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The ’24 Santa Cruz’s trim quintet is made up of the SE, SEL, Night, XRT, and Limited. The base engine, a 191-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, powers the SE and SEL; the Night, XRT, and Limited upgrade to a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 281 hp and 311 lb.-ft. of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission pairs with the base engine, but the turbo engine gets a wet dual-clutch automatic as its mate. Front-wheel drive is standard on the SE and SEL, but they’re eligible for the available all-wheel drive (standard on the three highest trims). Santa Cruz buyers who plan to tow will be pleased to learn that the SE and SEL will be able to pull as much as 3,500 pounds, while the higher trims can handle a maximum of 5,000 lb. The EPA has officially estimated that the SE and SEL with FWD will achieve about 22 mpg around town and 26 mpg on the highway; their ratings with AWD change to 21 city/25 highway. The Night, XRT, and Limited are rated to return 19 city/27 highway.
The SE has the aforementioned bi-LED headlights along with LED daytime running lights and taillights. Otherwise, it’s set up in a rather no-nonsense way with cloth seats, a 4.2-inch gauge cluster, power windows with driver’s auto-down, two front-console USB ports, rear privacy glass, 18-inch wheels, an acoustic-laminated windshield, and 60/40-split tip-up lower seat cushions in the back row. The truck’s utility features are highlighted by a customizable cargo bed and a multi-functional tailgate with assisted open/close. There are locking storage bins within the bed, which is set up with heavy-duty D-rings to tie down cargo securely. The SE’s infotainment system is based around an 8-inch touchscreen that’s used to control the smartphone integration (wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), HD radio, and Bluetooth phone/audio streaming.
The SEL adds remote start, proximity keyless entry, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated exterior mirrors, push-button ignition, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, auto-up/down front windows, and illuminated vanity mirrors. SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluelink connected car services are added in the connectivity department. The optional Activity Package will furnish the SEL with roof rails, LED bed lights, a tonneau cover with T-slot utility tracks, a C-channel adjustable utility track rail and cleat system, a sliding rear window, a 115-volt power outlet (in the bed sidewall), a sunroof, wireless phone charging, and LED interior lights. Hyundai also gives this trim a pair of 10.25-inch digital screens: one for instrumentation and the other for infotainment. The smartphone integration reverts to the manually plugged-in variety, but dynamic voice recognition and navigation are added to the system.
The Night trim gets H-Tex upholstery in black and receives the contents of the Activity Package as standard equipment. It also gets dark exterior trim work, side steps, 20-inch wheels, and upgraded LED headlights. But the XRT steals the show with its wide fender flares, matte-black exterior elements, eye-catching 18-inch wheels with orange markings, and bed-top side rails. Hyundai’s Digital Key and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are part of its standard equipment as well. Although the Limited loses the XRT’s side steps, side rails, and wide fender flares, it returns the 20-inch wheels and also gets leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a premium Bose audio system, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, ambient interior lighting, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, and an enhanced second row with its own HVAC vents and pair of USB ports.
Hyundai Smart Sense, the automaker’s advanced active-safety technology suite, is installed in every 2024 Santa Cruz. The components in the base version are high beam assist, driver attention warning, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, safe exit warning, and rear occupant alert. The XRT also gets adaptive cruise control and intelligent speed limit assist. The Limited gets the fully loaded version of Smart Sense, containing all of the above plus a surround-view monitor, a blind-spot view monitor, highway driving assist, and navigation-based adaptive cruise control.