The New Hyundai Santa Cruz Is Slightly Truckier

By automotive-mag.com 4 Min Read

Say hello to the 2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz, mildly refreshed on the outside with a bit more happening in the cockpit. The small pickup truck retains its familiar powertrain choices, but particular attention falls on the XRT trim. When it debuted in July 2023, it was purely an appearance package. Now, things have changed, albeit slightly.

For starters, all 2025 Santa Cruz models benefit from a small but significant facelift. A new grille made up of rectangular cutouts sits above a slightly revised lower fascia. The swooping V-shaped grille is gone, replaced with straight lines and symmetrical shapes that, frankly, give the Santa Cruz a more truck-like appearance. We can’t help but wonder how much the Ford Maverick’s squarish nose influenced Hyundai designers, but it was clearly a focal point for the Santa Cruz update. Aside from new wheels and a special rear fascia on the XRT, the front clip is the only revision you’ll find on the outside.

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT
2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT

Speaking of XRT, Hyundai installs all-terrain tires to help the truck’s grip off the beaten path. Previously, the XRT rode on the same street tires as other trims, but there’s a bit more happening than just tires. The grille gets a special pattern, and the front and rear fascias are XRT-specific for a better approach angle when off-roading. Prominent red tow hooks are added to the front, and it rides on XRT-specific 18-inch wheels.

As for the inside, changes here are far more prominent. The new greenhouse borrows a page from the recently updated Tucson with a curved panoramic screen incorporating driver and center infotainment displays. Each one is available up to 12.3 inches in size, nestled in a new dash with a shelf above the glove box. A bank of tactile controls for audio and climate settings lives in the middle, with a prominent shift stalk still in place for the transmission. A new Tucson-esque steering wheel is added as well.

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz

The interior upgrade comes with more technology. Over-the-air updates are now possible, and you’ll find wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto on all trims. Bluelink+ connected car tech is plugged in, along with Hyundai Pay in-car payment systems. Hyundai’s Digital Key 2 Touch lets you lock or unlock the truck with your smartphone, and in the safety department, Forward Attention Warning is added. Opt for the XRT and you’ll get standard-issue surround-view and blind-spot cameras, too.

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Under the skin, you still have a choice of two engines. The 191-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder is standard, driving either the front wheels or all four. The burly version is the 2.5-liter turbo making 281 hp and 311 pound-feet of torque. It’s connected to an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and on XRT or Limited trims, the turbo gives you a new towing mode good for 5,000 pounds.

The 2025 Santa Cruz reaches dealerships this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date. For reference, the 2024 Santa Cruz starts at $28,275 with destination included. The other end of the scale is the Santa Cruz Limited with a sticker price of $42,695.

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