The Hyundai Santa Cruz receives ‘subtle’ modifications for better off-road performance in preparation for the renowned Rebelle Rally.

Hyundai Santa Cruz to Compete in Women’s-Only Rebelle Rally with Overland Upgrades

The Hyundai Santa Cruz has established itself as a prominent player in the compact truck market, and it is no surprise why. This versatile and appealing truck is designed specifically for individuals with active lifestyles and a passion for adventure. In an exciting development, the Korean automaker will once again showcase its truck at the highly acclaimed women’s-only Rebelle Rally, where the Santa Cruz has undergone several overland upgrades in preparation for the event.

To ensure that the Santa Cruz is competition-ready, Hyundai made only “minimal” modifications. The truck received a customized front bumper and a skid plate for enhanced protection. Furthermore, oversized 17-inch Falken Wildpeak tires were installed to increase ground clearance, along with a Truxxx lift kit that raised the front of the vehicle by 1.5 inches and the rear by 1 inch. Auxiliary lighting and a front recovery point were added, and a rear-mounted spare tire, shovel, and a set of MaxTrax recovery devices were included.

The Rebelle Rally, now in its eighth annual edition, will once again take place in the rugged deserts of California, starting on October 13. This navigation challenge spans over eight days and forbids the use of GPS or internet-connected devices. Instead, participants navigate the treacherous routes using traditional methods, with compasses and paper maps. To comply with the rally’s rules, the Santa Cruz had its GPS antenna removed, and a Terratrip rally computer was installed to control timing.

Hyundai’s entry for the rally will be piloted by automotive journalists Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw. Shaw, a former veteran weekend editor at Trip, has considerable experience with the Rebelle Rally and has participated in various capacities throughout the years. Their team, known as the “Brute Squad”, aims to conquer the rally in the Santa Cruz for the second year in a row. In a news release, Shaw stated, “We know Santa Cruz is capable and resilient from our experiences at last year’s rally and multiple training sessions. Every kilometer we travel gives us more experience and a better connection with the vehicle.”

The Santa Cruz sports a captivating wrap created by Matt Marble and Kellen Gustine of Hyundai Design North America. According to Hyundai, the design draws inspiration from 1970s typography and utilizes large blocks of color to create a vivid contrast against the desert terrain of the racing circuit.

The participation of the Hyundai Santa Cruz in the Rebelle Rally excites enthusiasts and raises intriguing possibilities for the future. With the compact truck market becoming increasingly competitive, Hyundai may consider developing an enhanced off-road version of the Santa Cruz to further differentiate it from its rivals. This move could position the Santa Cruz as a formidable contender in the smaller truck segment.

As the Hyundai Santa Cruz gears up for the women’s-only Rebelle Rally, all eyes will be on the Brute Squad as they tackle the challenging terrain and showcase the truck’s capabilities. With its striking design and off-road upgrades, the Santa Cruz is set to make its mark in the competition. We wish Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw the best of luck in their endeavors.

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