2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz ute updated, still no closer to Australia


The Hyundai Santa Cruz has received its first facelift, with subtle exterior design changes and an all-new dash.


The 2025 Hyundai Santa Cruz has been unveiled in North America, showing off refreshed exterior styling and new interior technology.

Three years after the Santa Cruz was launched, Hyundai has updated the mid-size ‘lifestyle’ ute with a revised front-end design and a big interior change – and the off-road-oriented XRT variant gaining tweaked bumpers, grille, wheels, and tow hooks.

While the vehicle is based on the same underpinnings as the Tucson SUV sold in Australia, the Santa Cruz ute is exclusively manufactured in left-hand drive at Hyundai’s factory in Alabama, USA – ruling out the model for a local launch in this generation.

The Santa Cruz now gets dual 12.3-inch screens, like much of Hyundai’s line-up – with one for the digital instrument cluster, and another for infotainment – as well as offering wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a fingerprint scanner, Bluelink+ smartphone app connection, and the ability to receive over-the-air updates.

The Santa Cruz XRT also gets a 360-degree camera, and blind-spot cameras.

Also new inside is a three-spoke steering wheel, replacing the four-spoke item previously fitted, and a redesigned dashboard with new air vents.

Nothing has changed under the bonnet, with the Santa Cruz offered with a choice of a 2.5-litre non-turbo four-cylinder petrol engine producing 142kW and 245Nm, or a turbocharged version putting out 210kW and 422Nm.

While both use eight-speed transmissions, the former is a torque-converter automatic, while the latter uses a dual-clutch automatic with paddle-shifters – both driving all four wheels.

While the current petrol Santa Cruz won’t come to Australia, Drive understands Hyundai has plans in place to introduce an electric ute locally in the coming years.

As reported by Drive in July 2023, unconfirmed reports suggest Hyundai is planning to bring a ute to the Australian market that is half a size larger than the likes of the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, offered with electric power.

While yet to be confirmed by the South Korean brand, the electric Hyundai ute won’t be related to the forthcoming Kia Tasman ute, though batteries and electric motors may be shared across the two platforms.

MORE:Search Used Hyundai Cars for Sale
MORE:Search Used Hyundai Cars for Sale
Ben Zachariah

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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