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Review of the Hyundai Tucson 2022: A Great Compact Crossover

Image Source: Mike Mareen / Shutterstock

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson aims for a bold design and high efficiency and successfully delivers on both fronts. This five-seat compact crossover has undergone a complete redesign for 2022 to better compete in a fiercely competitive automotive segment alongside the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Nissan Rogue. The revamped 2022 Tucson impresses with its advanced technology features, spacious and comfortable interior, and extensive safety offerings.

Gone are the days of the Tucson blending in with the crowd, as its new angular styling commands attention. The daring design choices inside and out pay off, with features like the striking grille and sharp lines drawing admiring glances on the road. In a departure from the previous model’s unassuming appearance, the redesigned Tucson adopts a bold angular aesthetic similar to Hyundai’s recent update of the Elantra, adding visual flair with dramatic creases along the doors and distinctive taillights.

At the front, the LED daytime running lights are cleverly integrated into the grille, seamlessly blending in when not in use. The rear of the Tucson conceals the exhaust tips beneath the bumper and features sharp lines, including downward-pointing taillights and intricate details on the rear bumper. The hybrid models see minor changes, such as energy-consumption screens integrated into their digital displays.

The Tucson hybrid offers improved performance and efficiency, earning praise for its on-road performance and comfortable ride quality. While gas-powered models may be more popular, their acceleration and fuel economy are average at best. The standout feature of the crossover is its smooth ride. All gas models come with front-wheel drive as standard, with the option to upgrade to all-wheel drive for an additional $1,500. On the other hand, all Tucson hybrids come equipped with AWD as standard.

There is a noticeable performance gap between the Tucson’s two powertrain options, with the hybrid emerging as the preferable choice. The gas variants are powered by a 187-hp, 2.5-liter inline-4 engine generating 178 lb-ft of torque, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. In comparison, the hybrid’s 1.6-liter turbo-4 gas engine delivers similar power (180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque) but adds an electric motor to raise the total output to 226 hp. Opting for a 6-speed automatic transmission instead of a continuously variable transmission, the hybrid provides a more natural driving experience. While all gas models offer optional all-wheel drive, it comes standard on the hybrid models.

Having driven both models, the hybrid is strongly recommended over the gas version. The electric motor’s additional boost addresses the 2.5-liter engine’s hesitation during acceleration, whether starting from a standstill or passing other vehicles. Additionally, the hybrid incorporates an e-handling system that utilizes the electric motor to enhance handling and create a more balanced feel during turns.

Tucson Hybrids exhibit light steering and a smooth ride at moderate to high speeds, despite the added weight of the battery pack and larger wheels. However, in city driving, the suspension may not respond as quickly to bumps, causing some skidding on uneven roads. The Plug-In Hybrid model, with a curb weight of up to 4,235 lb, may experience some suspension heaving. Engaging Sport mode in either model refines the steering response and facilitates quicker shifts, albeit at the expense of efficiency.

Fuel efficiency is significantly better in the Tucson hybrid models compared to gas models. The gas variants achieve a fuel economy rating of 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined for FWD models, while AWD models are rated at 24/29/26 mpg. Opting for the hybrid translates to impressive fuel efficiency, with ratings of 38/38/38 mpg for the Blue trim and 37/36/37 mpg for the SEL Convenience and Limited trims. This considerable efficiency improvement makes it easier to offset the cost difference between the two vehicle types in a relatively short time. The plug-in hybrid model boasts an EPA-rated electric range of 33 miles, 80 MPGe, and 35 mpg combined, establishing itself as the efficiency leader.

The Tucson has garnered top safety ratings and boasts a comprehensive set of safety features. Though the NHTSA has yet to conduct crash tests on the Tucson, the IIHS awarded it a Top Safety Pick+ rating, the industry’s highest safety accolade. In addition to standard automatic emergency braking, the Tucson offers active lane control and rear occupant alerts. The SEL trim includes blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control, which functions down to a complete stop. The Limited models come equipped with an array of advanced safety features, including a surround-view camera system, rear automatic braking, front and rear parking sensors, and blind-spot cameras that project live feeds of the vehicle’s surroundings onto the instrument panel.

The Tucson’s interior features a sleek design aesthetic, incorporating digital displays into the center stack for a tech-driven look. While the interior design is distinctly different from the previous model, it plays it safe with fewer complex surfaces. Notable elements include a glossy black panel housing the multimedia screen (8.2 inches as standard, upgraded to a larger 10.3-inch display in the Limited model). The modern interior design, while visually appealing, may show fingerprints easily on the glossy surfaces. Some Tucson models come equipped with a digital gauge cluster and a touchscreen for secondary controls.

The redesigned Tucson offers increased dimensions, resulting in more cargo space and rear legroom. Despite its larger size for 2022, the Tucson remains maneuverable and retains a compact feel while driving and parking. The wheelbase has been extended by 3.4 inches to 108.5 inches, and the overall length increased by 6.1 inches to 182.3 inches, placing it in closer competition size-wise with rivals like the RAV4 and CR-V. Cargo capacity has also significantly expanded to 38.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats from 31.0 cubic feet in gas models, peaking at 74.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

The extra space is most noticeable in the rear seats and cargo area of the Tucson. While the front seats offer good support, a thigh seat extension would enhance comfort. Cloth upholstery comes as standard, with the option for leather upholstery on SEL and standard on Limited models. Rear legroom has been increased to 41.3 inches, providing ample space for two adults in the back seat. Surprisingly, hybrid models offer more rear legroom than front legroom. The rear seats feature substantial reclining capability for added comfort, and opting for the panoramic sunroof creates an open and airy ambiance in the cabin.

The Tucson boasts an array of impressive technology and safety features, solidifying its value proposition even further post-redesign. The base Tucson SE model, starting at $26,135, includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, setting a high standard for technology across the Tucson lineup.

The Limited models, available in both gas and hybrid versions, offer a generous array of features but come with a correspondingly higher price tag. The optimal balance of features and value lies in the SEL trim with the Convenience package, priced at $30,285, which adds premium amenities like wireless smartphone charging, a power sunroof, a 10.3-inch digital instrument panel, and a power liftgate, among other enhancements.

For hybrid enthusiasts, the SEL Convenience model at $32,835 is particularly appealing, with all the features of the base model along with standard AWD and a panoramic sunroof. The top-tier Limited hybrid model is priced at $38,535, equipped with matching 10.3-inch screens for the multimedia and instrument panels, heated front and rear seats, LED headlights, a surround-view camera system, leather upholstery, and blind-spot cameras. The Plug-In Hybrid Limited model comes in at $44,445. All Tucson models are backed by a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.

Hyundai’s comprehensive redesign of the Tucson has transformed it from a run-of-the-mill crossover into a distinctive vehicle inside and out. Characterized by intricate design details, the Tucson sets itself apart with its unique and fresh styling, elevating its perceived value. Boasting cutting-edge technology, great value, and efficient powertrain options, the mid-size Hyundai SUV is a strong contender in its segment.

Image Source: Mike Mareen / Shutterstock

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