2022 Hyundai Tucson review: The new segment leader

The new Hyundai Tucson is fantastic both to drive and to look at.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

Hyundai isn’t falling into the industry habit of making all its new cars look like Russian dolls. From the Sonata to the Palisade to the Elantra, each new Hyundai debut is more interesting than the previous one. But they’re more than just cool design pieces – these products are all-round too. The 2022 Tucson crossover isn’t just Hyundai’s latest model, it’s still the company’s best.

I do not like

  • Tepid four-cylinder engine
  • Touch controls aren’t for everyone

Crossovers can be interesting too

Like the new Sonata and Elantra, the Tucson is sure to be a dividing element, but I absolutely love it. Easily the most striking part of the design is Tucson’s face. The “parametric design” wing-shaped front grille has corner inserts and a dark chrome finish, and the LED running lights and turn signals are integrated into the grille, appearing hidden when switched off. Meanwhile, the main headlights and high beams are in the larger pods in the lower bumper. It’s a distinctive solution and looks great, especially at night.

The rest of Tucson is also beautiful. It has square wheel arches that resemble the Lamborghini Countach – yes, really – and lots of intense character lines and emerging details. My Tucson’s Amazon Gray paint has tons of metal flakes and looks green in direct sunlight, showing the lines perfectly. The greenhouse is accented with a lance-like chrome strip that gets thicker on the D-pillar, but otherwise, there aren’t many jewels. The bar-shaped taillights have a unique signature and are connected by a full-width light bar, and the placement of the Hyundai badge in the rear glass is interesting.

Globally, the Tucson 2022 is offered with two different stride lengths, but in the US we only have the longer one. The 2022 model is 6.1 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.6 inches taller than the outgoing Tucson, and it’s about a 3.4-inch longer wheelbase. Passenger volume and cargo space have also increased, surpassing the Toyota RAV4 in both metrics, but a little below the Honda CR-V. The rear is particularly spacious, with reclining backrests that fold down easily and a fold-down armrest with cup holders and storage. The load compartment also has an adjustable load floor with two levels of height.

The Tucson gives us the atmosphere of the Lamborghini Countach.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

An interior you need to touch

Though more understated than the exterior, the Tucson’s interior still stands out. It has a cascading dashboard design with slim vents that wrap all around the rectangular dashboard and on the door boards and a large center panel that houses the infotainment system and climate controls. Most trims have analog gauges with a 4.2-inch display in the center, but optional on the SEL and standard on the Limited is a nice 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The Limited also gets a push-button shift selector instead of the physical shift found on the other liners.

Cloth upholstery is standard, and the Tucson base has plastic door panels, but leather bolster seats and soft door cards are standard on the Limited and available on the SEL. I definitely prefer the two-tone light gray and black color scheme you see here, as the interior looks more sterile in all black. One of my favorite details are Limited’s cool fabric inserts on the door panels and dashboard in front of the passenger; I wish that material had been used more throughout the interior.

The base Tucson uses an 8-inch touchscreen, but Limited models like my car get a 10.3-inch display with the same fantastic infotainment system found in a number of other Hyundai Motor Group products such as the Santa Fe and the Kia K5. Apple CarPlay is Android Auto they are standard across the board, but only cars with the 8-inch screen have wireless CarPlay. The large display looks really good and is super snappy, and I love that you can scroll on a simple display that only shows the clock and outside temperature information. It also has fun features like nature soundscapes and a silent mode for audio that focuses noise on the driver.

This is an extremely nice place.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

While the lower-end Tucsons have plenty of physical buttons and knobs, the Limited replaces them with a fully touch-sensitive panel for climate, audio, and infotainment controls, and a digital display for temperature and fan speed. I would like a home button for the infotainment and I want the buttons to have some sort of force feedback, but it’s easy to get used to. You can hold your finger on a button to quickly adjust the fan speed or volume and I love that Hyundai has more intensity for automatic climate control.

