2022 Hyundai Tucson: First Drive Review

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2022 Hyundai Tucson
An all-new model, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson compact crossover adopts a more expressive design, interior refinements and additional technology. Tucson is Hyundai’s best-selling vehicle worldwide and has become the top-selling model in the U.S. as well. But the competition in this segment is fierce, and the Korean automaker chose to give the latest version much more dramatic styling than its rivals, thereby hoping to entice new buyers to the fold. In addition to the standard gasoline engine, the 2022 Tucson will be offered for the first time as a gas-electric hybrid, with a plug-in hybrid scheduled to follow this summer.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceU.S. Version
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is offered in two versions for the world market, but the U.S. receives only the long wheelbase version that is longer, wider and taller than the previous generation. The 2022 Tucson for the U.S. market is 6.1 inches longer than the 2021 Tucson at 182.3 inches in length. The compact crossover rides on a 108.5-inch wheelbase that is 3.4 inches longer than the previous model. Inside, both passenger volume and cargo volume have increased as well.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaModel Lineup
The gasoline-powered Tucson will be offered in SE, SEL, N Line and Limited trim levels, with both a Convenience Package and Premium Package available for the SEL trim. The Tucson Hybrid will be offered in three trim levels: Blue, SEL Convenience and Limited. The Tucson Plug-In Hybrid will be available in either SEL or Limited trims.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperiencePricing
The 2022 Tucson SE will start at $24,950 with SEL at $26,500, N Line at $30,600 and Limited at $34,700. Prices do not include freight charges of $1,185. All trim levels of the gasoline-powered Tucson are available with HTRAC all-wheel drive for an additional $1,400. Tucson Hybrid with standard HTRAC all-wheel drive will start at $29,050 for Tucson Hybrid Blue with SEL Convenience at $3,650 and Limited at $37,350. The Tucson SEL Convenience Package is an additional $2,600 and the SEL Premium Package is $1,700. Interested buyers have the ability to reserve the 2022 Tucson now on the automaker’s website.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaStandard Features
Standard equipment on the 2022 Hyundai Tucson includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights, headlights, DRLs and front turn signals; a 4.2-inch LCD multi-information display and infotainment with an 8-inch color touchscreen; a proximity key with pushbutton start; smart cruise control with Stop and Go; a power driver’s seat with power lumbar; heated front seats and mirrors; Blue Link Connected Car and SiriusXM radio.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaSafety Features
Standard safety equipment for the 2022 Hyundai Tucson includes driver attention warning, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-following assist and lane-keeping assist. The Tucson SEL adds blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, safe exit warning and side mirror turn signals.

© Hyundai Motor America2022 Tucson Packages
The Convenience Package for Tucson SEL includes a hands-free power liftgate, 19-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, a 10.25-inch digital instrument display, Hyundai Digital Key, wireless device charging, ambient lighting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control and ultrasonic rear-occupant alert. The SEL Premium Package requires the Convenience Package and adds leather seating surfaces, ventilated front seats, Bose premium audio, a dark chrome grille and premium 5-LED DRLs.

