Hyundai Santa Cruz Loss of Power | Transmission Problems

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Lemberg Law is investigating complaints regarding loss of power issues in the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruise that lead to vehicles stopping on busy streets, on highways, and even in parking lots. Vehicle owners report that when accelerating they suddenly lose power and stop without any warning.

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Is There a Problem with the Transmission?

There is a major problem with the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, which launched in the U.S. in 2021. Described by Hyundai as their first ever “sport adventure vehicle,” the compact 4-door pickup truck is the subject of multiple complaints that relate to loss of power problems.

Santa Cruz forums are buzzing with stories about power loss that happens at random, without warning of any sort. There are already 36 complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the new Santa Cruz. The bulk of these are about a loss of power. None report accidents but many describe close calls.

The NHTSA complaints are filed in several different categories – Engine, Power Train, Vehicle Speed Control, and Unknown or Other – with many owners finding out their transmission is at fault. There are no technical service bulletins (TSBs) on file.

What Problems are Owners Experiencing?

Most of the complaints from 2022 Santa Cruz owners state that they lose power when they press the accelerator pedal. But this is not always the case. For example, one NHTSA complaint states: “Engine shut off on its own at low speed (4 mph) while driving in a parking lot and a warning light indicated to put the car in neutral and restart the engine.”

Here are some examples of the range of complaints on file with the NHTSA that describe various symptoms. The first of these is dated February 17, 2022, and they just keep multiplying.

Owners from California state:

During the first 6 months of ownership, this owner states that the power has intermittently stalled upon pulling off from a traffic light or accelerating onto the freeway, or while turning and pulling up onto a supermarket’s parking lot. It revs up loudly, but without any power or acceleration, without any warning.

“I’m always afraid that someone will run into my rear end because drivers behind me have no way of knowing that my car has suddenly stopped being able to accelerate. It keeps making the loud noise as if it’s no longer in Drive or the right gear as I’m pressing down on the accelerator peddle. It does this for approximately 10 seconds each time that it has happened.”

The dealership checked the car but said they couldn’t reproduce the transmission problem the owner was having. “I’m very concerned, each time I drive my new car, about the potential for this sudden loss of power. This is extremely unsafe, scary, and anxiety-producing. I should be enjoying my new car. I’ve searched Santa Cruz owner’s forums and other sites, to see if other owners are experiencing the same, or similar problems with their vehicles. Some say they’ve reported the concerns to (the) dealership and to the manufacturer, with no response. Please help!”

Another Californian owner states: “Engine took longer than normal to start. After starting, I drove 1/4 mile and (the) engine had no power at all. RPM would rev but no power. Pulled over and stopped. Restarted vehicle and everything returned to normal.”

Another states that “the engine stopped responding while pressing the accelerator. Vehicle would not go faster than 28mph. Once turned off and restarted, (the) engine acted normally. Vehicle is less than 1 week old with approximately 200 miles.”

Owners from Texas state:

“Complete transmission failure on the highway without warning.”

“There were no warning signs ahead of the failure. No warning lights or any mechanical noises/vibrations to indicate the transmission was about to fail. I had no drive and was unable to accelerate and had to make my way across 4 lanes of traffic without the ability to accelerate at all which was very dangerous and I was fortunate nothing happened to myself or anyone else.”

The Santa Cruz was towed to a dealership and the owner was told there was “fluctuation in oil pressure in the transmission” and the whole unit needed replacing. After a month, he was still waiting on the transmission replacement.

Faulty transmission was also diagnosed for another Santa Cruz in Texas:

After losing power, the owner got the vehicle to a dealership and was told “it will need a new transmission not sure how long to get it. No car or trucks to loan and no rent car to be had. Had to wait till the next week to get one and pay $150 in Tax money for a rent car and still make the payment on the truck this is so wrong.”

Another complaint states that the engine shut down the first time with less than 500 miles on the clock. He believes his pickup truck is “very unsafe on the road.”

