New Model News

A turbo returns: Mazda's new turbo-four option delivers 250 horsepower in 2021 Mazda3

For 2021, the Mazda Mazda3 is getting a power upgrade.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North America Operations

A new turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine will be available in the 2021 Mazda Mazda3 giving the sedan and hatchback models a performance boost. The engine produces 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque when the Mazda3 is fueled with 93 arcane but just 227 horsepower ad 310 pound-feet when running on 87 octane.

Mazda says that the engine delivers a "more spirited" drive than the 186-horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque that is generated by the 2.5-liter four-cylinder found in the 2020 Mazda3.

2021 Mazda 2.5 Turbo The new variant delivers stronger performance than the 2020 models.Photo courtesy of Mazda North America Operations

The company has paired the engine with their all-wheel drive system, which was recently updated.

The car comes equipped with larger tailpipes, 18-inch black aluminum alloy wheels, gloss black heated door mirrors, "TURBO" badge on the trunk and on the engine cover, rearview camera, LED daytime running lights, automatic on/off LED signature headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a shark fin antenna. The sedan variant features a gloss black front grille and sleek front lower spoiler.

The 2021 Mazda3 model that comes with the turbo comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bose 12-speaker premium audio system, 8.8-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth, two USB ports, keyless entry, and Mazda Connected Services.

There's also a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, frameless automatically dimming rearview mirror, chrome in-cabin access around the push button start and glove box, a head-up display, power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, leatherette seating, leather wrapped shift knob, and aluminum speaker grilles.

Additionally, the model includes a host of safety and driver assist technologies including adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, Smart Brake Support, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane departing warning with lane keep assist, apatite from lighting, and automatic high beams.

Buyers who opt for the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo with Premium Plus Package get a gloss black rear lip spoiler for the sedan and a gloss black rear roof spoiler and front air dam on the hatchback. The package adds Rear Smart City Brake Support with Rear Cross-Traffic Braking, which will automatically apply the brakes when the vehicle is in reverse, if an obstacle or a crossing vehicle is detected. The 360° View Monitor, Traffic Jam Assist, leather seats, navigation, and HomeLink on the frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, are also available.

The naturally aspirated 2021 Mazda3 will be arriving in dealerships next month. The turbo is expected a bit later. 2021 Mazda3 pricing will be announced at a later date.

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The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is one of the Hyundai Santa Cruz's biggest rivals..

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz faces stiff competition from many vehicles that are already on the market and a few that are coming down the road. Part of figuring out what its biggest competition is, is figuring out exactly what type of vehicle it is.

Once you've done that, the deciphering gets a bit easier, but it isn't apple to apples. There's really no truck quite like it on the market today.

Subaru Outback

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness: Exterior trail driving Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The utility of the rear space afforded by a wagon like the Subaru Outback isn't anything to sniff at. Make the cargo area a bed and you'll see why nostalgia plays long and hard for the Subaru Baja. The Outback and the Santa Cruz share many similar technologies, including all-wheel drive, but the Outback has something the Santa Cruz does not, a passionate built-in fan base.

Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport rooftop tent Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Getting to the trailhead, then taking your car with you is something that the Ford Bronco Sport excels at. The surprisingly capable compact SUV delivers the capability adventurers are looking for, innovations overlanders love, and smooth ride over rough pavement.

Nissan Pathfinder

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The freshly redesigned Nissan Pathfinder was meant to be more rugged. It also has three rows of seating (to the Santa Cruz's two) and seats eight, something you usually only find in full-size SUVs. Nissan has changed out the CVT for a nine-speed automatic transmission in this new generation, upping the appeal of the already-popular midsize family hauler.

Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Honda Ridgeline shares most of its interior with the Pilot but has unique tech like an in-bed speaker system. It's trunk was no doubt an inspiration for Hyundai designers. What makes the Honda so sellable is its available all-wheel drive and overall comfort - two things that the Santa Cruz has as well.

Subaru Crosstrek

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

With its two engine options, standard all-wheel drive, and gobs of cargo space, the Subaru Crosstrek is primed for use in settings urban, suburban, and beyond. It's easily modified for more rugged endeavors with popular enhancements including a lift, knobby tires, a roof rack, and a brush guard. Subaru doesn't make a Wilderness version of the Crosstrek yet, but it's safe to assume that one is coming.

