Tucson

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2022 Hyundai Tucson Test Drive Review

The new Tucson is longer and wider than before, with more cargo and passenger space.

8.3 /10
Overall Score

The redesigned 2022 Hyundai Tucson has to offer a high-tech cabin, comfortable ride, competent engine lineup, and spacious cargo area to keep up with the Joneses in the hot-selling and competitive compact SUV class. It does that, and more, with Hyundai giving plenty of compelling reasons to take the 2022 Tucson for a test drive.

Look and Feel

8/ 10

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson rides on a new platform. Elsewhere, it’s sold in short- and long-wheelbase versions, but in the U.S., Hyundai has elected to offer buyers the long-wheelbase model with just two rows of seating and an expanded cargo area.

Up front, the Tucson wears the new face of Hyundai vehicles (the Santa Cruz truck gets one that’s similar). The parametric grille hides the standard LED daytime running lights, Bi-LED headlights, and LED front turn signals within its structure. When illuminated, the headlights and daytime running lights form a unique shape that looks not unlike the wings of the Aztec Spirit Bird.

The side profile of the car employs the same design styling as the Hyundai Elantra, with a silver D-pillar that visually connects the window surrounds to the rear of the SUV, giving the Tucson a floating roof in a unique fashion.

Its back has toothy taillights that are illuminated by LEDs in all but the base model. The less-than-basic design helps the Tucson stand out among other compact SUVs.

The 2022 Tucson rides on either 17- or 19-inch wheels, depending on trim level. SE, SEL, and Blue trims, powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE), get 17-inch alloys. The ICE-powered Hyundai SEL with the Convenience Package bumps the wheel size to 19-inch alloys. There are four different wheel designs, including a darkened, complex variant on the Tucson N-Line trim.

High-end Tucsons get premium fascias, front and rear skid plates, gloss black pillars, and a panoramic sunroof. Standard features on the Tucson include roof rails (on all but the SE trim), body-color side-mirror housing, solar glass, and acoustic laminated glass. By upgrading beyond the base model, buyers get heated outside mirrors with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic avoidance assist indicators and turn signals, front aero wipers, and the option of adding a sunroof.

The cabin of the Tucson is well-appointed and on-par with what other, newer compact SUVs offer. Hyundai has given the five-seater standard stain- and odor-resistant cloth seats (sport combination and leather-trimmed seats are available on Tucson N-Line and Limited, respectively). Hard- and soft-touch surfaces are in the expected places and look relatively upscale compared to the Tucson’s price point.

Horizontal lines across the dashboard where the vents are kept and an uncluttered aesthetic give the Tucson’s interior a sense of spaciousness.

Performance

7/ 10

Presently, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson currently comes in two powertrain variants: a 2.5-liter direct-injected four-cylinder and a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine. A plug-in hybrid version of the Tucson will be introduced down the road. Hyundai pairs the ICE engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission while the hybrid gets a six-speed.

The ICE engine delivers 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers aren’t anything special, and neither is the power plant. It’s the very definition of “fine:” capable, competent, but completely uninspiring. This new base engine has seen a power increase over the last-generation Tucson’s available 2.4-liter, adding six horsepower and three pound-feet of torque. Hyundai is targeting 28 mpg combined for the 2022 four-cylinder, which would make it three miles per gallon more efficient than the outgoing engine.

The real star of the Tucson show is the hybrid powertrain, which delivers more power at the ready for drivers. The hybrid offers 226 total system combined horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers in no way make the Tucson a speedster, but they do make driving the car more fun. During testing, across a 7,000-foot elevation change from Tucson to Mount Lemmon, the turbo engine didn’t falter.

The power output of the hybrid engine makes the Tucson Hybrid substantially more powerful than the Ford Escape Hybrid, Honda CR-V Hybrid, and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Hyundai offers buyers the option to add all-wheel drive (AWD) to their Tucson. It’s standard on the Tucson Hybrid and available on ICE models. In off-road testing, on loose gravel roads complete with switchbacks and whoops, at relatively high rates of speed, the AWD did not falter. It operated similarly to Subaru's generally perfectly reactive AWD system.

Front-wheel drive Tucsons are the most fuel-efficient. Those powered by the ICE engine get an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. Adding AWD to the same vehicle brings its figures down to 24 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg combined.

The more powerful Tucson Hybrid models are far more fuel-efficient than the ICE models. It gets 37 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway, and 37 mpg combined. The most efficient Tucson Hybrid gets 38 mpg city/highway/combined.

Hyundai has divulged the powertrain specifications for the Tucson plug-in, but it has yet to be road tested. The Tucson PHEV is powered by the same engine as the Tucson Hybrid, but it also gets a 13.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery powering an electric motor. That gives it an estimated total system output of 261 horsepower and 224 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are both far higher than the Tucson Hybrid’s, making the plug-in the most powerful SUV in the Tucson lineup.

