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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know people get weary of hearing other people's thoughts on things like this, but maybe it will generate discussion. If you don't want to read anything negative about the Santa Cruz, this isn't for you.

First, I've been haunting YT and the web and every other source I could find, eagerly awaiting the SC. I've had small pickups (and some big ones, too) in years past, but this one seems to fit a niche the others don't ... good styling, clever packaging, turbo power, etc. But looking at videos and pictures just doesn't tell you enough about the scale and presence of this vehicle, and I finally found a couple to go see this afternoon.

If I get one it will be the Limited, because it's the only way to get the equipment I insist upon, and the one I drove today was the blue color, for those who care. I did not take photos, but you know what it looks like. My impressions are basically this:

- I expected to be a little disappointed with the power, because I'm currently driving a twin-turbo V6 2020 Kia Stinger, with 365hp. But before this I had a 2.0-liter turbo 4cyl Stinger with only 255hp, and honestly it felt plenty spunky, so I figured the 2.5-liter turbo engine with 281hp and more torque would feel even better. But I have to say I was a little unimpressed with the power.

Don't get me wrong, it's fine for most purposes, but it lacked the energetic feel of the 2-liter Stinger, and the engine note was a little tinny to my ear, especially under firm acceleration. I know it weighs more than even my V6 Stinger, but not enough to explain the way this drivetrain felt.

- The DCT trans was fine for the most part, but I didn't like the ratios, especially going from 1-2. Downshifts were okay, but it just seemed a little tiny bit lethargic to me. (I know, I know, I'm comparing it to a Stinger lol). Assuming it's a "learning transmission", it might well smooth out with some training.

- The interior styling is nice, but it seems a little budget-level. While I like the sweep of the dash and the digital "glass ****pit" gauge cluster, the overall flatness of it and the center stack lend it a 2-dimensional feel. If they could have sunken or enclosed these elements a little, or otherwise given them some depth.they would have a more premium feel and appearance. As it is, it feels like the entire gauge cluster and center stack are drawn on a piece of plastic and attached to the dash. Cool in many ways, but lending them an overall flatness and maybe even cheapness.

- I'm a little bummed by some of the things this $41,000 truck DOESN'T have - like a power passenger seat, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, memory seats, power folding mirrors, and so on. I had those things on Kia Optimas costing less.

- On the positive side, the interior is comfortable and plenty spacious for full-size adults. Well, full-size adults under 6ft, anyway. The seats felt fine to my butt. The ride and handling were quite good, especially considering the 20's, and sound levels in the cab were great - better than many near-luxury cars.

- The styling is of course great. I'm still a tiny bit uncomfortable with the C-pillar, but its size and shape are dictated to a large extent by structural requirements. Otherwise, it's a sharp-looking and unique vehicle, and we had plenty of people looking at us during the drive.

- The exterior features are cool and useful, from the tonneau cover to the in-bed trunk to the damped tailgate to the under-seat storage in the rear, to the 115v outlet in the bed, etc., etc. No issues there.


My personal situation is that used cars are at a value peak right now, and I've gotten a cash offer of $40,500 for my Stinger. That would buy out my lease AND erase some negative equity I've been carrying along for years. I know that's the most I'll ever get for that car, and while I really like it, the dollar temptation is there. The only vehicle I've been seriously considering to replace it is the SC, and today's drive frankly took away a little bit of my enthusiasm for it. Maybe I was expecting too much after the hype.

All this is my own personal opinion, and while I know some others will disagree, I'm good with that. For my part, I'm thinking I shouldn't jump into this and get something I might not be happy with. I'll get a lot less for my car when I eventually trade, but I'll also pay it don some more and the selling price of Santa Cruz's will also go down some.

Don't beat me up - I'm not trying to be a downer in an enthusiast forum, just sharing some personal impressions good and bad.
 

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2021 Honda Ridgeline
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@Mike_TX, nothing wrong with a differing opinion, although it does not sound like you have completely written off the SC. Everyone looks at a vehicle from a different perspective, and I expect that you owning a Stinger has tilted the scale against the SC a bit.

