Hyundai Santa Cruz to Tackle Off-Road Rebelle Rally

Automotive writers Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw will drive a 2022 Santa Cruz Limited in the seventh annual Rebelle Rally.

Automotive writers Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw will drive a 2022 Santa Cruz Limited in the seventh annual Rebelle Rally, an all-women, off-road navigational challenge held in the deserts of California and Nevada. Starting Oct. 6 at a to-be-determined location in Nevada, the rally will cover 1,500 miles in eight days before reaching the finish line, Oct. 15, in the Imperial Sand Dunes of Southern California. It will be Ciminillo and Shaw’s first attempt at the Rebelle Rally and Hyundai’s first time supporting the event. Follow their journey at:

“We are incredibly proud to be sponsoring our first Hyundai team in the Rebelle Rally,” said Dana White, chief communications officer, Hyundai Motor North America. “Rebelle Rally is not only about the competition. It is also about empowering women and allowing them to showcase their strengths and skills. We are thrilled to be partnering with Jill and Kristin on this adventure and can’t wait to see them in action in the Santa Cruz.”

The Rally
Rebelle Rally blends the love of off-road driving with the ultimate challenge of precise navigation skills. It is not a race for speed, but a unique and demanding event based on the elements of headings, hidden checkpoints, and time. Distances and directions are calculated using maps and a compass. No cellphones or GPS navigations systems are permitted. In fact, cellphones are collected at the start of the event to ensure no cheating.

“When Jill and I decided to travel down the path to becoming competitors in the Rebelle Rally, we knew we wanted a vehicle that was both supremely capable and fun,” said Kristin Shaw. “We’re thrilled to be driving the unique Santa Cruz in this 1,500-mile rally and representing Hyundai, a brand that has been knocking it out of the park and establishing itself as a major player. I’ve been watching Hyundai evolve over the last several years and have been impressed by its innovative, intelligent approach to the market.”

“Kristin and I decided more than a year ago that we wanted to travel this path together, and when we talked about who we wanted to work with, we immediately thought of Hyundai because of its progressive line of vehicles,” said Jill Ciminillo. “More specifically, we loved the idea of taking the Santa Cruz, a new vehicle in an emerging segment, and showing the world what it can really do.”

The Training at Rebelle University
To compete in the Rebelle Rally, Shaw and Ciminillo must complete a two-day navigation school and a two-day off-road driving school at Rebelle University. Training highlights include:

  • Sand driving and basic recovery techniques
  • Tires and vehicle trouble shooting
  • Map reading and interpretation
  • Plotting latitude and longitude
  • Route planning

The Drivers

Jill Ciminillo is a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality, podcast host, and the managing editor of Pickup Truck+SUV Talk. Her articles and videos appear in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both the Chicago Sun-Times News Group and Sinclair Broadcast Group. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Find her on InstagramTikTokTwitter and YouTube at @jillciminillo.

Kristin Shaw has had a fascination with cars since her parents started taking her to classic car shows when she was a kid. Now she is a freelance journalist covering automotive and aviation for outlets like The Drive, Car and Driver, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, A Girls Guide to Cars, AutoWise, GearJunkie, Airport Improvement magazine, and more. She is the immediate past president of the Texas Auto Writers Association and a current member of the TAWA board. Find her on InstagramFacebook, and TikTok @DriveModeShow and Twitter @KristinVShaw.

The Sport Adventure Vehicle: Santa Cruz

  • Multi-utility, secure open bed provides diverse gear-carrying flexibility
  • Powerful and efficient 2.5L turbo powertrain with HTRAC® AWD capability
  • Compact footprint provides superior maneuverability in an open-bed configuration
  • Proudly built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) in Montgomery
  • Skid plate and off-road tires have been added for the desert driving
  • 8.6 inches of ground clearance

Santa Cruz Limited offers a 2.5L direct-injected turbocharged engine with an estimated 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque linked to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). All Santa Cruz models offer HTRAC® all-wheel drive capability for complete confidence when pursuing adventures of all kinds or for that extra peace of mind when driving in an unexpected snowfall. The HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The Sport setting gives a more agile feel by sending more torque to the rear wheels, for a sporty, dynamic experience. This system has a wide range of torque distribution variability, tuned for conditions such as straight-line acceleration, medium- and high-speed cornering, and hill starts.


Press Release
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