All-new 2022 Hyundai Tucson proves to be a competitive cute-ute
When the Hyundai Tucson was launched back in 2004, it appeared to me as the ugly-duckling in the Hyundai lineup – it just was not an attractive SUV. Things got better five years later when the second-generation Tucson came out – as the Tucson started to look more attractive and appealing. In 2016, the third-generation Tucson came out and really transformed it into a handsome little SUV. Now for 2022, the Tucson gets completely redesigned and continues that upward trend.
The all-new fourth generation Hyundai Tucson carries on in the Hyundai lineup slotted between the smaller Hyundai Kona and larger Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s a 5-passenger compact crossover that takes aim directly at the likes of the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.
The new Tucson takes on a very different – and very expressive look. Wheel arches are now squared and bold creases make their presence in the body. In the past, the Tucson was described as being cute, but this new one now looks bolder and athletic.
Inside, Hyundai continues their pattern of providing excellent ergonomics and an abundance of interior space despite the Tucson’s small footprint. The cabin is a very pleasant place to be with front seats that offer plenty of room and rear passengers able to stretch their legs and even recline their seat.
The new Tucson is available with a conventional gas engine or as a hybrid. All gas-engine powered Tucsons use a 2.5 liter four-cylinder that makes 187 horsepower. Strangely, if you want more power out of the Tucson, you’re better off going the economical route and opt for a hybrid – as it uses a turbocharged 1.6 liter four-cylinder and an electric motor that makes 227 hp. A plug-in hybrid bumps that power up to 261 hp. Hybrids us a six-speed automatic transmission and come standard with all-wheel drive while the gas engine uses an eight-speed automatic with front-wheel drive (with all-wheel drive being an option).
Gas powered Tucsons are available in four different trim levels. The SE is the base but is nicely fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, 8-inch infotainment center as well as a ton of safety features including forward collision mitigation and lane keeping assist. The SEL adds some luxury to the Tucson by including a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry and push-button start. The N Line is the sporty version of the Tucson. While it doesn’t add any performance, it does equip the Tucson with sportier seats, special 19-inch wheels and unique exterior and interior trim pieces. The top-of-the-line Tucson is the Limited, which adds in a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel heated rear seats, a larger infotainment screen, blind-spot camera and a surround view camera.
The tester, a Tucson Limited, carried a price tag of $37,454 and felt worthy of it. The interior makes you feel like you’re in a more expensive vehicle with its high-tech features that include few physical buttons (most interior features are controlled through the touchscreen). The shifter is a push-button type which is becoming more of the norm these days and gives the interior a more open feel.
On the road, the Tucson drives well and offers enough power for typical duties – but quick it is not. Tests show it takes about 9 seconds to reach 60 mph. The EPA rates it at 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The Tucson Hybrid delivers a much better performance bang – able to get to 60 mph in just 7 seconds – and also boosts fuel economy to 38 mpg – literally a win-win situation.
When put to work, the new Tucson can carry 38 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats – which puts it among the best in its class. Fold the rear seats down, and that space increases to over 74 cubic feet.
Despite the lackluster powertrain, the all-new Tucson has a lot going for it. An attractive exterior with a high-tech interior as well as providing excellent utility, will no doubt keep the Tucson in the running for those looking at a compact SUV.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD
Base Price: $36,100.00
Price as Tested: $37,454.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 2.5 liter four-cylinder
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Horsepower: 187 hp
Torque: 178 ft-lbs
EPA Fuel Economy: 24 city / 29 highway mpg
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