Auto review: '23 Santa Cruz competes in small truck market

Marc D. Grasso, Boston Herald on

Published in Business News

As small trucks are becoming more popular, manufacturers are on their tippy toes trying to conquer every last consumer while packing their pickups with lots of bang for the buck.

In Grasso’s Garage this week, Hyundai delivers its new-to-market Santa Cruz. Our Limited AWD Hampton Gray tester was really an enjoyable experience. It sits low to the ground, and offers interior room comparable to its sister, the Hyundai Tucson.

Built on a unibody chassis, the Santa Cruz definitely stands out. It's curvy like a Tucson SUV, but its futuristic appearance suggests the shape of trucks to come, whether EV or gas.

Smaller than a half-ton pickup such as the RAM 1500 or the Chevrolet Silverado, the Santa Cruz is perfect for chores around the house, trips to the home-improvements store or even the garden center for a load of mulch. But let’s not forget about grocery shopping, moving small boxes or towing a small trailer. The 2023 Santa Cruz is a great option for these tasks.

Inside the Santa Cruz, everything is simple to use. The 10.25 inch-infotainment system including navigation, SiriusXM and Android Auto and Apple Carplay are all at the touch of a finger tip. Although the volume knob has been removed completely, we notice a volume control on the steering wheel and push button controls on the dash. With Bose Premium Audio and LED interior lighting, the Santa Cruz comes packed and ready to conquer.

Small trucks always have a place in Grasso’s Garage. With an SUV’s ride height and the extra storage ability of a small bed for chores, these vehicles have a purpose. Size and styling are always important, and although our Santa Cruz got a lot of looks, the futuristic aesthetics takes some getting used to.


2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz

MSRP: $40,320

MPG: 19 city / 27 highway / 24.2 as tested

As Tested: $41,810

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