2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid review: Even more to like

This thing looks so fucking good.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson sets a new benchmark for compact crossovers and it’s fantastic. This eye-catching SUV packs tons of features, all the latest technology and solid road manners into one great looking package. How could Hyundai make it better? Meet the 2022 Tucson Hybrid.

Like it

  • Extraordinary style
  • 37 mpg without even trying
  • Luxurious interior
  • Excellent infotainment technology

I do not like

  • Touch touch controls
  • No wireless CarPlay with larger multimedia screen

Of course, the big selling point of any hybrid is fuel economy and the Tucson doesn’t disappoint. The more efficient Blue model will return 38 mpg combined according to the Environmental Protection Agency, while my loaded Limited does slightly worse (37 mpg still very good). After 300 miles of testing, I had no problem meeting the EPA’s combined rating, and that’s without changing my barely warm driving style. In fact, the Tucson Hybrid actually encourages gritty driving, which is another big reason this CUV is seriously good.

Standard Tucsons are powered by a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated I4 with 187 horsepower which, while adequate, is hardly exciting. Instead of electrifying just that powertrain, the Tucson Hybrid uses a 1.6-liter I4 turbo that alone delivers 180 horsepower, complemented by 195 lb-ft of torque that comes strong at just 1,500 rpm. A 1.5 kilowatt-hour battery sends power to an electric motor, delivering an additional 59 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. You can’t just add all these numbers together to get the total power of the system, of course, but Hyundai cites a final figure of 226bhp, which is a pretty solid increase over the base Tucson, especially considering the abundant low-end torque.

The more efficient Tucson Hybrid is expected to return 38 mpg, according to the EPA.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

All Tucson Hybrids come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, and from the moment I stepped out of the driveway, I could really feel the difference. The Hybrid accelerates with far more authority than the regular Tucson, with a little electric push off the line before a burst of turbo torque helps this SUV pick up speed. Gear shifts are smooth and inaudible, and there are even steering wheel-mounted shifters, though I’m not really sure when or why you’d use them in a car like this.

The Tucson Hybrids get Hyundai’s electronic management technology, which uses the power of the electric motor to essentially introduce torque vector, braking the front wheels when cornering and sending additional torque to the rear axle when exiting. It’s something you can really feel on a winding road, not suddenly turning the Tucson into a sports car. The gas-only and electrified Tucsons have the same steering and suspension tunes, both perfectly appropriate for a compact crossover. The steering is light but direct and the MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension do a good job of keeping the Tucson smooth and stable at all times. Even with the Limited’s sleek 19-inch wheels, this Hyundai isn’t crashing at all, even on ugly spots.

It is rare for the hybrid option of a CUV to be more efficient is more powerful than the standard gas model, but it only makes this Tucson more compelling. In fact, it makes me super excited to drive the upcoming Tucson plug-in hybrid, which delivers a whopping 261 hp, not to mention an estimated 32 miles of all-electric driving range.

Hyundai offers the Tucson Hybrid in three trim levels. The base Blue comes in at $ 30,235, including $ 1,185 for the destination and has the same level of equipment as a non-hybrid Tucson SEL AWD. This means that goodies like blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic warning, adaptive cruise control at full speed, tinted windows, a proximity key and heated seats are all standard, plus the technologies that come with the most simple Tucson: forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, an 8-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and of course those scary LED daytime running lights.

The SEL Hybrid adds 19-inch wheels, ambient interior lighting, Hyundai digital key, wireless charging and a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster. At $ 32,835 delivered, this really seems like the way to go if you don’t care about maximum comfort.

The interior of the Tucson is quiet, comfortable and full of technology.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

The high-end $ 38,535 limited hybrid has everything you could want in a compact SUV. Things like a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, rain sensing wipers, remote parking assistance (smaht pahk), heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, blind spot cameras are all standard, and even a larger 10.3-inch multimedia display (which strangely doesn’t include wireless CarPlay). The Limited also has Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist, which combines lane centering technology and adaptive cruise control to make those boring highway driving that much easier.

This is no exaggeration – the interior of the Tucson Limited is nicer than what you’ll find in many luxury cars. The leather seats are comfortable, the materials on the dashboard and door panels look good (I love those fabric inserts), and the set of touch-sensitive buttons under the infotainment screen is both modern and functional. Those buttons offer instant response, unlike the touch controls used in some vehicles (Cadillacs), although that glossy black panel is a magnet for fingerprint smudges, so perhaps keep some wipes in the glove box or center console.

Aside from a few badges, the Hybrid looks the same as the other Tucsons. That is to say, it is rad.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Front and rear passengers have plenty of room to spread out, and the Tucson Hybrid is no less roomy than its gas-only counterpart. There is a generous 38.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which expands to 74.5 cubic feet if you fold the bench flat. It’s slightly less than what a Honda CR-V offers, but more than what you’ll get in the Ford Escape or Toyota RAV4 hybrids. Considering how much nicer the interior of the Hyundai is – and how great this SUV is from the outside – it’s a rather minor compromise.

It is certainly worth noting that the aforementioned competitors are a couple of miles per gallon more efficient than the Tucson and all are fairly evenly priced. The Hyundai is by far the best looking and most drivable compact hybrid crossover, plus it has the most imaginative interior and by far the nicest infotainment technology. I’d be totally willing to sacrifice a mile per gallon or two considering all this crossover has to offer. The Tucson standard has already raised the bar for compact SUVs; the new Hybrid only pushes it higher.

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