Most people will compare the Santa Cruz to the Honda Ridgeline due to the same approach in the underpinnings department. However, those people are missing the point. The Ridgeline is designed to be a more comfortable alternative to work trucks that are also often used as lifestyle trucks - think Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. The Santa Cruz is a size down compared to the Ridgeline and doesn't pretend anyone is going to use it for their gardening business or tow an ATV out to the desert. Its closest competition will be the upcoming Ford Maverick. However, the Maverick is still trying to appeal to traditional truck owners; hence it looks like a traditional truck.
As it's not constrained by tradition, Hyundai's designers have been able to cut loose and get creative. As a result, the Santa Cruz is the coolest-looking truck we've seen for a while. It takes the usual Etch-A-Sketch-inspired blocky design and chucks it out the window. Instead, you get a front that looks like a Mandalorian helmet and a rear with attractive light clusters and the Santa Cruz name stamped into the sheet metal. LED daytime running lights and taillights are standard from the base upwards but bi-LED headlights are only equipped on the SEL Premium and Limited. Base models get a set of dual-tone 18-inch alloy wheels. The top-spec Limited upgrades to 20-inch alloys but also gets dark chrome accents and premium fascia designs.
In this department, it's worth providing some context. The USA's current best-selling vehicle (if you've been living under a rock) is the Ford F-150. Size-wise, the smallest F-150 is 209.1 inches long and 95.7 inches wide. The F-150's curb weight ranges from 4,021 to 5,540 pounds. Keep in mind that the Ford is on the lighter side due to its aluminum construction.
Enter the Santa Cruz, which keeps things simple by offering only one body style and a 4.3-foot bed. It has an overall length of 195.7 inches and is 75 inches wide. Include the roof rails, and it measures 66.7 inches tall. All of this sits on a wheelbase that's 118.3 inches in length. It's shorter in both length and height than the Maverick. The heaviest, most premium model with AWD weighs just 4,164 lbs, dropping down to a curb weight of 3,704 lbs for the entry-level front-wheel-drive model.
The ground clearance is rated at 8.6 inches. Regarding approach, breakover, and departure angles, you're looking at 17.5/18.6/23.2 degrees, respectively. It's pretty clear from these figures that the Santa Cruz is not a hardcore off-roader but instead aimed at a bit of light gravel travel and hitting dirt tracks to get to the start of on-foot adventures.
|Hyundai Santa Cruz Trims||SE||SEL||SEL Premium||Limited|
|Max Width||75 in.||75 in.||75 in.||75 in.|
|Length||195.7 in.||195.7 in.||195.7 in.||195.7 in.|
|Height||66.7 in.||66.7 in.||66.7 in.||66.7 in.|
|Wheelbase||118.3 in.||118.3 in.||118.3 in.||118.3 in.|
|Hyundai Santa Cruz Trims||Curb Weight|
|SE||3,704 - 3,858 lbs.|
|SEL||3,725 - 3,879 lbs.|
|SEL Premium||4,101 lbs.|
|Wheels Type||Aluminum Wheels|
|Front Wheel Size||18" x 7.5"|
|Rear Wheel Size||18" x 7.5"|
The color palette is limited to six colors, but most of the available hues contrast nicely with the black grille, body cladding, and dual-tone alloys. No-cost options include Ice White, Phantom Black, Hampton Gray, Blue Stone, and Mojave Sand. For Sage Gray, Hyundai charges an additional $400. The entire color palette is available on all models.