Hope you find what you want at a price you want to pay. Thank you for sharing. I own a Ridgeline, and it would be hard for me to give up the added interior and bed space of the RL.
 

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2020 Kia Stinger GT2
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@Mike_TX, nothing wrong with a differing opinion, although it does not sound like you have completely written off the SC. Everyone looks at a vehicle from a different perspective, and I expect that you owning a Stinger has tilted the scale against the SC a bit.

Hope you find what you want at a price you want to pay. Thank you for sharing. I own a Ridgeline, and it would be hard for me to give up the added interior and bed space of the RL.
No, I may still end up with an SC when the dust settles. I still like many things about it, so I've not written it off.
 

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No, I may still end up with an SC when the dust settles. I still like many things about it, so I've not written it off.
Mike, I'm with you, had been waiting for the SC for years but was ultimately disappointed with the release. While there are aspects I found positive, there were not enough to pull the trigger. My feeling is, based purely on intuition, there will be future updates a guy driving a Stinger will appreciate. For me, to spend 40k plus, there were too many compromises. For those excited with their purchases enjoy your ride, and to many years of happy motoring.
 

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2022 Limited Blue Stone
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I notice to the DCT hesitate to launch from standstill, maybe that's normal because the clutch needs to slip at slow speed as opposed to traditional AT with torque converter the fluid can transmit power instantly (at a loss)
 

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Good review. Going from a performance car to the SC ( any truck) will be a letdown performance wise. It might be worth driving the other small trucks to give the SC a fair shake.

BTW, the key fobs store your memory settings for seats and more.
 

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Good review. Going from a performance car to the SC ( any truck) will be a letdown performance wise. It might be worth driving the other small trucks to give the SC a fair shake.

BTW, the key fobs store your memory settings for seats and more.
Only fair comparison is Maverick, or Ridgeline kinda.
But it handles WAY better than ANY body on frame older trucks with leaf springs for sure
 

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Thanks Mike. I oftentimes find "forum" reviews far more interesting (and REAL) than those of "influencers." Much appreciated.

(That Stinger is one fun little car. Love the drivers seat and view out the window)
 

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If it has electric seats and Hyundai’s Digital Key, it can save many settings. Most people don’t bother to learn how to use it. Here’s an example:
interesting, I just noticed I've been driving the whole time in Guest Profile, I'll tinker with this and see how it works, thanks
 

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If it has electric seats and Hyundai’s Digital Key, it can save many settings. Most people don’t bother to learn how to use it. Here’s an example:

View attachment 1776
Clearly your screenshot is regarding the Sonata. If you looked at the link I shared, you will see the below screenshot comparing the Tucson Manual (which clearly mentions seat position) and the Sant Cruz manual (which is near identical, except for the seat position). Until someone verifies this with hands on experience, I think I'll go with the documentation that is specific to the Santa Cruz.

1778
 

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interesting, I just noticed I've been driving the whole time in Guest Profile, I'll tinker with this and see how it works, thanks
Let us know if you find anything related to seat settings. Based on the manual, it does not appear that seat settings can be saved via the digital key.
 

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Thanks for the input, just on this remark though:
But I have to say I was a little unimpressed with the power.
You kind of hinted that you knew better to begin with, but that's just false expectations.

The Limited SC has a ~14.5lb/hp power ratio (lower = better), so to put that in perspective here are a few other vehicles with a bed:
21 Silverado Trailboss V8: 14.6lbs/hp
22 Maverick 2.0T: 14.9lbs/hp
22 Nissan Frontier SV: 15.4lbs/hp
22 Honda Ridgeline: ~16.2lbs/hp
21 Ford Ranger: ~21lbs/hp

And of course nothing like a Stinger w/ 11lbs/hp yet alone a 8lbs/hp Camaro SS.
My personal situation is that used cars are at a value peak right now, and I've gotten a cash offer of $40,500 for my Stinger. That would buy out my lease AND erase some negative equity I've been carrying along for years.
That's not personal though, that's pretty much everyone, its a sellers market. But that also means that its not a great time to buy a car either, or you end up in a wash.

