Hyundai Explores New Off-Roading Chops in Custom Santa Cruz for All-Women 2023 Rebelle Rally

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Filed under Automotive, Hyundai, News

Hyundai is gearing up for an exciting off-road adventure as it prepares to participate in the eighth-annual Rebelle Rally, a unique all-women off-road navigation challenge set to cover 1,500 miles of challenging desert terrain beginning on October 13, 2023. The company is unveiling the modifications and custom graphic wrap for their Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle entry, affectionately named ‘Sandy,’ which will be driven by automotive journalists Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw, known as “The Brute Squad,” for the second consecutive year.

The Rebelle Rally is not your typical motorsport event; it’s a grueling test of navigation skills and off-road prowess that takes place in the rugged deserts of California. Participants like Shaw and Ciminillo must rely on compasses and paper maps, as GPS and internet-enabled devices are strictly forbidden. It’s a true adventure that challenges the limits of both participants and their vehicles.

The custom graphic wrap on the Santa Cruz was meticulously designed by Matt Marble and Kellen Gustine of Hyundai Design North America. Inspired by the natural beauty of the desert and the spirit of mountain journeys, the design combines modern aesthetics with a touch of retro, reminiscent of 1970s design. Bold color blocking, a gradient sunset, and a dynamic horizon line create a visually striking appearance that contrasts beautifully with the desert backdrop.

From a performance perspective, the Rebelle Rally Santa Cruz received only minimal modifications compared to the mass-production model. These enhancements, developed by Hyundai Motor America model-line engineer Eric Buxton and experts at the Hyundai America Technical Center, include larger off-road tires, a custom front bumper, and skid plate for added protection, and a roof-rack-mounted light bar, among other upgrades. The vehicle’s bed rack was purpose-built to securely carry essential equipment, demonstrating the potential for personalization with Hyundai accessories and aftermarket enhancements.

The Rebelle Rally itself is a celebration of off-road motorsports achievements, camaraderie, and empowerment among women. It challenges participants to embrace the wilderness and rely on their navigation skills, fostering a strong sense of community among like-minded women.

Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw, known as The Brute Squad, are seasoned automotive journalists with a passion for adventure and off-road driving. They express confidence in the capabilities of the Hyundai Santa Cruz, noting its comfort and adaptability to various weather conditions. As they embark on their second Rebelle Rally, they are well-prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, with their trusty Hyundai Santa Cruz by their side.

Hyundai Motor America’s support for The Brute Squad reflects their commitment to empowering women in motorsports and showcasing the rugged capabilities of their vehicles. They understand the importance of safety, encouraging all drivers to consult their owner’s manual and take appropriate precautions before venturing into off-road conditions.


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