Small but Mighty: 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz vs. 2023 Honda Ridgeline

In the world of pickup trucks, bigger has often been synonymous with better. However, as the automotive landscape evolves, compact trucks are carving out their own niche, offering the perfect blend of versatility, efficiency, and urban-friendliness. Two notable contenders in this segment are the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz and the 2023 Honda Ridgeline. If you’re a resident of Whitby, Ontario, and you’re looking for a small but mighty truck to tackle your daily tasks, this comparison will help you decide which one suits your needs.

Cost & Trim Levels

  • The 2023 Honda Ridgeline has an MSRP of $49,566 CAD
  • The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz has an MSRP of $40,299 CAD

Pricing plays a significant role in the decision-making process for perspective car buyers. The 2023 Honda Ridgeline has an MSRP of $49,566 CAD, which positions it at a higher starting price compared to the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz, which starts at an MSRP of $40,299 CAD—the Ridgeline, being over $9,000 more expensive to start. While the Ridgeline offers a larger bed and a more traditional truck experience, it’s essential to factor in your budget and specific requirements when evaluating these two options. The Santa Cruz’s lower starting price might be appealing for those looking for a compact truck that offers versatility and value, especially when considering the overall cost of ownership, including fuel efficiency and maintenance expenses over time. Ultimately, the choice between these two capable trucks will depend on your unique needs and financial considerations.
Trim Levels

The Hyundai Santa Cruz:

  • The 2023 Hyundai Preferred | Staring MSRP of $40,299
  • The 2023 Hyundai Ultimate | Staring MSRP of $47,099

The Hyundai Santa Cruz offers just two trim levels, each at a very competitive price. Both the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz and the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz are equipped standard with HTRAC™ All-Wheel Drive (AWD), Rearview Camera, BlueLink® connected car system, and Automatic headlights– and much more.

The Honda Ridgeline:

On the other hand, the 2023 Honda Ridgeline offers four trim levels in total, each with a higher price tag than the Hyundai Santa Cruz presents. Some of the standard features are All-Wheel Drive (AWD), Rearview Camera, Door-pocket storage bins, Automatic headlights, and more.

  • The 2023 Honda Ridgeline Sport | Starting MSRP of $49,566
  • The 2023 Honda Ridgeline EX-L | Starting MSRP of $52,566
  • The 2023 Honda Ridgeline Touring | Starting MSRP of $56,766
  • The 2023 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition | Starting MSRP of $58,566

A Compact Revolution: Size & Towing Capabilities

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz:
The Hyundai Santa Cruz represents a bold departure from traditional pickup truck design. It combines the utility of a truck with the comfort and maneuverability of a crossover SUV, making it an appealing option for those who need a vehicle that can handle both city streets and weekend adventures. The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is smaller than the average truck, at approximately 497cm in length, making it easy to navigate through Whitby’s tight streets and parking lots.

While the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz may be small in size, it packs a mighty punch as a compact truck. Beyond its appealing starting price, this vehicle showcases its capabilities in various aspects. One noteworthy feature is its impressive towing capacity, which stands at a substantial 2,268 kilograms. This remarkable towing capability positions the Santa Cruz as a versatile and practical choice for those who require hauling power without sacrificing the benefits of a compact truck. Whether it’s for work-related tasks or off road, the Santa Cruz proves its mettle in handling a range of towing needs.

2023 Honda Ridgeline:

The Honda Ridgeline, on the other hand, is no stranger to challenging the norms of the pickup truck segment. Unlike most trucks, the Ridgeline is built on a unibody platform, which it shares with Honda’s popular Pilot SUV. This unique construction gives the Ridgeline a comfortable and car-like ride, while still providing impressive payload capacity. The 2023 Honda Ridgeline’s length is a little larger than the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz, at 534 cm.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the 2023 Honda Ridgeline, as you may expect due to its larger size compared to the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz, also offers a robust towing capacity of 2,268 kilograms. This level of towing prowess underscores the Ridgeline’s capability as a traditional truck, making it suitable for individuals who require the hauling capacity of a mid-sized pickup.

