The 2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz Gets Just What It Needed

The 2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz is getting exactly what it needed.

A refresh to the small CUV-based trucklet brings new tech and a more rugged XRT trim. There are other minor changes, but without question, Hyundai looks to have set the Santa Cruz up for success with these updates.

For 2025, XRT trims see much more meaningful changes. Previously, the “rugged” trim came with all-season tires. Now, much more appropriate XRT-specific 18-inch wheels and all-terrain tires are fitted. There are also more hardcore XRT front and rear bumpers, and a new grille. The latter will help boost approach angles, and front tow hooks are standard in case drivers get in too deep. Ideally, the new surround-view cameras will help with spotting off-road, and a blind-spot camera should help with spotting on pavement too. Finally, XRT models will see new “XRT” debossing on the front upper seatback.

The Santa Cruz lineup as a whole sees a new front fascia and grille, helping to differentiate it from models past. The new daytime running lights will do the same, and Hyundai will offer a host of new wheel designs as well. Inside, the Stana Cruz at last transitions to the brand’s ubiquitous pair of 12.3-inch screens housed behind a single pane of glass. Hyundai has evidently heard complaints regarding physical touch controls, and more physical switches have been added for audio and climate controls. Other interior changes include a new wheel, air vents, and rear center armrest (with cupholders).

Other new tech has been added as a result of the latest in Hyundai infotainment. This includes wireless phone projection on all trims, OTA update capacity, USB-C ports, Bluelink connected car care, a digital key, and a fingerprint scanner. A new Forward Attention Warning will warn drivers when their eyes drift off-course, and two new colors, Rockwood Green and Canyon Red will accompany available gray/green leather interior surfaces.

Powertrain specs aren’t changing. The entry level Santa Cruz is powered by a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine making 191 horsepower and 181 lb.-ft. of torque. Optional remains a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic with standard AWD. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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Chase Bierenkoven
Chase Bierenkoven

Chase is an automotive journalist with years of experience in the industry. He writes for outlets like Edmunds and AutoGuide, among many others. When not writing, Chase is in front of the camera over at The Overrun, his YouTube channel run alongside his friend and co-host Jobe Teehan. If he's not writing reviews of the latest in cars or producing industry coverage, Chase is at home in the driver's seat of his own (usually German) sports cars.

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