2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system and loss of power transmission issues are among the top complaints to the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The first 4-door Hyundai pickup truck available in the North American market, the Santa Cruz has had plenty of problems since it was launched in 2021 as a 2022 model. The worst problem has been a loss of power issue attributed to a failing powertrain and malfunctioning engine. And it’s not improving with the 2023 model. Additionally, consumers have complaints about the electrical system. 

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2022

Most Common Problems

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is considered a carry-over model from its 2022 predecessor. There are only very minor changes between the two models. For example, there is a new Night trim package, and certain multimedia/technology features are included on more models. Safety improvements, including blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, aren’t new, but are now standard on all models. There are also a couple of color changes.

What hasn’t changed is the powertrain or engine, both of which top the list of complaints about the 2022 model to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We highlighted these issues in our post about top complaints to the NHTSA about the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Like the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, the 2023 model has serious loss of power transmission problems. But, unlike the 2022 model, Hyundai has not released a recall relating to transmission problems. This is a major concern.

Other components mentioned in NHTSA complaints are the electrical system, lane departure, and seats.

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Exterior Lighting
Trailer Hitches
Vehicle Speed Control
Service Brakes
Air Bags

Problems with the Transmission and Loss of Power

There have been so many complaints about loss of power and acceleration in the 2022 model, Lemberg Law is already investigating these issues.

A 2023 owner from Malverne in New York describes this very same issue. He describes how his new 2023 Santa Cruz “suffered a loss of power and would not accelerate.” He was in the car with his wife and 2 young children at the time. They all “felt the vehicle shudder,” but he was able to drive the vehicle home.

A day later, when he started his Santa Cruz, he got an error notice from the internal diagnostics system: “transmission control P087501 POWERTRAIN TCU.” The system advised him to have the vehicle serviced immediately. So, he had it towed to the nearest Hyundai dealership and was waiting for feedback when he lodged the complaint.

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Recalls & Manufacturer Communications

As mentioned above, Hyundai issued a recall because of a loss of driver power that affects the 2022 Santa Cruz, but has not included the 2023 model. Nevertheless, there is a manufacturer communication that relates to both models, that provides dealers with information regarding replacement of 8-speed dual clutch transmissions and the associated transmission control module.

The technical service bulletin (TSB) doesn’t provide information relating to why these transmissions will need to be replaced. So, it isn’t clear whether they do, in fact, play a role in loss of power or acceleration issues.

The recall that affects the 2022 model, on the other hand, states that a transmission oil pump malfunction can cause “complete loss of drive power.” This is because the car’s “fail-safe,” limited-mobility drive mode can be impaired. The question is, why haven’t they issued a recall for the 2023 model? After all, nothing has changed!

Electrical System Malfunctions

These vary from an owner not being able to adjust the height of the driver’s seat to audio failure on all warnings.

An owner from Minoa in New York says that the audio in his vehicle stopped working less than a week after he bought it. None of the warnings had any kind of audible indication. These include blind spot, back seat, lane departure, rear collision, and front collision. “Looking up the issue online, it seems this is common on the trim of my vehicle (Limited). I brought it to the dealership for repair. When I got it back, they said there was a loose connection in the back of the radio.”

In a brand new vehicle?

Another electrical system complaint states that the driver’s seat power height adjustment doesn’t work. The dealership told him they had verified the issue “and it was because of something I had under the seat. They claimed to have corrected it, and verified (the) operation, but it still doesn’t work. When confronted about it, the service manager now insists it’s the switch that’s the problem, and he is ordering a new one. This issue prevents me from adjusting the height of my seat, so I sit so high that the rearview mirror blocks my field of view.”

A week after the incident, the issue remained unresolved.

What if your 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a lemon? Your Lemon Law Rights

If your 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz has problems that affect its value and/or use, you might be sitting with a lemon. But, auto manufacturers are constantly buying back, replacing, and paying owners cash settlements because people prove they have bought lemons.

If you think you have a lemon, you can contact Lemberg Law and we will assess your problems free of charge. You’ve got nothing to lose because the law says that Hyundai must foot the bills for lemon law cases.

Call us on our Helpline or fill out a contact form today.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 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
  • Robert S

    I have a 2023 Santa Cruz too, my transmission (20k miles) has been determined defective. I’m waiting for new transmission to be delivered and installed, it’s been 2 weeks. The dealership said it could take up to 5 weeks. In the meantime, I have to pay for a rental vehicle, which Hyundai claims that they will reimburse. They really need to move these things along quicker, as it’s a brand new car and should be a priority.

  • Kathy

    My 2023 Santa Cruz has been sitting at the dealership now for 7.5 weeks. I was losing power so I had it towed to them. The vehicle had less than 5000 miles. After calling many times for an update, it was determined it needed a transmission. Now the dealership has been saying the trans was approved by Hyundai and they are still waiting for shipment. Now I’m told it may be end November it will be done.
    Time for action, called Hyundai, got a case #, going for the “lemon” law. As much as I loved the Santa Cruz, I don’t want all the problems that comes with it. BEWARE and BE AWARE!

  • Drew S

    2023 Santa Cruz SEL Premium. I’ve had the car 45 days with about 4,000 highway miles on it. I am noticing increasingly the engine shudder when shifting from 1st to 2nd gear (right as 2nd gear engages). I’ve had an excellent experience with other Hyundais over many years. This is my first major complaint.

  • Kevin

    I was looking at purchasing a santa cruz … but am having second thoughts now. This engine issue, can’t accelerate, happened to me in a 2023 santa fe rental, so I guess I will remove Hyundai from my list altogether…

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