The Hyundai Tucson has been in the shadows of the more popular Honda CR-V & Toyota Rav4. But for the new generation 2022 Tucson, Hyundai is pulling out all the stops to make the crossover stand out in a very crowded compact SUV segment.
Engine – The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is available with a few engine options. There’s a 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder, a 1.6L turbocharged hybrid (as equipped), and a Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) variant that will arrive a little later in 2021. This conventional hybrid powertrain has a total system output of 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque (169 kW & 350 Nm). Compared to the Rav4 Hybrid & CR-V hybrid, that’s more power than what the other crossovers provide and you can really feel it from behind the steering wheel. Put your foot down and you get a strong surge in acceleration as the 59 hp (44 kW) electric motor provides instant torque until the gasoline engine reaches its optimum rpm range.
Of course the point of the hybrid powertrain isn’t performance but rather fuel economy. Officially, the 2022 Tucson Hybrid has worse fuel economy figures than its competitors. It is rated for 6.3 L/100km (37.3 MPG) in a city and 6.6 L/100km (35.6 MPG) on a highway. However, in the real world you can get better numbers than those as I did when I had the Tucson hybrid. I averaged 6.2 L/100km (38 MPG) over a total of almost 500 km (310 miles) while driving the SUV. And that’s a combined fuel economy rating.
The 2022 Tucson Hybrid has a small 1.49 kWh battery but it provides enough charge for brief moments of all electric driving. It gets recharged by the engine and by regenerative braking. The crossover has a tendency to set off under power of the gasoline engine and then once up to speed, it’ll switch over to electric driving if the charge is sufficient. I noticed that only when the batter is over ¾ full does the car set off using only electricity. Anything below that charge, and the gasoline engine kicks in when setting off from a stop. Also, the computer does not let the battery charge dip below ⅓, at least I never saw it dip below that amount.
Transmission – Unlike many other hybrid crossovers, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid utilizes a 6-speed automatic transmission rather than a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The 6-speed automatic doesn’t have an “elastic” feel as some CVTs do. However, it’s not the fastest transmission out there in terms of response to driver inputs. There are steering wheel mounted paddle shifters but they take forever to charge gears. Even when putting your foot down in D, it still takes a while for the transmission to find the appropriate gear and shift to it. Thankfully while it does that, the electric motor provides the instant torque & acceleration.
Braking – The Tucson Hybrid does not have different levels of regenerative braking. The amount of energy that is recaptured from braking is all done by the brake pedal. The regen braking in the Eco or Smart drive modes is like engine braking but it does feel a bit stronger in Sport mode. There’s also no differentiation between regen braking and normal friction braking when coming to a stop.
Handling – This version of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson is not meant to be the sporty version of the lineup. There is an N-Line coming for that. This Tucson is composed around twists and turns with a quick steering response. There isn’t a whole lot of feedback to the driver through the steering wheel but it is light for slow speed maneuverability and the Tucson has a relatively small turning circle. As well, this Ultimate trim has crystal clear HD surround view cameras for parking lot maneuvers.
Ride Comfort – Supple, is the best word to describe the ride of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. Small bumps, large bumps, road cracks, gravel, etc. are all very well ironed out by the suspension. The seats further add to the comfort by being both supportive and plush. However, the rear bench seats are quite firm.
Interior Space – This new generation of the Tucson sits on a slightly longer platform. As a result, it now has one of the biggest cabins in the class. As per usual, front occupants have an abundance of both legroom and headroom with a lot of adjustability in the seats. Rear occupants are also treated to a lot of space. In fact, the 2022 Tucson now has more rear legroom than the Honda CR-V which has – until now – been the king of rear legroom among compact SUVs. As well, the rear seats can recline for added comfort and the center floor hump is about half the size when compared to other compact SUVs.
The trunk is also very capacious with 1,097 L (38.7 cu-ft) of cargo volume with the rear seats up. That’s more than the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid, Honda CR-V Hybrid, & Ford Escape Hybrid. With the rear seats folded, the Tucson hybrid has 2,108 L (74.4 cu-ft) which is a lot but the Rav4 Hybrid has slightly more.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – This being a hybrid vehicle, it is important for it to be quiet. Thankfully, the Tucson is quiet. Even when the engine is running and helping to accelerate the crossover, the cabin feels isolated from the mechanical noises of the powertrain. Furthermore, it’s almost imperceivable to feel when the engine turns on under normal driving conditions. It is that smooth. Of course if the rpms climb past 4,000, the engine is a screamer… and not the nice kind. On highways, road noise from the tires and wind noise are minimal.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – In Canada, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is available in two trim levels; Luxury & Ultimate. They cost $38,900 CAD & $41,600 CAD respectively. In the United States, there’s three hybrid trims to choose from. Blue for $29,050 USD, SEL Convenience for $31,650 USD, & Limited for $37,350 USD.
This Ultimate trimmed demo vehicle is fully loaded with a lot of the same features that are available in other compact SUVs. These include heated & ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking, lane departure & lane keep, blind spot sensors, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights & taillights, wireless phone charging & more.
However, the 2022 Tucson has a few gadgets that only some or none of its competitors have. The Tucson has wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a fully digital 10.25” driver display, remote parking where the car can move forwards or backwards into a parking stall at the push of a button on the remote, and it has a very good highway driving assistant feature that utilizes adaptive cruise control and lane centering to make boring highway driving more comfortable by keeping the crossover centered in your lane on straights and gentle turns.
Interior Design – Stepping into the 2022 Hyundai Tucson feels like you’re stepping into a Genesis product; Hyundai’s luxury division. The look of the cabin is airy and elegantly designed. The centerpiece is the 10.25” infotainment screen and touch sensitive climate & media controls underneath it. Visually, it looks great. Practically, Hyundai needs to change the touch controls to physical buttons and knobs. There’s no volume knob, no tuning knob, no temperature knobs or buttons. It can make for tricky adjustments while driving as it requires you take your eyes off the road.
However, a couple of really cool features are on the dashboard. The Tucson has air vents like any other vehicle but it also has a perforated section between the vents to allow for diffused air to pass through. A great feature for those that do not like the feeling of A/C air blown in their faces. Another cool design is the hoodless driver display. Surprisingly, it doesn’t reflect a lot of glare under direct sunlight and it’s still legible.
Exterior Design – Hyundai’s designers took a very bold approach to the styling. It looks mechanical and sporty at the same time. It is a striking design that may not be to everyone’s liking. I’m personally not sold on it. The front grille looks a bit too bling and flashy but I do approve of the LED daytime running lights. Around back it has a bit of Ford Mach-E (I refuse to call that a Mustang) look with the vertical portion of the taillights. The whole crossover looks edgy and different than any other competitor and I commend Hyundai for designing it like that. But the exterior styling is not something that looks that appealing to me. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me.
Warranty – In Canada, Hyundai provides a 5 year / 100,000 km new vehicle warranty along with a powertrain warranty that is the same time & mileage period. In the United States, it is 5 years / 60,000 miles for new vehicle while powertrain and hybrid components warranty is 10 years / 100,000 miles but only for the first owner of the vehicle. For more warranty information in Canada, click here. For USA warranty, click here.
Overall, the all-new 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is no longer in the shadows of the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, & Toyota Rav4. The new platform is more spacious, has a wonderful looking interior, an incredibly smooth but powerful powertrain, and is similarly priced as its competitors. The exterior styling is not for everyone’s taste but if you can look past that, the new Tucson Hybrid is an excellent option if you’re in the market for a compact SUV; you’re spoiled for choice.
Thank you to Hyundai Canada for providing the vehicle. www.HyundaiCanada.com