Range specifications for all-electric power aren’t available yet. Some simple math says that the Tucson PHEV should get around 25 miles of range on electricity alone. Hyundai says that it will take around two hours to charge the battery in the PHEV.

Powertrain and features information regarding the forthcoming Tucson N performance-focused SUV version of the model are forthcoming.

Form and Function

8/ 10

The Hyundai Tucson is a budget-friendly compact SUV. That doesn’t mean that its interior is in any way cheap. It goes toe-to-toe with the big sellers in its competitive set, the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, and is at least as nicely appointed as all of them (and better appointed than many).

A six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat is standard, but an eight-way version is on all but the base model. Drivers also get lumbar support. Three-stage heated front seats, ventilated front seats, memory for the driver’s seat, and an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat are available. It’s easy to find the right seating position and get the four-spoke steering wheel into place.

A tilt and telescoping steering wheel is standard. It’s leather-wrapped in higher trim levels but is heated only on the Tucson Limited trim.

The new Tucson platform has allowed Hyundai to make the SUV more spacious than ever before, meaning that there is now more room for passengers and cargo.

The Tucson has less legroom up front than the Forester, but the offering is comparable to most other compact SUVs on the market today. Its rear seats offer two inches more legroom than what is in the RAV4. Headroom figures are pretty standard for the segment.

The cabin has plenty of space for a family of four to fit comfortably for a road trip. There’s more passenger volume in the Tucson than there is the CR-V, RAV4, and Escape. Its 74.8 cubic-foot cargo area is comparable to that space in the rear of the Forester, RAV4, and CR-V. It bests the Escape by a long shot.

In the rear is a 60-40 split-folding bench seat that comfortably seats two adults. Behind that is a dual-level cargo floor (on ICE models only). Remote release for folding the rear seats from the cargo area is standard. A hands-free liftgate is available on mid-grade models and up.

Tech Level

9/ 10

Hyundai has given the Tucson a strong set of standard tech features. The roster includes an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, a six-speaker audio system, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, HD Radio, and two USB ports. In front of the driver is a 4.2-inch multi-information display.

Moving up one trim level (SEL/Blue) gets buyers satellite radio, Blue Link mobile app compatibility, two additional USB outlets in the rear of the center console, rear air conditioning vents, and dual-zone automatic climate control with ionizer functionality. There’s also a fully digital instrument cluster available on higher trim levels.

A 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen is available, but there is a tradeoff. Buyers who want the larger screen must plug in their Apple and Android devices to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This type of trade-off is common in new vehicles as the technology works to catch up with modern expectations and budget constraints.

When buyers opt for the larger screen, they get a screen that is embedded within a larger black plastic head unit that also includes all climate control and radio/media functionality. The surface is flat and there are only words denoting where to press on the plastic to get the functionality that is sought.

With no physical differences between these touchpoints, finding the right button to press on the center console is difficult while keeping eyes on the road ahead. This causes a driver to rely more heavily on steering wheel controls and voice commands. The touchpoints are fairly responsive (far more so than early Cadillac versions of similar technology). A bigger gripe is the narrow steering wheel controls, which, though stylish, are not as easy to use as bulkier buttons.

Safety

9/ 10

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson has not been tested and rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA).

The Hyundai SmartSense Safety Feature suite of driver-assist and safety technology includes standard and available features. The list of standard features includes forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, a driver attention monitor, rear occupant alert, speed limit assist, and leading vehicle departure alert. These features are comparable with what buyers get with the standard EyeSight system on their new Subaru Forester.

Tucson shoppers can add blind-spot warning with collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic alert with collision avoidance assist, safe exit warning, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring, forward and reverse park distance warning, parking collision avoidance assist (rear), ultrasonic rear occupant alert, and remote parking assist. This list is extremely comprehensive and close to what you’d find in a luxury SUV of the Tucson’s size.

Hyundai backs every Tucson with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, and 7-year anti-perforation warranty. They also offer 3 years/36,000 miles of complimentary normal oil changes and tire rotations.

Cost-Effectiveness

9/ 10

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson starts at $24,950. Adding all-wheel drive costs an extra $1,400 on each of the four Tucson ICE models. Pricing for the gas-powered version of the Tucson tops out at $36,100 before taxes and delivery fees.

The 2022 Tucson Hybrid has a starting MSRP of $29,050. Pricing for the model tops out at $37,350 before associated taxes and fees.

Buyers can add a Convenience Package on the Tucson SEL that includes many of the features available on the top-tier Limited model for $2,600.

Pricing for the Tucson Plug-In and Tucson N is not available at the time of publication.

The cost of the Tucson is in line with the pricing of the Honda CR-V and CR-V Hybrid. However, the Tucson has more power and a more competitive list of safety features. The same is true for the Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid.

Updated by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

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