Comfort compared to the corner notch

The Tucson’s standard powertrain is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-4 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It produces 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, nearly identical to the Honda CR-V’s turbocharged engine and 16 hp and 6 pound-feet less than the RAV4’s four-cylinder engine. Front-wheel drive is standard, but my test car has the optional $ 1,400 all-wheel drive system which has variable torque distribution. This engine works great in the city and on the highway, but it certainly doesn’t make the Tucson fast or sporty. Transmission can be slow to downshift, but at least the Limited comes with shift levers.

The Tucson’s steering is both slightly weighted and light on feedback, and there’s a good amount of body roll in the corners. But what this crossover lacks in sportiness it makes up for in comfort. Even on the Limited’s 19-inch wheels, the Tucson absorbs bumps and rough surfaces, delivering a superb ride that’s smoother than all of its competitors, even the refined Mazda CX-5. It’s also a quiet luxury car inside, although the noisy engine sometimes disrupts that serenity under hard acceleration.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD

The back seat of the Tucson reclines and folds flat.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

The EPA rates the Tucson at 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined for the front-wheel drive model, while the AWD Tucson is rated at 24/29/26. In mostly stop-and-go city driving I average around 22mpg, but on a long drive from Los Angeles to Bakersfield I match Tucson’s 29mpg freeway figure – and that’s 85mph with shifts. of elevation and air conditioning on.

Each Tucson trim level is available with a new hybrid configuration that pairs a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with an electric motor for a total of 261 horsepower, and is rated at nearly 40 mpg. While I haven’t had the chance to drive the Tucson hybrid yet, with turbo response, more power and better efficiency, it could be the powerplant to get. But there is also a plug-in hybrid on the road with 261 hp and 32 miles of electric range, and the recently revealed Santa Cruz Retreat, which is based on the Tucson, has a turbo-quattro engine available with 281 hp and 311 lb-ft paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Tucson N, anyone?

A lot of money for your money

The Tucson SE base starts at $ 26,135 including $ 1,185 for the destination, making it cheaper than rivals Honda and Toyota. Comes with full LED front lighting, automatic and high beam headlights, 17 inch wheels, keyless entry, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist with lane centering, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a pair of front. USB sockets for the passenger and HD radio.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD

The upper edges have a 10.3-inch screen and touch controls.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

Jumping up to $ 27,685 SEL gives you LED taillights, push button start, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, two USB sockets in the rear, heated side mirrors, electric driver’s seat, heated front seats, automatic lift / front windows down, satellite radio, blind spot assistance, rear cross traffic assistance and numerous cosmetic improvements. A $ 2,600 convenience package adds things like a hands-free electric tailgate, 19-inch wheels, a sunroof, that digital instrument cluster, a leather-wrapped gearbox and steering wheel, 10-color ambient lighting, two-zone automatic climate control, and wireless charging. There’s also a $ 1,700 Premium package with leather seats, ventilated front seats, a Bose sound system, and dark chrome grille. Then there is a $ 31,785 N Line trim which is based on the SEL and its packages with a more aggressive exterior styling, unique interior trims and sportier tuning for the suspension and steering, although it doesn’t add any extra power.

The fully loaded $ 35,885 Limited model like me includes features and tech items that would have been unheard of in an affordable compact crossover even 10 years ago. On top of everything from those SEL packages, it adds a panoramic sunroof, multiple exterior lighting elements, a 360-degree camera and parking sensors, Hyundai digital key phone app, driver’s seat memory, a car seat electric passenger, rain-sensitive wipers, remote smart park, 64-color interior ambient lighting, blind spot cameras that appear in the instrument cluster, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel, and Hyundai’s Level 2 Highway Driver Assistance System. Oddly, one feature the Tucson doesn’t have is the automatic up / down rear windows, which is an odd omission given how many other fancy things you can get.

The styling of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson won’t be for everyone, and that’s okay. I think it’s better to stand out and be memorable than to be anonymous and take a back seat, especially in such a crowded and traditionally boring segment. If you like edgy looks, or at least get past them, the redesigned Tucson offers the best blend of technology, features, sophistication and value of any new compact crossover today.

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