2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Makes Night Moves, Adds Standard Safety Tech, Higher Price

hyundai-santa-cruz-night-2023-02-exterior-oem 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night | Manufacturer image

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the latest vehicle to add a blacked-out trim to its lineup. Dubbed the Night, the new trim will sit near the top of the Santa Cruz hierarchy. Other updates to the compact pickup truck (Hyundai would prefer we call the Santa Cruz a “Sport Adventure Vehicle”) include additional standard safety features and improved equipment for higher trims. Prices are also increasing: The 2023 base SE now starts at $26,745, a $1,010 jump from the 2022 SE (all prices include destination fee).

Related: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Review: A Good Kind of Weird

The Santa Cruz is available with either front- or all-wheel drive, with AWD standard on higher trims. Power comes from either a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 191 horsepower and 181 pounds-feet of torque, or a much peppier turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder producing 281 hp and 311 pounds-feet of torque. The base 2.5-liter is paired to a traditional eight-speed automatic transmission; turbo variants use an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.

hyundai-santa-cruz-night-2023-01-exterior-oem 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night | Manufacturer image

Workin’ on Night Moves

It might be easier to make a list of vehicles that don’t offer blackout trims or appearance packages at this point, but there’s a reason for their popularity: Lots of shoppers think they look pretty cool. The Santa Cruz Night seems unlikely to be an exception to that rule, with a dark chrome grille, gloss-black mirror caps and door handles, dual side steps, and trim-specific 20-inch black wheels and front and rear styling. Exterior paint colors for the Night are limited to either black or gray.

Beyond appearance changes, there are mechanical changes, as well. While based on the AWD SEL Activity’s equipment, the Night gives owners the turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder, eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.

hyundai-santa-cruz-night-2023-03-exterior-oem 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night | Manufacturer image

More Standard Safety Tech, SEL Premium Adds Features

Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist and a driver attention warning were already standard on the Santa Cruz. For 2023, it adds a safe exit warning system and blind spot warning with collision avoidance assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

Equipment previously only available on the range-topping Limited now also appears on the second-highest trim, the SEL Premium. A 10.25-inch touchscreen display with navigation is now standard, as is voice recognition. The SEL Premium also gains adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, speed limit assist and navigation-based cruise control that can detect curves in the road and adjust speeds accordingly.

Pricing and Release Date

Hyundai says the 2023 Santa Cruz is on sale now, with “stock increasing over time,” according to a Hyundai spokesperson in an email to Full pricing for the entire Santa Cruz lineup is below. The SE, SEL and SEL Activity are powered by the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter and can add AWD for an additional $1,500; all other trims come with the 2.5 turbo and AWD.

  • SE: $26,745 ($1,010 increase)
  • SEL: $29,085 ($150 increase)
  • SEL Activity: $32,355 ($150 increase)
  • Night: $37,105 (new for 2023)
  • SEL Premium: $38,645 ($1,220 increase)
  • Limited: $41,615 ($150 increase)

Versus the Competition

At the moment, the Ford Maverick is the sole competitor for the Santa Cruz. While 2023 pricing isn’t available from Ford, the 2022 model is more affordable, with prices ranging from the low $20,000s to the mid-$30,000s. The 2023 Maverick will also add an available Tremor off-road package, but even with that added cost, it’s still likely to be more affordable than the Santa Cruz.

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