I have a feeling the MSRP was priced for years to come when things get back to normal, and people will get their usual few grand discount from that. Heck, our current truck was around $10K off MSRP. If you can manage it, one option is to get yourself the worst beater imaginable as it will already be bargain basement even in this market, sell your vehicle, and limp by with it. Or what we're considering is selling the truck soon because resale is so high, and just sharing a car and we have two motorcycles to cruise with short term when its not raining hard. Then buy another new Stinger with the cooler looking badge and updates or if you've never tried one before check out the Charger Scat Pack Widebody. Dad had one and it was super reliable, tons of room, giant trunk, the 392 rumble is great, can hold lateral G's like you wouldn't believe for its size, and it'll make your Stinger feel slow. I don't think any type of utility vehicle is probably up your alley, none really jerk necks back.
 

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I have a feeling the MSRP was priced for years to come when things get back to normal, and people will get their usual few grand discount from that. Heck, our current truck was around $10K off MSRP. If you can manage it, one option is to get yourself the worst beater imaginable as it will already be bargain basement even in this market, sell your vehicle, and limp by with it. Or what we're considering is selling the truck soon because resale is so high, and just sharing a car and we have two motorcycles to cruise with short term when its not raining hard. Then buy another new Stinger with the cooler looking badge and updates or if you've never tried one before check out the Charger Scat Pack Widebody. Dad had one and it was super reliable, tons of room, giant trunk, the 392 rumble is great, can hold lateral G's like you wouldn't believe for its size, and it'll make your Stinger feel slow. I don't think any type of utility vehicle is probably up your alley, none really jerk necks back.
This is EXACTLY what I did. I was really wanting a SC Limited, but was not going to pay even MSRP for it. I usually have a 3rd "weekend" car (usually a Miata) but did not have one right now. My daughter needed my 2020 Sentra for High School and evening trade school, so I gave it to her to use. I went out and found a great deal on a 2010 Miata GT with 113K miles for a little over 9K. I figured if I was going to "overpay" for a car, I would overpay on a small base price. This car will get me thru till at least the beginning of next summer, and will give me the chance to perhaps buy the SC at a few grand UNDER MSRP, further reducing the actual cost of the Miata. Miata is ALWAYS the answer.... :)
 

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I know people get weary of hearing other people's thoughts on things like this, but maybe it will generate discussion. If you don't want to read anything negative about the Santa Cruz, this isn't for you.

First, I've been haunting YT and the web and every other source I could find, eagerly awaiting the SC. I've had small pickups (and some big ones, too) in years past, but this one seems to fit a niche the others don't ... good styling, clever packaging, turbo power, etc. But looking at videos and pictures just doesn't tell you enough about the scale and presence of this vehicle, and I finally found a couple to go see this afternoon.

If I get one it will be the Limited, because it's the only way to get the equipment I insist upon, and the one I drove today was the blue color, for those who care. I did not take photos, but you know what it looks like. My impressions are basically this:

- I expected to be a little disappointed with the power, because I'm currently driving a twin-turbo V6 2020 Kia Stinger, with 365hp. But before this I had a 2.0-liter turbo 4cyl Stinger with only 255hp, and honestly it felt plenty spunky, so I figured the 2.5-liter turbo engine with 281hp and more torque would feel even better. But I have to say I was a little unimpressed with the power.

Don't get me wrong, it's fine for most purposes, but it lacked the energetic feel of the 2-liter Stinger, and the engine note was a little tinny to my ear, especially under firm acceleration. I know it weighs more than even my V6 Stinger, but not enough to explain the way this drivetrain felt.

- The DCT trans was fine for the most part, but I didn't like the ratios, especially going from 1-2. Downshifts were okay, but it just seemed a little tiny bit lethargic to me. (I know, I know, I'm comparing it to a Stinger lol). Assuming it's a "learning transmission", it might well smooth out with some training.

- The interior styling is nice, but it seems a little budget-level. While I like the sweep of the dash and the digital "glass ****pit" gauge cluster, the overall flatness of it and the center stack lend it a 2-dimensional feel. If they could have sunken or enclosed these elements a little, or otherwise given them some depth.they would have a more premium feel and appearance. As it is, it feels like the entire gauge cluster and center stack are drawn on a piece of plastic and attached to the dash. Cool in many ways, but lending them an overall flatness and maybe even cheapness.