In this comparison, both the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the Honda Ridgeline exhibit identical towing capabilities, providing potential buyers with versatile options that can handle a variety of towing tasks, from recreational endeavors to work-related demands.

Comparing Performance

When it comes to performance, both the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Honda Ridgeline offer solid options, but there are some key differences.

Hyundai Santa Cruz:

The Santa Cruz offers two engine choices for Canadian buyers. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. If you desire more power for your Whitby adventures, there’s also a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine generating a robust 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque.

Honda Ridgeline:

The Honda Ridgeline comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. While it falls slightly short of the Santa Cruz Turbo’s power output, the Ridgeline’s refined V6 engine delivers smooth and confident acceleration.

Fuel efficiency:

In terms of fuel efficiency, both trucks offer reasonable numbers. The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz’s base engine is more fuel-efficient, with an estimated combined fuel economy of around 9.8 L/100km (24 mpg). The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz’s turbocharged engine is slightly thirstier, with an estimated combined fuel economy of approximately 10.2 L/100km (23 mpg). The 2023 Honda Ridgeline, with its V6 engine, hovers around 11.3 L/100km (21 mpg) combined.

Interior Comfort and Technology

The interior of a vehicle is where you spend most of your time, and both the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz and 2023 Honda Ridgeline aim to make that time enjoyable.

Hyundai Santa Cruz:

Inside the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz, you’ll find a well-designed and spacious cabin with comfortable seating for up to five passengers. Hyundai has equipped the Santa Cruz with modern infotainment features, including an 26cm touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The higher trim levels offer additional amenities like leather seats, a premium sound system, and wireless device charging.

Honda Ridgeline:

The Ridgeline’s interior is also comfortable and user-friendly, with quality materials and plenty of space for passengers. The Ridgeline comes standard with a 20cm touchscreen display featuring Honda’s infotainment system. Like the Hyundai Santa Cruz, it supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Both trucks offer advanced safety features, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking. These features are essential for Whitby drivers, especially when dealing with unpredictable Ontario weather conditions.

Safety Features

When comparing the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz and 2023 Honda Ridgeline, safety is a crucial aspect, especially in Whitby’s diverse driving conditions, which can range from sunny summer days to snowy winter commutes. Both manufacturers have equipped these compact trucks with an array of advanced safety features to help keep you and your passengers safe.

Hyundai Santa Cruz:

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz comes standard with a robust suite of safety features. Its SmartSense package includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keeping assist. These features provide an extra layer of security, particularly during Whitby’s unpredictable weather conditions and heavy traffic. The Santa Cruz’s maneuverability and responsive steering also contribute to a sense of control and safety.

Honda Ridgeline:

The 2023 Honda Ridgeline doesn’t skimp on safety either. It offers the Honda Sensing suite on most trim levels, which includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. The Ridgeline’s available all-wheel-drive system adds traction and stability to your drives, which can be particularly beneficial during Whitby’s slippery winter months.

Both trucks have earned strong safety ratings from organizations like the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). It’s essential to carefully review the available safety options when configuring your truck to ensure you have the level of protection that suits your needs.

When making your decision between a new or a used compact truck in Whitby, Ontario, you’re presented with an array of appealing options. Both the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz and the 2023 Honda Ridgeline stand out with their distinct advantages, making them compelling choices for a wide range of driving needs and lifestyles. These two trucks are well-suited for the unique blend of urban and suburban living that Whitby offers, making them the ideal companions for your everyday journeys and exciting adventures alike. Ultimately, the path you choose between these two small yet robust trucks will hinge on your individual preferences. If factors like price, comprehensive standard features, and overall comfort take precedence in your decision-making process, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz emerges as an enticing option worth your consideration.