2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT 16
2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT 16

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz: Small Pickup Receives Updated Styling, Revamped Interior & New Safety Tech

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz Summary Points

  • The 2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz is based on the unibody Tucson crossover and is part of a niche segment with the Ford Maverick and Honda Ridgeline.

  • The new Santa Cruz resembles the Tucson’s façade with a similar front grille design, low-set headlights, and daytime running lights.

  • “Santa Cruz is a true sport adventure vehicle,” said José Muñoz, president and global COO of Hyundai Motor Company. “Customers will appreciate all the new design details and enhancements inside and out.”

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz: What’s New?

First unveiled in 2021, Hyundai has given the Santa Cruz a comprehensive revamp for a more rugged, go-anywhere vibe. The changes include a new front grille, unique daytime running lights, and updated wheels, all of which make it resemble the 2025 Hyundai Tucson but with a four-foot bed in the back. New paint options for 2025 include Canyon Red and Rockwood Green.

The most noticeable changes are inside the cabin. The 2025 Santa Cruz has a new dashboard with a panoramic curved display that houses dual 12.3-inch screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment display.

There’s also a new steering wheel, redesigned air vents, and a separate HVAC, navigation, and audio panel with physical buttons and switches. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a fingerprint scanner, a digital key, USB-C charging ports, and over-the-air (OTA) updates are standard across the lineup.

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT & Limited
2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT & Limited. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

Santa Cruz XRT

The 2025 Santa Cruz XRT is the most rugged of the lot, slotting below the range-topping Limited. It has exclusive, trim-specific styling points like a bespoke front grille design, wrench-inspired 18-inch wheels wrapped in chunkier all-terrain rubber, and a unique front and rear bumper.

In addition, Santa Cruz XRT gets front tow hooks, embossed XRT logos on the front upper seatbacks, and an increase in the approach angle to make it more capable in the wild.

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz Powertrain

The SE and SEL have a 2.5-liter direct-injected four-cylinder gas engine with 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque. The engine connects to an eight-speed automatic with a multi-disc torque converter, a downsized oil pump, and double ball bearings to minimize frictional losses while delivering smoother, more engaging shifts.

Higher trim levels receive a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft. of torque. It mates to an eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission with steering-mounted paddle shifters.

Front-wheel drive is standard for both engines. However, Hyundai’s multi-mode HTRAC all-wheel drivetrain remains optional, a system that utilizes an electronically controlled variable torque split clutch to provide active torque control between the front and rear axles.

Fuel Economy

The official EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz are forthcoming.

Since there are no major changes for the engine and driveline, we expect the numbers to be similar to the 2024 variant (22/26 city/highway and 23 combined with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine with front-wheel drive).

2024 Santa Cruz turbo variants with all-wheel drive deliver an EPA-rated 19 in the city, 27 on the highway, and 22 combined.

Towing & Payload

The 2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz can tow up to 3,500 lbs. (when properly equipped) with the base 2.5-liter engine and front-wheel drive. The 2.5-liter turbo engine with all-wheel drive can tow a max of 5,000 lbs.

The maximum payload ranges from 1,568 to 1,906 lbs., depending on the trim model.

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT interior layout.
2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT interior layout. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

Safety Ratings & Features

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz is an IIHS Top Safety Pick with a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA. We expect the 2025 variant to receive similar safety recommendations.

All Hyundai Santa Cruzes have SmartSense, a package of driver assistance features. The package includes forward collision avoidance, blind-spot warnings, lane-keeping assist, lane-following assist, driver attention warning, and high beam assist.

The Santa Cruz XRT adds a blind spot and surround-view monitor. A forward attention warning system is new for 2025.

Hyundai Santa Cruz Warranty

The 2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz leaves the Montgomery, Alabama, manufacturing plant with a five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Also included is a seven-year/unlimited miles anti-perforation warranty and 24/7 roadside assistance for five years/unlimited miles.

If the factory coverage is not enough for any reason, options are available to extend the warranty on any Hyundai vehicle.

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz Starting MSRP

The Hyundai Santa Cruz arrives at U.S. dealerships this fall as a 2025 model. The starting MSRPs remain forthcoming, but we expect the base prices to begin at under $30,000 for the SE and up to $43,000 for the top-of-the-line Limited.

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz XRT Gallery

2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited Gallery

Photos & Source: Hyundai Motor America.