- I'm a little bummed by some of the things this $41,000 truck DOESN'T have - like a power passenger seat, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, memory seats, power folding mirrors, and so on. I had those things on Kia Optimas costing less.

- On the positive side, the interior is comfortable and plenty spacious for full-size adults. Well, full-size adults under 6ft, anyway. The seats felt fine to my butt. The ride and handling were quite good, especially considering the 20's, and sound levels in the cab were great - better than many near-luxury cars.

- The styling is of course great. I'm still a tiny bit uncomfortable with the C-pillar, but its size and shape are dictated to a large extent by structural requirements. Otherwise, it's a sharp-looking and unique vehicle, and we had plenty of people looking at us during the drive.

- The exterior features are cool and useful, from the tonneau cover to the in-bed trunk to the damped tailgate to the under-seat storage in the rear, to the 115v outlet in the bed, etc., etc. No issues there.


My personal situation is that used cars are at a value peak right now, and I've gotten a cash offer of $40,500 for my Stinger. That would buy out my lease AND erase some negative equity I've been carrying along for years. I know that's the most I'll ever get for that car, and while I really like it, the dollar temptation is there. The only vehicle I've been seriously considering to replace it is the SC, and today's drive frankly took away a little bit of my enthusiasm for it. Maybe I was expecting too much after the hype.

All this is my own personal opinion, and while I know some others will disagree, I'm good with that. For my part, I'm thinking I shouldn't jump into this and get something I might not be happy with. I'll get a lot less for my car when I eventually trade, but I'll also pay it don some more and the selling price of Santa Cruz's will also go down some.

Don't beat me up - I'm not trying to be a downer in an enthusiast forum, just sharing some personal impressions good and bad.
Always good to hear the positive as well as the negative reviews. I haven't seen as positive a review anywhere of the 2.0T Stinger, but haven't heard much bad at all about the Stinger GT. If I was you, I would hang on to the Stinger, especially since the rumors are strong it will be discontinued. It is a very practical car, and despite the much more powerful TT V6, it really isn't that much less fuel efficient compared to the SC.
 

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Mike, I'm with you, had been waiting for the SC for years but was ultimately disappointed with the release. While there are aspects I found positive, there were not enough to pull the trigger. My feeling is, based purely on intuition, there will be future updates a guy driving a Stinger will appreciate. For me, to spend 40k plus, there were too many compromises. For those excited with their purchases enjoy your ride, and to many years of happy motoring.
Future updates involving a full fledged N Model? I would love to see this happen, as long as the utility isn't compromised too much.
 

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Thanks Mike. I oftentimes find "forum" reviews far more interesting (and REAL) than those of "influencers." Much appreciated.

(That Stinger is one fun little car. Love the drivers seat and view out the window)
The view out the rear isn't all that great though and the C-pillar makes for some horrendous blind spots.
 

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Future updates involving a full fledged N Model? I would love to see this happen, as long as the utility isn't compromised too much.
I have decided to wait a bit on buying an SC, mainly due to the high prices and limited supply right now. Another reason for me to wait is hoping that an N model will come along later, which would make the SC perfect for me.
 

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I have decided to wait a bit on buying an SC, mainly due to the high prices and limited supply right now. Another reason for me to wait is hoping that an N model will come along later, which would make the SC perfect for me.
So the Ford Maverick is already tuned wo 250hp using 91+ octane, but the larger Santa Cruz engine is tuned to 281hp using just 87 octane, so in theory they can make a N-version that is recommended 93 octane and could put down 320hp or so. I just hope they don't make the suspension stiff. Have you seen the new Kona N? It is so comical, its the worst riding bouncy vehicle I have ever seen, like its running on the bump stops. 😭 :ROFLMAO:

Ford does this with the Ranger 2.3T for example, its factory tuned for 87, but they offer a dealership tune for 93 that bumps it from I believe 270hp to 320hp.
 
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