© Hyundai Motor America2022 Tucson N Line
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson will include a sporty N Line trim — a first for this model. The Tucson N Line builds on the SEL Convenience Package with specific N Line accoutrements for the grille, front fascia, 19-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, Sport combination seats, steering wheel, shift knob and red interior accents. Other non-N Line specific features include black headlight bezels, black side mirrors, alloy pedals, scuff plates, gloss black accents, a twin-tip exhaust and a Bose premium audio system.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2022 Tucson Limited
The Tucson Limited builds on the SEL with Convenience and Premium packages with a panoramic sunroof, dark chrome trim, premium skid plate finish, black high-gloss pillars, projection LED headlights, shift-by-wire, paddle shifters, Dynamic Voice Recognition, 8-way power passenger seat, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, Remote Smart Parking Assist, Park Distance Warning, 10.25-inch navigation display, surround view camera, blind-spot view monitor, Parking Collision Avoidance Assist and Highway Driving Assist.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceExterior Design
Recently updated Hyundai models such as Sonata and Elantra have adopted much more expressive designs, although the 2022 Tucson takes things a step further with dynamic exterior styling that builds on a series of Hyundai Design Center concept vehicles. The new language embodies what Hyundai designers call Parametric Dynamics with kinetic, jewel-like surface details.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaSmooth Profile
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson profile reveals a long hood with a flat roofline and a chrome accent that begins at the mirror and follows the shape of the roofline before widening out as it extends into the rear pillar. The lower body is broken up with a series of sharp lines and geometric angles in direct contrast to the smooth, flowing shape of the roofline.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaKinetic Design
At the front of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, daytime running lights appear to be an extension of the grille by mimicking the shape and extending toward the fenders, while the headlights are positioned lower and wider. The Tucson features innovative half-mirror daytime running lights positioned within the parametric grille and only visible when illuminated. The kinetic design theme continues with taillights connected across the full width of the vehicle with concealed triangular shapes that become more visible when illuminated. The Hyundai logo moves up and gets integrated into the rear glass.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaUnder the Hood
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is offered with gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The traditional gasoline powered Tucson features a Smartstream 2.5-liter engine producing 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy ratings with FWD are 26 mpg city / 33 mpg highway / 29 mpg combined, and with AWD numbers come in at 24 mpg city / 29 mpg highway / 26 mpg combined.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaHTRAC All-Wheel Drive
Tucson is offered with Hyundai’s HTRAC All-Wheel-Drive system that include an electronic variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The driver can select between Normal, Sport and Smart modes for different weather conditions. The Sport setting sends more torque to the rear wheels for a more dynamic driving experience.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaTucson Hybrid
The new Tucson also offers a hybrid drivetrain that pairs a turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine producing 177 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque with a 44.2 kW electric motor and 1.49 kWh battery pack for an estimated total system output of 226 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Power gets funneled through a 6-speed automatic transmission and standard HTRAC AWD. The Tucson Hybrid is 30 percent more fuel efficient than the standard gasoline engine, and it offers a range of more than 500 miles. The EPA rating for Tucson Hybrid Blue is 38 mpg city / 38 mpg highway / 38 mpg combined, and the Hybrid Limited numbers are 37 mpg city / 36 mpg highway / 37 mpg combined.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaPlug-In Hybrid
The Tucson Plug-In Hybrid is also powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission and HTRAC AWD. The Plug-In Hybrid receives a larger 13.8 kWh battery for an estimated all-electric range of 28 miles and estimated fuel economy of more than 70 MPGe. With Level 2 charging capability, the Tucson Plug-In Hybrid can be charged in less than two hours using a 7.2 kW onboard charger.

© Hyundai Motor Americae-Handling Driving Dynamics
With the goal to match driving dynamics with the sporty exterior design, Tucson Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid incorporate Hyundai’s e-handling technology to apply electric motor torque control in certain driving conditions to improve cornering. Turning into corners, the system applies precise incremental braking to the front wheels for enhanced traction and steering response. When the new Tucson exits corners, the system applies more torque to the rear axle to increase rear traction and control acceleration out of corners.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaInner Space
Inside, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson features an upper dashboard that wraps around the occupants and flows into the upper door panels. The infotainment screen is cleverly integrated into the center stack, bucking the trend of tablet-like screens for the infotainment system, but adopting a tablet screen for the instrumentation. In front of the driver sits a flat screen — without a traditional hood — for the digital instrumentation.

