Noted auto writers Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw will drive the 2023 Santa Cruz truck in the women’s rally.
This 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz. The seventh Rebelle Rally will launch on October 6th and will send teams of women to the deserts of California and Nevada to compete in a series of off-road sailing challenges. Hyundai will be there, introducing a modified Santa Cruz pickup to handle the extreme environment.
In this case, the updates are pretty basic. A lift kit offers a bit more ground clearance, while skid plates help protect the undercarriage. A set of Falken off-road tires mount to the Gear wheels, and that’s about it as far as mechanics go. A roof rack carries a spare tire, recovery ramps and shovels, and off-road lights are mounted to the roof and front bumper.
Under the skin, the Santa Cruz remains original. Hyundai doesn’t mention a specific trim level, but under the circumstances, we’ll assume it’s an SEL Premium. That’s the only version where the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is offered, making 281 horsepower (210 kilowatts) and 311 pound-feet (422 Newton-meters) of torque. It’s also the only path to the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox and standard all-wheel drive. Going down to the Santa Cruz SEL, you can select AWD as an option, but the only engine option is the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter mill making 191 hp.
Now in its seventh year, Rebelle Rally is a women-only challenge that focuses not on outright speed, but on reaching checkpoints in demanding conditions. And it’s not just about connecting waypoints to a GPS: the Rebelle Rally rejects modern technology for an old-school navigation challenge. That means maps, a compass, and specific times to get to various locations, spread over eight days and more than 1,500 miles.
Veteran automotive journalists Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw will drive the Santa Cruz on this adventure. Nicknamed the Brute Squad, the team truck sports a livery that takes inspiration from the California surf scene. The Brute Squad logo, designed by Jennifer Ciminillo, adorns the hood.
The 2022 Rebelle Rally starts on October 6. North Lake Tahoe is the starting point, and the rally concludes at Imperial Sand Dunes in California.