The engine is one of the most essential auto parts as it provides the power required to get the vehicle moving. It should be powerful enough to keep up with the traffic while being fuel-efficient to help motorists avoid pain at the pump. Hyundai has stuck with the tried and true in 2024, giving its latest Santa Cruz the same engine options as the previous model year. Take a closer look at the engines that power this latest Hyundai truck.
Gasoline Direct Injection/Multipoint Injection (GDI-MPI) Engines
The technical specifications for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz show all trim levels have GDI-MPI engines. Fuel-injected engines replaced motors that used carburation as they run more efficiently, which reduces fuel consumption and lowers emissions. Multipoint injection (MPI) systems, which inject fuel into each intake port, are some of the most common fuel-injected engines.
The GDI-MPI engines are the latest innovation in MPI engines. They control the fuel supply more precisely to make them more fuel-efficient than diesel engines. Their efficient intake and high compression ratio also help these engines perform better and more responsively than regular MPI engines. Compared to similar-sized MPI motors, GDI-MPI engines have roughly 10% higher torque and output at all speeds. These motors also help vehicles accelerate roughly 10% faster. Autozine reports that cars with GDI-MPI engines also use between 20% and 35% less gas and generate 20% less carbon dioxide emissions.
Base Model I-4 Motor
A 2.5-liter I-4 motor is the base model engine available with the 2024 Hyundai SANTA CRUZ’s SE and SEL trims. This capable entry-level engine generates 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is the standard pairing for this motor, but you can upgrade to HTRAC all-wheel drive (AWD). It’s also matched to a standard torque-converter eight-speed automatic transmission system.
Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Engine for Higher Trims
Higher trim levels still have a 2.5-liter I-4 engine, but it’s turbocharged. That extra boost of power results in increasing the engine output to 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. HTRAC AWD also becomes the standard system with this motor. While it also has an eight-speed automatic transmission system, it uses a dual clutch for improved fuel efficiency.
Good Fuel Economy With Both Engines
It’s common for turbocharged engines to sacrifice fuel efficiency to improve performance, but that’s not really the case here. Motoring publications such as Autoblog and Motortrend have praised how Hyundai engineered its turbocharged engine to offer excellent performance without a significant depreciation in fuel economy.
Choosing AWD over the standard FWD transmission only sees fuel efficiency dip slightly. With the FWD, the SE and SEL trims both get 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway for a combined fuel economy rating of 23 mpg. With optional AWD, these trim levels with the standard I-4 engine get 21 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. While that’s a small reduction in fuel economy, it’s so minor that the combined rating still stands at 23 mpg.
While fuel economy drops slightly with the turbocharged engine, this decrease isn’t as substantial as in many vehicles. The Night, XRT, and Limited trims that offer this engine all get 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Those excellent open-road statistics help offset the significant decrease in fuel economy in the city. These trims have a combined fuel economy rating of 22 mpg.
You’ll find the turbocharged four-cylinder on the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night, XRT, and Limited. The XRT is a new trim level for the 2024 model year, which replaces the SEL Premium trim. The SEL Premium trim only had the regular four-cylinder motor, so it’s exciting to see this comparable new trim level getting an engine upgrade.
Capable Towing for Fun on the Weekends
It might be a compact pickup, but you shouldn’t underestimate the 2024 Santa Cruz’s pulling power. The torque of its engine provides the low-end power you need to haul a range of leisure equipment. With the towing package, which features towing brakes and standard four-pin trailer pre-wiring, the SE and SEL trims have a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds. That’s enough pulling power to tow up to a 17-foot camper, a two-horse horse trailer, or smaller loads like dirt bikes and fishing boats.
Upgrade to the higher Night, XRT, or Limited trims, and you’ll benefit from the extra torque of the turbocharged motor. This increases the towing capacity with the towing package to 5,000 pounds. With four- or seven-pin trailer pre-wiring, you might pull a larger camper measuring up to 30 feet or a big four-horse horse trailer.
Some people wary of new technology may wonder about the reliability and maintenance needs of the newer GDI-MPI engines Hyundai uses for its Santa Cruz. However, these pickups have a similar recommended maintenance schedule to other vehicles in their class. They’re also incredibly reliable. J.D. Power gave the 2023 Santa Cruz a quality and reliability score of 83, and with few changes in the new model year, the 2024 pickups should score similarly.
Direct-injected engines are more particular about gas quality, though. Choosing high-quality gas every time can reduce the risk of carbon buildup on the intake valves. Using the Santa Cruz for longer trips rather than short commutes in stop-start traffic can also help the engine run better and reduce maintenance needs. However, it’s not a major issue. Our service center can clean the intake valves if carbon builds up over time.
Test-Drive the 2024 Santa Cruz at Huffines Hyundai Plano
We think taking the new 2024 Santa Cruz for a test drive is the best way to appreciate Hyundai’s improvements to the new model engines. When you visit our dealership in Plano, Texas, you can also ask our sales team questions about these new compact pickups and compare them to new and used older models. To make purchasing one of these great pickups even easier, we’re open 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day but Sunday.