, the new Hyundai Santa Cruz looks at least as good as the previous facelift model. The designers of the interior have combined the lines of the cockpit more aggressively and evenly, which in terms of practicality leads to more storage space and brings together a separate weapon station and two cup holders on the back seat. From a visual point of view, the move brings a new gray for the seats, a differently arranged steering wheel and new ventilation nozzles. Additionally, the controls in the center of the dashboard have been designed to be more ergonomic and feature additional physical switches for standard audio and climate functions. The XRT model has matching embossing on the back of the front seats.

Infotainment and connectivity

What’s new is a curved panel display that, if needed, accommodates two 12.3-inch monitors – the left as the driver’s information screen, the right as the infotainment touchscreen. In the future, smartphones can be connected wirelessly to all lines of equipment via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When it comes to connectivity, Hyundai is also updating the Santa Cruz with new USB-C ports and Bluelink technology. In the future, software and firmware updates will be possible “over the air”. In addition, the Koreans are integrating their local payment system “Hyundai Pay” with another booking system. A fingerprint scanner including digital key functionality will also feature in future fingerprint capture.

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The engine range remains unchanged. The base unit is a 2.5-liter direct injection gasoline engine that produces 194 hp and a maximum of 245 Newton meters and is connected to an eight-speed torque converter transmission. Hyundai also offers this engine in a turbo version that works with an eight-speed clutch transmission that allows manual intervention using the steering wheel paddles. For this drive variant, the data sheet says 285 hp and a maximum of 422 Newton meters. Both engines feature HTRAC all-wheel drive, which electronically and differentially distributes torque between the front and rear axles depending on driving conditions and conditions.

As part of the facelift, “towing mode” is introduced to the turbo version along with the Limited and XRT equipment, thanks to which trailers weighing up to 2.3 tons can be towed. The naturally aspirated Santa Cruz’s maximum towing capacity is less than 1.6 tonnes. As an additional support system, a “predictive warning” will be introduced as part of the facelift.

Market launch and pricing

The refreshed Santa Cruz for the 2025 model year will debut in US Hyundai dealerships next summer. Prices have not yet been determined. However, it is likely to be slightly above current levels. The base version of the 2024 Santa Cruz currently costs at least $26,900, which equates to around 25,000 euros.

A big car. They should also bring it to Europe.Stupid car. Not necessarily: in Europe, USA, South America, everywhere.

Hyundai is upgrading the Santa Cruz with a comprehensive facelift. The highlight of this is a more stable design and a new panoramic cockpit in the interior. XRT off-road equipment will be more visible from the standard versions in the future.