© Hyundai Motor America2022 Tucson Interior
The 2022 Tucson Limited also offers a 10.25-inch touchscreen with no physical buttons and multi-air ventilation, a temperature adjustment system that provides indirect, diffused airflow for the front passengers. Tucson’s second-row seats feature fold-and-dive functionality to easily adjust between passenger and cargo needs.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaDistinctive Look
Hyundai invited us to experience the 2022 Tucson first hand around — where else — Tucson, Arizona, both on road as well as off-road in the desert hills. Although some owners of more conservative crossover competitors might find the new Tucson styling a little too extreme, we like how the new Tucson looks out on the road. The overall shape is adroitly balanced, and the hidden LED DRLs appear when on the road for a distinctive look that sets Tucson apart. At the rear, the taillights also give Tucson a distinctive signature and identity that separates it from the many compact crossovers careening around the country.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaOn the Road
The standard 2.5-liter gasoline engine is on par with the competition as far as output. The powerplant uses a gas direct injection and a multiport injection dual injection system to improve combined fuel economy to 29 mpg — an increase of 4 mpg over the previous model. The engine delivers plenty of power for both brisk acceleration and comfortable cruising, combined with smooth, quick shifts from the 8-speed automatic transmission. The drive mode select controls different engine and transmission settings to allow the driver to choose between Sport for more dynamic performance or Eco for more fuel efficiency.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaComfortable, Not Sporty
The ride of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson is fairly firm yet controlled and comfortable, although not as sporty as expected. The steering feels a little dead on center and not as responsive as preferred, perhaps partly due to the lane following system, which can feel a little aggressive in some situations. The lane following works well on interstates, but on curvy secondary roads we prefer disabling it and returning more control to the driver.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaTucson Hybrid
The additional power of the Tucson Hybrid is immediately noticeable, providing a smooth, powerful driving experience. The Tucson Hybrid acceleration and overall manners feel more like a traditional drivetrain thanks to the 6-speed step-gear automatic transmission, as opposed to a continuously variable transmission used in most hybrid drivetrains. The Tucson Hybrid feels smooth and quiet overall compared to the gasoline version.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceTucson Hybrid
Unlike many of today’s all-wheel-drive hybrid models that use a separate rear electric motor for all-wheel-drive capability, the Tucson Hybrid has the electric motor integrated into the transmission and a transfer case and driveline to the rear axle for the HTRAC all-wheel drive system. Again, it is a different driving experience and Hyundai uses the configuration to its advantage with the aforementioned e-handling technology.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceOff-Road
We had an opportunity to drive the Tucson Limited off-road on dusty, rocky, dirt roads in the Arizona desert to experience the HTRAC all-wheel-drive system. Although we didn’t navigate any extremely difficult or technical off-road sections, we could watch the torque distribution display in the instrumentation to see how the system distributes torque depending on traction conditions in dirt or rocks. Tucson has a center differential lock for 50/50 torque distribution that will even operate at higher speeds, unlike other systems that are only operational under low-speed conditions.

© Hyundai Motor America2022 Tucson Interior
The attractive interior design of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson has an integrated center display and symmetrical vents that wrap around both sides into the doors. The digital instrumentation screen on the Limited is bright and easy to see, even without a traditional hood over the display. The Limited offers a two-tone interior that also adds to the interior’s upscale feeling. Hyundai engineers worked to lower interior noise and the results are noticeable — Tucson is quiet for a vehicle in this class and the Tucson Hybrid even more so, naturally.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaRight for You?
The all-new 2022 Hyundai Tucson is a vehicle easy to drive and enjoy, and the interior feels upscale. Although some may find the exterior design a little too bold, it makes an impression and gives Tucson a distinctive presence in a sea of other compact crossovers. Both drivetrain choices offer both decent power and fuel economy. Hyundai has done an excellent job with both design and engineering to make Tucson even more competitive in the very crowded compact crossover segment. Buyers in the compact crossover category should give Tucson serious consideration, especially if they like standing out from the crowd.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
Pros: Bold design; well-designed interior; efficient powertrains.
Cons: Aggressive styling may be too much for some.
Bottom Line: Design, engineering and technology to compete with the best in class.

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