Will the newcomer Hyundai Santa Cruz prove a match for the proven Honda Ridgeline? Sam CarLegion gives us the answerby Dim Angelov, on LISTEN 03:27
There’s something to be said about a drag race between pickup trucks. Straight-line performance is not really the main selling point of these types of vehicles, but it still gives you an idea of how good the powertrains are at propelling them. Last time, Sam CarLegion had a RAM 1500 TRX vs Ford F150 ROUSH drag race, instore. This time, it’s the Honda Ridgeline vs the Hyundai Santa Cruz, and here’s what happened.
This is Hyundai’s first pickup truck and, like their first sports car – the Tiburon – it seems they didn’t quite have the guts to go all-out with it. Instead, the company has kept to its strengths and has given us, as Sam describes it, a pickup truck and a Tucson mixed together. According to Sam, Hyundai said, “do not treat it as a pickup truck”.
It is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four engine that puts out 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet (421 Nm). It also comes with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Santa Cruz is quite light for a pickup truck, with a curb weight of 4,100 pounds (1,860 kg).
Unlike the Hyundai Santa Cruz, the Honda Ridgeline is not a newcomer. It’s also a proper mid-size pickup truck, unlike the Hyundai, which is sportier and more of a lifestyle pickup truck. Without a doubt, this is the better choice of the two if you are looking for an actual workhorse. This particular example is also the Black Edition, which is just a blacked-out Ridgeline.
The Honda relies on a proven 3.5-liter normally-aspirated V-6 unit that makes 280 horsepower and 261 pound-feet (355 Nm). The Ridgeline also features all-wheel drive and has a nine-speed automatic transmission. Being bigger than the Santa Cruz, the Ridgeline also weighs more – 4,471 pounds (2,028 kg).
The two pickup trucks make four runs – two from a dig and two from a 50 km/h (31 mph) roll. The first race is in Normal mode and the response of the normally-aspirated Honda is quickly made apparent as it gains the upper hand on the start. However, the lighter and turbocharged Hyundai quickly catches up and overtakes the bigger Honda, scoring one point for Korea. In sport mode, the result is exactly the same – Hyundai takes another win.
As for the rolling races, Honda’s better responsiveness, once again. But while it wasn’t as far behind as in the standing start races, it still failed to score a win against the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
In the end, the lighter and more powerful Santa Cruz won. The Korean proposition is also slightly cheaper - $36,000 vs the Honda’s $37,000 price tag. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a better pickup truck. The fact remains that while the Santa Cruz is more of a lifestyle pickup truck, the Honda Ridgeline is more utilitarian and, ultimately, more versatile even if it’s the slower of the two.