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Trims, Powertrain, and Performance

Five trims make up the ’23 Santa Cruz trim range: SE, SEL, Night, SEL Premium, and Limited. The first two have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 191 hp and 181 lb.-ft. of torque; it’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The remaining trims get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that puts out 281 hp and 311 lb.-ft. of torque, with an upgrade to an eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Front-wheel drive is standard in the SE and SEL, but all-wheel drive (which is standard in the other trims) is optional.

With the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, the Santa Cruz’s towing capacity maxes out at 3,500 pounds, but with the turbo, that increases to 5,000 lb. Fuel economy estimates reported by the EPA state that the SE and SEL grades return 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. With AWD, those same trims achieve 21 city/25 highway. The Night, SEL Premium, and Limited are rated for 19 city/27 highway.

Standard and Available Features

In addition to its practical cargo bed (which includes lockable underbed and sidewall storage compartments and heavy-duty cargo D-rings), the base SE gets automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, rear privacy glass, a multifunctional remote-release tailgate, integrated rear bumper steps, power windows with driver’s auto-up/down, and two front USB ports. The SEL gains remote start, heated side mirrors with turn-signal indicators, proximity keyless entry, an auto-up/down front passenger window, illuminated vanity mirrors, and heated front seats (the driver’s side is power adjustable). With the optional Adventure Package, the SEL will be augmented with LED bed lights, roof side rails, a factory-installed tonneau cover with T-slot utility tracks, a C-channel adjustable utility track rail and cleat system, a 115V power outlet, a rear sliding glass window, a sunroof, a wireless phone charge pad, and a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster.

Each of those comes standard in the Night trim, along with premium LED daytime running lights and black exterior accents. The SEL Premium builds off the regular SEL with the contents of the Activity Package. It also comes with projector-type bi-LED headlights, Digital Key, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The range-topping Limited adds the premium LED daytime running lights, plus rain-sensing wipers, two second-row USB ports, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, rear AC vents, ambient interior lighting, leather upholstery, and ventilated front seats.

Driver-Assist Technologies

Hyundai sets up each trim with the SmartSense suite of advanced driving aids. The SE, SEL, and Night have forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, automatic high beams, driver attention warning, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, safe exit warning, and rear occupant alert. The SEL Premium adds adaptive cruise control, while the Limited gets all of the above plus a blind-spot view monitor, highway driving assist, navigation-based adaptive cruise control with curve management, and a surround-view monitor.

Multimedia and Connectivity

The SE, SEL, and Night share the same infotainment system: an 8-inch touchscreen unit with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, HD radio, satellite radio (SiriusXM), and Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming. The SEL Premium and Limited go large with a 10.25-inch system that includes navigation and voice recognition; however, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto require a wired connection due to the incompatibility between the built-in navigation system and wireless connectivity. All trims also come with Bluelink Connected Car services, allowing drivers to keep tabs on the vehicle remotely.

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