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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all! I am in the St. Louis, MO area and today I just got my hands on the coolest vehicle ever made.

My origin story with the Santa Cruz
I have been a longtime admirer of the Subaru Baja, and for a long time I thought I was just going to have to settle for a 20 year old vehicle with 200k miles and blown head gaskets when I got around to buying my first car, because NOTHING else ever made was as sharp-looking and versatile as it. Loved the idea of a sporty little car with a bed. Business in the front, party in the back... it had everything. Nit-picky things I would have changed with the Baja were a pretty bare-bones interior, the lack of a fifth seat, and the fact that it was built on a station wagon platform instead of an SUV that would ride a bit higher.

So when I learned of the Santa Cruz right around the start of this year, I fell in love instantly...

Well, actually I didn't, to be perfectly honest.

I was really happy to see another compact sporty vehicle that made people argue over if it was a truck or not, but I just had some apprehensions about it. I wasn't so sure about the grill. I actively hated the look of the cladding randomly jutting out above the wheel wells. And how could it be missing the rear pass-through into the bed like the Baja? It was certainly a step in the right direction, and gave me hope that it would encourage Subaru and others to release something like it, but it just didn't enthrall me the same way the Baja did. I was so dead-set on getting a Baja one day, and it just wasn't the same. So I ignored the SC for a couple months and kept hoping a cheap Baja would pop up locally with relatively low miles (yeah right).

But back in March, a contractor had come by to do some work for my next-door neighbor. I stepped outside that afternoon and there was his Mojave Sand Santa Cruz sitting right out front. I had never seen one in person before. Wow, this thing looked great. It just commanded my attention in an inexplicable way and I was immediately struck by its impressive road presence for its size. Seeing it with my own two eyes was a game-changer... photos I had seen did not do this thing's color or size justice. You could call this my formative Santa Cruz experience, LOL.

So I started casually researching. I found this site called SantaCruzForums.com that was pretty helpful (maybe you've heard of it) and people on it were sharing a lot of great info and first-hand experience. They were almost invariably raving about the Santa Cruz, and after seeing all the cool stuff people were doing with theirs, I began drinking the Kool-Aid. I was approaching precisely one year out of college at this point and although I loved my father's trusty 2010 RAV4, it was pushing 200k miles, and I was able to put aside enough income to where buying my true first car was starting to look financially feasible. Only problem was that all the Hyundai dealers in my area are ripoff artists, as I would soon discover. If I was going to buy this car, I promised myself I wouldn't pay over MSRP, no matter how long it took.

Over the next several months, I pursued a few leads. In many cases the car just sold too **** quick. Even when availability wasn't an issue, I was defeated by exorbitant "market adjustments". I managed to test drive a Limited in that time. It was officially a fantastic vehicle after that... better than the Baja. I had written off a Limited as within my budget early on, but was torn between an SEL or the SEL Premium. The turbo engine was loads of fun, but ultimately I decided I would be happy to save some money and go with the base engine. Stuff like the tonneau cover and digital instrument cluster were non-negotiable, however, so I knew I was after a SEL with the Activity Package.

Early this month I found a 2023 SEL AWD + Activity at Joe Machens Hyundai in Columbia, MO via their website. I had read on this very forum that they didn't mess around with price adjustments, so I gave them a call. I was not surprised to find out it had sold already! But by pure luck, they had an identical one coming in. So of course I reserved it -- at MSRP -- and at long last I was on my way to getting one. Yesterday, after two agonizing weeks, I got the call that it was on the lot. I took today off to close the deal and bring it home. I used the 100 mile drive back to really start to get familiar with it. After SIX MONTHS of hyping this car up in my head, the drive experience still managed to exceed my expectations. Multiple times today I have forgotten I own it, and step outside so I can admire it again. I still can't believe I finally have one.

Wheel Car Vehicle Tire Land vehicle

Tire Wheel Car Automotive tail & brake light Vehicle


So happy to finally own this beauty. Thanks to everyone here who has shared their experiences with it in my six months of lurking here -- it gave me the confirmation I needed that the Santa Cruz is (at least) as awesome as it appears, and even helped me locate one for a reasonable price! Looking forward to years of fun with the Santa Cruz, and to sharing knowledge with you all.

Matt

Edit: forgot to finish with a picture of the life-changing new fuel door dimple.
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2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz SEL AWD
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Congratulations on your purchase! I'm in the St. Louis area as well and it may have been me where you read about Joe Machens Hyundai in Columbia as that is where I got mine back at the end of July. Hope you enjoy it and if I ever see you driving on the road I'll give you a wave! I have only seen 3-4 other Santa Cruz's on the road here since they have come out. But I know they are out there.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Congratulations on your purchase! I'm in the St. Louis area as well and it may have been me where you read about Joe Machens Hyundai in Columbia as that is where I got mine back at the end of July. Hope you enjoy it and if I ever see you driving on the road I'll give you a wave! I have only seen 3-4 other Santa Cruz's on the road here since they have come out. But I know they are out there.....
I am almost certain it was you... I might owe you a couple thousand bucks! :LOL: I am more specifically in West County. I have seen maybe 6 or 7 Santa Cruzes on the road to this point, but surprisingly none in blue stone yet. I'll keep an eye out for ya!
 

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I am almost certain it was you... I might owe you a couple thousand bucks! :LOL: I am more specifically in West County. I have seen maybe 6 or 7 Santa Cruzes on the road to this point, but surprisingly none in blue stone yet. I'll keep an eye out for ya!
I'm south of St. Louis. Occasionally I drive through the West County area when going to visit my wife's family or when I'm headed out to my relative's property past Warrenton.

Good luck with your Santa Cruz and maybe I'll see you around someday! If you see another Blue Stone SEL with a hood deflector there is a pretty good chance it's me until more of them start popping up.
 

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2022 Santa Cruz SEL Premium, Blue Stone
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Congrats on your new ride and thanks for that nice story. Like you, I rather unexpectedly fell in love with the SC almost instantly—once I saw one in person and took the test drive. It had not even been on my radar at first, but once my wife spotted this model online: 3 days later we took the test drive and 3 days after that (long holiday weekend) we signed the papers and took it home. I even traded in my favorite 2016 Subaru Crosstrek which I thought I would 'keep forever', until I saw the SC. For us it was the one car to rule them all, just what we needed.

Great pics, and hope you enjoy it.
And... gotta love that color too, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Awesome story and thanks for the kind words!
And... gotta love that color too, right?
LOVE the Blue Stone. I spent a lot of time stressing over which color to get because I truly liked them all. Ultimately I decided to just let fate choose for me, and I could not be happier. People had said pictures don't do it justice and it's true. I have gotten a few admirers already! Love the way it seems to take on whatever color it wants to based on its surroundings.
 
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