An owner from Hawaii states:

“On March 31, 2022, my Hyundai Santa Cruz SEL Premium flashed a warning to pull over immediately. The engine lost power. I had the gas pedal floored but it wouldn’t move. I stopped in the middle of the road, shut the car off,and turned it on again 3 times before getting the car to drive.

“The car sent an email saying it was a transmission problem. I called the dealership and had it picked up. They determined it was a bad chip on a pump for the transmission. Three weeks later, after numerous attempts to get an update, the dealership told me the Hyundai Corporation wouldn’t allow the pump to be replaced. The dealership has to replace the entire transmission. The estimated date of arrival to California is June 16th! Then it will have to be shipped to Hawaii. This is infuriating. I leased the car 10/16/21 and it only has 2,799 miles on it.”

An owner from Minnesota states:

“2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited, 2.5T with 8-speed DCT, with 11,765 miles. This has happened 3 times in a 3-day period. Upon accelerating from a stop, there was a complete loss of power. I applied more pressure to the accelerator and still no power. It seemed like the vehicle was out-of-gear or had an engine misfire. After about 10 seconds, a puff of thick, dark smoke came out from the tailpipe and acceleration resumed as if nothing happened.

“Upon coming to a stop and exiting the vehicle, there was a smell of burnt rubber coming from under the hood, but I could not locate the source. There have been at least 3 other instances in the last week where there was some hesitation when accelerating from a stop (again, it felt like it was in the wrong gear or there was a misfire) but not a complete loss of power and dark smoke like in the other instances. After each of the above instances, I attached an OBDII tool to look for error codes but there were none.”

An owner from Indiana states:

“Vehicle took longer to start after pressing (the) start button. Upon leaving my driveway, (the) vehicle struggled to accelerate, taking nearly 60 seconds to reach 55 MPH. No warning lights indicated on dash. I manually changed gears with paddle shift, which did nothing. Also changed driving mode from “Smart” to “Normal” to “Sport” which did nothing. Both from exiting my driveway, and later attempting to get up to speed on the highway after a stoplight a crash could have happened as the vehicle struggled to make it into the proper lanes in time. Vehicle is only 2 weeks old, 670 miles. Vehicle was not making any unusual noises.”

In summary, the complaint states that the vehicle was barely accelerating despite the pedal being pressed all the way down.

An owner from South Dakota states:

“Sudden loss of power. I was pulling away from a traffic light, stepped on the throttle, and found the engine unable to respond. I had just enough power to reach 20 MPH. The engine never quit. No warnings or cautions were displayed. Pulled over and shut off the vehicle. Did a quick visual inspection and found nothing out of place  Waited a few minutes, restarted and all is back to normal operating condition.”

What Should You Do if Your 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is Experiencing Loss of Power Problems?

Lemberg Law is currently investigating the many complaints about the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz loss of power issues. If you have experienced loss of power problems you might have a lemon.

Owners of the 2022 Santa Cruz with loss of power issues of any sort are welcome to contact us. Remember that the law says that Hyundai must pay the legal fees.

Please complete our case evaluation form or call us at 877-795-3666.

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
  • J M

    My 2022 SC turned off at 45 mph in torrential rain…2 fuel injectors replaced…I slid through 2 lanes of traffic with no steering, power or brakes…came to a stop on the side of the road. I’ve taken it in several times same symptoms and they “couldn’t duplicate “. No warning lights or anything-complete engine failure and was told it caused no other damage. I saw white smoke under hood and later under tailpipe. I am pissed. This makes 3 times I almost wrecked. I just got it back after they had it 7 weeks and tail lights and turn signals are not working properly. My seat heater in both front seats had bad wiring assembly so they replaced those a couple months prior. I have whip lash and a concussion from this last event so I am not ok with just going home like nothing happened after almost a week in the hospital. I currently am needing therapy, neurology, medications and a driver as I’m not supposedly to drive for 6 months. Still paying car payments, insurance and have not been provided any medical care other than through my own car insurance. I was so excited to be the owner of a brand new vehicle after raising six children. I just thank God my grandson was not in the vehicle this time when it shut off. I am terrified being in a car now and am not getting the treatments I need. Please send help!