Ford Maverick

What is the Ford Maverick? Well, officially we're still in wait-and-see mode, but there's one thing for sure, Ford views the Santa Cruz as Maverick competition if for no other reason than it's a compact pickup truck.

While these five vehicles are some of the most obvious competitors, a solid list of aftermarket accessories could easily make the Santa Cruz even more competitive.

Hyundai has let it be known that they'd be into developing a more rugged version of the Santa Cruz if demand is there. What could that include? Take a look at what is on the Subaru Outback Wilderness for a good example of what upgraded off-road capability could look like. There's also some chatter about making an "N" version of the truck.

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The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a new addition to the lineup.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz combines the best-loved features of a truck, wagon, and SUV into one creating what Hyundai calls a "sport adventure vehicle'. The Santa Cruz is focused on delivering a user experience that fits into lifestyles from urban to suburban and beyond, without taking you too far off the beaten path.

The 2022 Santa Cruz has all the hallmarks of a truck - wide stance, powerful engine, and a bed. It also has a trunk, the interior from the Hyundai Tucson, and a bevy of safety and entertainment tech.

Though the front of the Santa Cruz looks like it's from the Tucson, it's merely inspired by it. The exterior of the truck is its own, with no shared Tucson elements (this is as opposed to say, the Subaru Legacy, which shares most of its body with the Subaru Outback). It is longer than the Tucson, is wider, and has a longer wheelbase.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz: Exterior

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

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Like on the Tucson, the grille of the Santa Crus has headlights hidden in its housing. When illuminated, the headlights offer a wing-like design that can be easily identified in daylight or at night. A skid plate sits at the bottom of the face while muscular shoulders give the truck a sense of proportion that helps make it unique from the Tucson and other Hyundai vehicles.

Designers have given the Santa Cruz available 20-inch alloy wheels with a multi-faceted, triangular design. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard; all wheel options come wrapped in all-season tires. On the over-fenders are purpose-built with designated clamp points where owners can attach GoPro cameras.

The rear bed features watertight trunk storage and a lockable, watertight tonneau cover (available) that is operated via a pull handle. Both can handle the weight of a person. Taillamp are embossed with "Designed in California" denoting the Hyundai design center's roll in the creation of the vehicle. The light of the lamp also features the logo of the design studio.

Hyundai will offer the Santa Cruz with two engine options. it comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that achieves 190+ horsepower and 180+ pound-feet of torque (exact numbers are pending). That engine is paired with an eight-speed hydraulic automatic transmission. Expect to have more powertrain options available soon. The platform is capable of housing an all-electric and fuel-cell propulsion system in addition to internal combustion engine and hybrid variants.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz: Interior

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

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A 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available. It will get over 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Hyundai has paired it with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Versions of the Santa Cruz equipped with this engine also get paddle shifters.

All-wheel drive is available with either engine.

The company truck's 2.5-liter four-cylinder is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds while the turbo-four, when equipped with all-wheel drive, can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Hyundai boasts that the curb-to-curb turning radius is just 20.0 feet, just one foot more than a Ford Mustang.

The interior is straight out of the Tucson, and that's not a bad thing. The two-rows of seating have room for five and under the rear seat is a storage area that can hold groceries and gear still during travel.

Riding the precedent set by the Honda Ridgeline, the Hyundai Santa Cruz brings comfort and convenience to the forefront of its cabin design. There's a standard 8-inch infotainment touch screen (a 10-inch is available) and a 10-inch digital instrument cluster. A premium Bose audio system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, navigation, and Digital Key are available.

Owners can use their Blue Link app to connect to the vehicle and perform a number of functions including remote start, remote door lock/unlock, and destination search.

Forward collision warning with assist, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning come standard on the 2022 Santa Cruz. Buyers can upgrade and get blind spot monitoring with assist, safe exit assist, lane centering, 360-degree camera view, and rear cross traffic assist.

Hyundai will back each Santa Crus with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, and a seven-year anti-perforation warranty. Three years/36,000-miles of complementary maintenance (oil changes, tire rotations) is included as well.

Hyundai will produce the truck at its plant in Montgomery, Alabama, adding 1,200 jobs as a result of the addition.

Pricing is TBA. The company will offer reservations for the truck in late April. Deliveries are expected to commence by the end of the year.

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