The seventh Rebelle Rally will launch on October 6, sending teams of women into the deserts of California and Nevada to compete in a series of navigational off-road challenges. Hyundai will be there, fielding a Santa Cruz pickup modified to handle the extreme environment.
In this instance, the upgrades are actually rather basic. A lift kit offers a bit more ground clearance, while skid plates help protect the undercarriage. A set of Falken off-road tires are mounted to Gear wheels, and that's it as far as the mechanicals go. A bed rack carries a spare tire, recovery ramps, and shovels, and off-road lights are mounted to the roof and front bumper.
Gallery: Hyundai Santa Cruz Rebelle Rally
Under the skin, the Santa Cruz remains stock. Hyundai doesn't mention a specific trim level, but given the circumstances, we'll assume it's an SEL Premium. That's the only trim where the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder is offered, generating 281 horsepower (210 kilowatts) and 311 pound-feet (422 Newton-meters) of torque. It's also the only way to the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox and standard-issue all-wheel drive. Stepping down to the Santa Cruz SEL you can select AWD as an option, but the only engine choice is the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter mill making 191 hp.
Now in its seventh year, the Rebelle Rally is a women's-only challenge that focuses not on outright speed, but reaching checkpoints in demanding conditions. And it's not simply a case of plugging waypoints into a GPS – the Rebelle Rally nixes modern tech for an old-school navigation challenge. That means maps, a compass, and specific times to reach various locations, spread out over eight days and 1,500-plus miles.
Veteran auto journalists Jill Ciminillo and Kristin Shaw will pilot the Santa Cruz for this adventure. Dubbed Brute Squad, the team's truck has a livery that borrows inspiration from the California surfing scene. The Brute Squad logo, designed by Jennifer Ciminillo, adorns the hood.
The 2022 Rebelle Rally begins October 6. North Lake Tahoe is the starting point, with the rally wrapping up at the Imperial Sand Dunes in California.