2025 Hyundai Tucson And Santa Cruz Get Mid-Cycle Refresh, New Rugged XRT Models


Summary

  • 2025 Hyundai Tucson & Santa Cruz get refreshed with XRT models adding a rugged appearance.
  • New dashboard design features updated technology and over-the-air updates.
  • Tucson offers engine choices, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid. Santa Cruz still only comes with a turbocharged option.



The South-Korean car brands are well known for their rapid iterations. The Hyundai Tucson and Santa Cruz are a case in point. Although it feels like these vehicles hit our market yesterday (2022 for both of them), Hyundai is already proceeding to a mid-cycle refresh for the 2024 model year.

Both unveiled as world premiers at the 2024 New York Auto Show, Hyundai’s compact crossover and pickup truck change mostly in terms of their content in order to remain competitive within their respective segments, but also to be more coherent with Hyundai recent new products. A new XRT adventure package should also be a hit with outdoorsy types.

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Slightly Redesigned Front And Rear Fascias, XRT Models Add More Brawn

First introduced on the 2024 Santa Fe, the XRT trim levels aim at giving the Tucson and the Santa Cruz a more rugged, outdoorsy vibe. They’ll add XRT-specific front and rear bumpers and grille, front tow hooks, trim-specific 18-inch wheels, all-terrain tires and increased approach angles thanks to the redesigned bumpers.


No, the 2025 Hyundai Tucson and Santa Cruz XRT will not be hardcore off-road beasts like a Jeep Wrangler or a Ford Bronco, but their rugged look alone could help attract a new kind of customer to their respective nameplates.

More Technology And More Brand-Coherent Dashboard Design

Although Hyundai prides itself on not having a homogenous design language across its lineup, both cars will now come with Hyundai’s full tablet setup, comprised of two 12.3-inch screens for driver information and infotainment. This is essentially the same layout as in the new Hyundai Kona and Santa Fe. The system is also compatible with over-the-air (OTA) updates, allowing Hyundai to remotely correct glitches and add features on the go.

The new, more open setup is a clear departure from the previous double-concave layout that clearly separated the instrument cluster and the infotainment system into two distinct screens. Also gone are the haptic feedback buttons to operate volume and other vital audio or infotainment functions. They’ve been replaced with much more reliable physical units, as per Hyundai’s recent testament of preserving physical controls.


Same Drivetrains, Still No Hybrid For Santa Cruz

2025 Tucson and Santa Cruz carry over with the same engine choices as before. On the Tucson side, there’s still a generous offering of conventional internal combustion engines (ICE), hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology.

The entry level engine for Tucson is a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder good for 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Next up in the lineup is the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid that churns out a combined 231 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Finally, the plug-in hybrid model which utilizes the same drivetrain as the regular hybrid, but with an added 13.8-kWh lithium-ion battery for full electric propulsion up to 33 miles on a full charge. Combined output for this drivetrain is rated at 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.


As for the 2025 Santa Cruz, the sole powertrain option remains the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It’s still good for 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to tow up to 5,000 pounds. Sadly, there is still no hybrid option for Hyundai’s compact truck, unlike its main rival, the Ford Maverick.

As I write this, both the 2025 Hyundai Tucson and 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz are making their way into US and Canadian Hyundai showrooms.



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