2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain & engine issues are among the top complaints from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Experiencing loss of power? Read our post on Hyundai Santa Cruz Loss of Power Issues.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the automaker’s first pickup truck, so there’s been plenty of excitement. Hyundai claims it is “up for anything,” but owners say the opposite is true. This pickup suffers from defective exterior lighting, a malfunctioning engine and a failing powertrain.

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Problems with the Exterior Lighting

Seeing clearly shouldn’t be something anyone needs to fight for, yet the Santa Cruz doesn’t come equipped the way it’s needed if owners are driving at night.

One NHTSA complaint reads, “My Santa Cruz headlights have a dark shadow on the driver’s side while driving at night. It is extremely distracting and it can be a danger. The blind spot is very obvious. It can lead the driver to look at the shadow instead of the road as well as a portion of the headlight projection is not illuminating the road. The 2022 Tucson has the same front headlight configuration and while searching the Hyundai forum, the same problem exists for that vehicle. This is a constant problem while driving at night.”

Creating headlights seems like common sense; something that every automaker should understand how to do. Yet, Hyundai hasn’t gotten many of the basics down, including the tonneau cover based on what is shown with Service Bulletin #DBP971. This communication shows that the cover can’t be seated properly and might even become detached. With this in mind, it sure is “up for anything.”

Problems with the Engine

As a pickup truck, the Santa Cruz needs to be potent and ready to go. However, the defective engine is causing a lot of trouble.

Another NHTSA complaint reads, “LOSS OF POWER. My Hyundai has 400miles on it. In the morning started driving very sluggish- felt the loss or 30% power. On a highway trying to pass the vehicle/merge into traffic- could not get up past 2.5K RPMS and get up to traffic speed -60 MPH. Felt very unsafe- had to quickly take the exit, as I was impeding traffic. Taking car to a dealership.”

Without an engine that runs right, it’s going to be hard getting jobs done and enjoying adventures. Forget the truck bed, this vehicle isn’t even worthy of driving down the road. However, this isn’t the only engine problem. Hyundai released Service Bulletin #21-EM-012H that says a misassembled check valve in the PCV system is causing an oil leak in the intake, where it ruins the air cleaner. This problem can cause its own set of issues, showing it’s not “up for anything” other than sitting at the dealership.

Problems with the Powertrain

The powertrain encompasses the engine, but also relates to the transmission too. Again, this system is nothing but dysfunctional with the Santa Cruz.

One final NHTSA complain states, “The contact owns a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz. The contact stated that while accelerating from a complete stop, the RPM revved up; however, the vehicle would not exceed 25 MPH. The contact exited the highway and veered to the side of the road. The contact stated that as he turned off and restarted the vehicle, he was able to drive the vehicle with no further issues. The dealer was notified of the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and a case was opened. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 1,200.”

In this case, Hyundai has nothing to say about the problem. The automaker isn’t “up for anything,” especially if it means that the manufacturer looks bad. Step up Hyundai and make this truck right for customers or this could be your last pickup model ever to hit the roads of America.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Hyundai pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Jim a

    Started the car ,put in reverse, foot on brake started to back up slowly steering wheel turned all the way to right. Felt like car stated to strain itself, Bam, the whole car shook, felt like some one rear ended me.
    Now I don’t want to drive it.

  • garypringle

    2020 turbo santa cruz stopped twice wouldnt move out of park or crank both times had to be towed to dealers and has beenin dealers since aug 8th i paid for 1st tow and ride home from out of town jan28 and paid ride home from aug 8th from out of town it is a leased truck want to turn in or manufacture pay lease august and sept it would cover my cost 686.96/m plus insurance i havent mentioned missed events and travel that was cancelled . Thanks for support gary

  • Philip M

    Which engine are you speaking of? There are two, the 2.5 naturally aspirated and the 2.5 Turbo

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