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

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

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Electrical System
Exterior Lighting
Unknown Or Other
Lane Departure: Blind Spot Detection
Lane Departure: Warning

Most Common Problems with the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz

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.

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.

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.

Complaint Data

CategoryPower Train
DateFeb 22, 2023
On february 10, 2023, I was driving my 2023 hyundai santa cruz on interstate 10 near gautier, mississippi. My cruise control was activated and I was cruising at a speed of about 76mph. Suddenly the vehicle began to rev up to 7,000 rpms and decelerate. The vehicle then began to coast at around 45mph and pressing the accelerator did not increase the speed but did cause the vehicle to rev. I was able to coast down the off-ramp and turn into a parking lot, however I was nearly hit by oncoming traffic because the vehicle was losing power and I was unable to accelerate. Hyundai roadside assistance towed me to the nearest dealership with service center, jason pilger hyundai. By the time the tow truck arrived, the vehicle would not accelerate at all and the driver had to push the vehicle around to the tow truck. After assessing the vehicle, the hyundai dealership called hyundai tech line and told me that my 2023 santa cruz needed a new transmission. The transmission is also on backorder, so I have no idea when my vehicle will be repaired. Hyundai customer care is also refusing to reimburse me the cost of my car payment for a brand new vehicle that I will be unable to drive or access for the foreseeable future. My santa cruz only had 5,337 on the odometer when this occurred.
CategoryEngine, Power Train
DateFeb 09, 2023
The car has 1,360 miles and is only a month old since I bought it. Car sat for 8 hours at my work parking lot. When I went to start it it ran rough like an engine misfire for about 10 seconds then normal. When I drove off with engine cold... The transmission would not shift up and was at 4,000 rpms. The accelerator pedal was not responsive.. Even flooring it yielded no acceleration and the car would not go over 25mph. No check engine lights or trouble lights. I was able to put the automatic into paddle shift mode but the car still did not want to accelerate and when it did it seemed to get stuck at 3500-4000 rpm and no accelerator input. Shut the car off then back on again after I pulled over because the car would not accelerate. - now it is fine with no issues it seems like. Took to the dealer and they could not recreate the issue .. No trouble codes or open flash information available for a fix.
CategoryPower Train
DateFeb 05, 2023
Sat feb 4 2023 . There is a safety issue I have . With fact I left walmart pulled out into traffic went to 20 miles hour would not go any faster let off gas 3 times pushed and it finally took off this car has less than 3,000 miles on it the only gd thing was I was on side street could only imagine. Pulling in in to traffic moving over 50 mph and getting hit . My wife drives it more than I do . I asked her about this weekend she said it's started doing more and more so it's happening more often. I am taking it to dealer. But therr is no service lights on on dash it's bothers me alot but she has to go to work and so do I she is nurse
DateJan 17, 2023
The windshield washer spray nozzles do not provide proper coverage to clean the windshield. They spray almost directly at the very bottom of the windshield while at rest, and it's even worse when at speed. I had the dealer check it out. They originally told me they adjusted the spray nozzles, but when I picked up the vehicle, the problem was still there. So I brought the vehicle back to the dealership. This time, they told me that these nozzles are not adjustable. The wipers aren't able to clean the windshield, so this causes significant visibility issues; especially with road salt or light rains. And at night, it's very difficult to see where I'm driving.
CategoryExterior Lighting
DateJan 10, 2023
On this new hyundai design the headlights and bright lights are put low, into the area where the bumper and turn signals normally are. They put halogen bulbs in 3 versions (including the version we own). We are older and don't have perfect vision. The lights in this location are unusually dim and can be unsafe at times. The bulbs, in this real location, from the hood, project unusually low, creating a weird field of view, at night. The upper models have led headlights, so we are not sure if this is an issue with that version, although it should be definitely brighter. Led housings and bulbs should be required in all models based on the safety concern. Who puts bulbs so low on the front, under the hood? Is there a law about placement/location of headlights?
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJan 05, 2023
Hyundai manual requires 0w20 oil (which is synthetic) in this engine, to avoid engine failure. Hyundai promises 3 years of free maintenance. But, all local hyundai dealers tell us that hyundai corporate won't pay for the recommended oil when servicing our vehicles. So, they will do the free maintenance but are putting the incorrect weight oil, according to hyundai itself. The hyundai free maintenance, promised when purchasing a new hyundai (35k in our case), can actually damage our new car. And if we don't take the free maintenance, it could void our warranty, down the road. Someone needs to do something about this. This is fraud. Make hyundai put their required oil in their engine, as stated in their owners manual.
CategoryElectrical System, Engine
DateJan 01, 2023
Brand new. I hit the gas trying to pull out onto a busy road and I couldn't go above 30-40mph. The rpms went up but the car would not accelerate. I pulled onto a slower road and tried changing gears manually, and different drive modes such as sport or snow. The problem persisted. I shut the vehicle/engine off and started it back up. Everything ran perfect after that. I googled "hyundai santa cruz no power" and came across dozens of post of the 2022 and 2023 model experiencing the same thing. Like me, no warning lights or codes came up on the dash or the smart app which reports errors. This could cause an accident if someone was behind me.
DateDec 21, 2022
Joined a santa cruz owners blog immediately after purchase. This safety defect involves both the 2022 and 2023 - all models. The front grill (especially the lower section) has no mesh and the openings are too big. Road debris entering this area can disable the engine cooling system and/or the vehicles air conditioning system. A protective mesh or screen has to be designed by hyundai, to fit behind the grill, to deflect large rocks and objects that could disable the motor.
CategoryPower Train
DateNov 08, 2022
On 11/6/2022, while driving the vehicle, it suffered a loss of power and would not accelerate. I was in the vehicle with my wife and 2 young children who felt the vehicle shudder. I was able to drive the vehicle to my home. On 11/7/2022, upon starting the vehicle, I received an error notice from the internal diagnostics system: transmission control p087501 powertrain tcu. System advised to have vehicle serviced immediately. Vehicle was towed to nearest hyundai dealership. Further information awaited.
CategoryElectrical System, Lane Departure: Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure: Warning
DateOct 27, 2022
Less than a week after purchasing the vehicle, the audio stopped working. All warnings had no audible indication, including lane departure, rear collision, front collision, blind spot, and back seat. 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.
CategoryElectrical System, Seats
DateOct 27, 2022
Driver's seat power height adjustment does not work. Brought it to the dealership and they claimed they verified the issue and it was because of something I had under the seat. They claimed to have corrected it, and verified 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 rest view mirror blocks my field of view. This remains unresolved as of 10/26/22.

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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

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