Cruz Control: Hyundai Adds XRT Trim to Its Pickup

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Set to jump on board the bandwagon made popular by quasi-rugged trims at other brands like X-Line and TrailSport, Hyundai is adding an XRT trim to the Santa Cruz.

Effectively replacing the SEL Premium trim sitting one rung below the top dog Limited, this XRT seeks to add a dose of aggro to Hyundai’s boxified Tucson. As part of the theme, side steps now protrude from its rocker panels, bed rails sprout from the cargo area, and a splash of orange-colored detail now appears on the exterior. The likes of special badges and blacked-out garnish, popular on this type of trim (and easy to add by designers) are all present and accounted for.

This trim gets the 2.5L engine and all-wheel drive, lashed to an 8-speed automatic with flappy paddles. This turbocharged mill makes a healthy 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque; it should be considered required reading for anyone buying a Santa Cruz, since the non-turbo 2.5L wheezes out horsepower and torque numbers which don’t even start with the number ‘2’. The turbo runs fine on regular unleaded, a bonus these days.

Across trims not named XRT, there are a few other changes to the Santa Cruz for 2024. Bi-LED projector headlamps are now standard across the board, dual-zone automatic temperature control & auto defogger are now included from SEL trim level and up, as is the 10.25-inch navigation system so long as SEL customers select the so-called Activity Package. Sadly, that option does not include crayons and a coloring mat. Steering wheel haptic feedback was added to all trims for lane keeping and blind spot collision avoidance, a boon to drivers who fail to pay even the slightest bit of attention whilst behind the wheel.

How important is the Santa Cruz to Hyundai? After being on the market for a couple of pandemic-riddled years, it has settled in as a contributing member of the lineup with about 20,000 of the things finding new homes so far this year. For perspective, the Tucson and Elantra – the brand’s two most popular models – sold 100,591 and 74,738 copies respectively over the same amount of time.

[Images: Hyundai]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jul 10, 2023

    This is an interesting example of a good concept with poor execution.

  • Cprescott Cprescott on Jul 10, 2023

    And still no hybrid.

    • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Jul 10, 2023

      Hybrid would be welcome addition to Santa Cruz. How would it translate from Tucson to the pickup? Would the rear trunk be eliminated? What type of mpg would hybrid pickup deliver?

  • VoGhost Fantastic work by Honda design. When I first saw the pictures, I thought "Is that a second gen Acura NSX?"
  • V16 2025 VW GLI...or 2025 Honda Civic SI? Same target audience, similar price points. Both are rays of sun in the gray world of SUV'S.
  • FreedMike Said this before and I'll say it again: I'm not that exercised about this whole "pay for a subscription" thing, as long as the deal's reasonable. And here's how you make it reasonable: offer it a monthly charge. Let's say that adaptive headlights are a $500 option on this vehicle, and the subscription is $15 a month, or $540 over a three year lease. So you try the feature for a month, and if you like it, you keep it; if you don't, then you discontinue it, like a Netflix subscription. In any case, you didn't get charged $500 up front the feature. That's not a bad deal.In my case, let's say VW offers an over the air chip reflash that gives me another 25 hp. The total price of the upgrade is $1,000 (which is what a reflash would cost you in the aftermarket). If they offered me a one time monthly subscription for $50 to try it out, I'd take it. In other words, maybe the news isn't all bad.
  • 2ACL A good car, but - at least in this configuration -not one that should command a premium. Its qualities just aren't as enduring as those of Honda's contemporary sports cars. For better or worse, this is a formula they remain able to replicate.
  • Jalop1991 I just read that Tesla's profits are WAY down "as the electric vehicle company has faced both more EV competition from established automakers and a slowing of overall EV sales growth." This Cadillac wouldn't help Tesla at all, but the slowing market of EV sales overall means this should be a halo/boutique car. Regardless, yes, they should make it.