  • Julia S

    With our two year old 2022 Santa Cruz, with approximately 36,000 miles, we started noticing a very strange transmission noise and it wasn’t shifting correctly, especially noticeable at highway speeds. We called to schedule a checkup, and they made an appointment for two weeks in the future. On the day the dealership checked it out, they informed us the transmission would have to be replaced, and they were confidant it would be covered under warranty, and they would let us know when warranty replacement was approved officially. They said in the meantime, we could continue to drive it. We drove it home but were very uncomfortable driving it, knowing transmission failure was likely. For most of the next two months it was parked except for a couple of times when we really had to use it. It took about two weeks for the dealer to let us know it was approved to be covered under warranty. Then it took a very long time for the dealership to get the transmission. As it dragged out for so long, I eventually asked if they had a loaner car, or if Hyundai would pay for a rental. The answer was no. When I was not happy with that answer, I contacted Hyundai customer service and they said I could rent a vehicle if I wanted to, and after my vehicle was repaired I could request reimbursement but they couldn’t guarantee it would be reimbursed. I complained that at this point it had been nearly two months since the dealer service department told us the transmission needed to be replaced and I had been making car payments for these two months on a car that was not reliable. The Hyundai customer service rep offered to reimburse me in the amount of two car payments in a gesture of goodwill. He said after I sent him proof of repair from the dealer and bank info showing I had made my payments, he would send a letter to sign and they would send me the money. I sent the paperwork and received by return email a letter offering one payment instead of two, and it had a clause that I would waive any future lemon law claim in regards to this repair. I refused to sign it. A gesture of goodwill my @$$! Gestures of goodwill don’t come with conditions like that. My car has finally been repaired after two full months. I hope there are no future failures because I really love the vehicle, and it performed amazingly on the snow and ice last year. Did anyone else have such an aggravating experience? Has anyone had a second transmission failure after a warranty covered replacement?

  • Martin R

    Yep I have a 2022 Santa Cruz and it’s been a problem since the first recall now it loses power randomly. The dealership can’t figure it out. I don’t want the car anymore.

  • Brian T

    I too have had two separate instances of loss of power, the most recent this last weekend while pulling out of an intersection pulling my boat. I could have been killed.

  • Jeremy S

    Misfire on start up. Engine shutting down check engine light. Very dangerous brought back to dealer 6 times for same problem, no fix


    I bought a 2022 Santa Cruz, I have a feeling that the 1st owner traded it in for this problem and I have now had the transmission going to be flashed for the third time. Hopefully they can fix it as I really love this vehicle, but every 2 to 3 months having it done is not what I bought it for. Also I hope the transmission is ok, no idea how many times it happened before I owned it. How do I find out how many times this vehicle has been in for this issue.

  • RS

    2023 Santa Cruz SEL Premium yesterday was pulling out from a stop and lost all acceleration of the truck for few seconds and traction signal flashed a bit but I was on dry pavement so guess this is going to be a problem only 2,700 miles on it. Really Really disappointed here!

  • Caridad S

    I have a 2022 Limited Hyundai Santa Cruz and suddenly today the car could and would not accelerate going into the freeway. It was a nightmare for me and my passengers. I got off the freeway and stayed on the back roads to get home. It smells when you turn in the air conditioning and it does not move even when pressing the gas pedal up until the 18-20 mph mark. Very scary and even a train blew the horn at me to move off the train track. Please help. I’m going to schedule an appointment with the dealer as we speak.

  • Patrick M

    Have 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, Just had recall work completed, and now I have loss of power problems when trying to accelerate.

  • Kevin G

    Transmission is very slow to go into reverse or drive… 2-3 sec delay on a 2022 Santa Cruise turbo

  • Jayme

    Excellent article Brian, I’m seriously looking at the Hyundai Santa Cruz 2023. Are you aware if these issues be it transmission, engine any and all have been fixed for 2023 ? – Jayme

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