2022 Hyundai Tucson Review: Setting New Standards
The redesigned 2022 Tucson sets new design, technology, and electrified powertrain standards.
What is the 2022 Hyundai Tucson?
A compact crossover SUV, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson is redesigned and armed for battle against the best-sellers in the class. Technologically advanced, available with electrified powertrains*, and offering generous ownership perks, the new 2022 Tucson is a distinctive alternative to the status quo.
What's New for the 2022 Hyundai Tucson?
Dramatic best describes the redesigned 2022 Hyundai Tucson. From the running lights embedded into the grille and its high-tech interior to its robust safety systems and stylish taillights, the Tucson sets new expectations for compact crossover SUVs. The new Tucson Hybrid and Tucson Plug-in Hybrid models are the frosting on the cake.
How Much is a Hyundai Tucson?
This year, 2022 Hyundai Tucson prices range from the mid $20,000s to the mid $40,000s, including the destination charge. Hyundai builds the gas models in Montgomery, Alabama, while the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models hail from a factory in Ulsan, South Korea.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Trim Levels and Configurations
The 2022 Tucson comes with your choice between gas, gas-electric hybrid, and gas-electric plug-in hybrid powertrains. Each comes with the following trim levels:
- Gas models are available in SE, SEL, N Line, XRT, and Limited trim
- Hybrids are available in Blue, SEL Convenience, and Limited trim
- Plug-in hybrids come in SEL and Limited trim
- Here is a quick summary of each of the trim levels:
- Hyundai Tucson SE—This might be the base trim, but it's anything but basic. Expected safety and infotainment tech combine with stain-resistant fabric upholstery to provide everything you need
- Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Blue—To emphasize its reduced emissions and fuel efficiency, the base version of the Tucson Hybrid is called Blue instead of SE. It adds some extra standard equipment, too
- Hyundai Tucson SEL—This mid-grade trim is available with all three powertrains. A well-appointed Convenience Package is optional for gas models and comes standard with the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the SUV
- Hyundai Tucson N Line—For sporty styling, choose the N Line. Just remember that it's all show with no extra go
- Hyundai Tucson XRT—If you want to look like you're heading out on an off-roading adventure, the XRT's roof rack crossbars, black wheels, and body cladding will do the trick
- Hyundai Tucson Limited—For the most upscale and technologically advanced Tucson, choose the Limited, which is available with all three powertrains
2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Review and Test Drive
Hyundai is unwilling to settle for second-best, as you can see in the redesigned 2022 Tucson. Larger in size than before, wrapped in bodywork with a keen sense of style, equipped with technology that is sometimes reserved for high-end luxury models, and loaded with genuine value, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson is one of the best vehicles in its segment. It slots into the Hyundai SUV model lineup above the Kona and below the Santa Fe.
Impressively, Hyundai offers the Tucson with a gas engine, a turbocharged hybrid powertrain, and a turbocharged plug-in hybrid powertrain. The turbo hybrids include standard all-wheel drive (AWD), which is optional on the standard Tucson. The sweet spot in the lineup is the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. It costs a few thousand more than a regular Tucson but offers enough power to accelerate out of its own way while returning significantly better gas mileage.
For this 2022 Hyundai Tucson review, we test-drove the Hybrid Limited in Southern California. It came with optional floor mats and a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $39,540, including the $1,295 destination charge. Hyundai provided the vehicle for this Tucson Hybrid review.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Review: The Design
When it comes to design, Hyundai doesn't shy away from taking risks, and more often than not, it succeeds. For example, the new 2022 Tucson reflects Hyundai's Parametric Dynamics styling theme, resulting in a potentially polarizing appearance. However, to my eye, the sharp angles and bold forms work nicely on the new Tucson, helping to distinguish it from a pack of rival compact crossover SUVs that often look too similar.
Inside, Hyundai takes an architectural approach, with flat planes, sweeping curves, and high-tech displays that collectively create what the company calls an Interspace. Quality materials and soft surfaces are more the rules than the exception, and our test vehicle had an upscale swathe of fabric trim on the dashboard. Depending on the trim level, Hyundai equips the Tucson with stain- and odor-resistant cloth or genuine leather seats, both in Black. The leather also comes in Gray, which is a light grayish-beige color. It looks better than it sounds and brings strong contrast and a sense of lightness to the cabin.
Equipped with two 10.25-inch digital displays for the instrumentation and touchscreen infotainment system, plus a touch-sensing climate control panel, the Tucson Hybrid Limited's interior appeared to be as high-tech as an Apple store. Surprisingly, the lack of physical knobs and buttons wasn't a significant problem thanks to the Tucson's outstanding voice control system and responsive capacitive-touch screen with clearly marked virtual buttons separated by plenty of real estate. Still, the setup is less than ideal, and it accumulates quite a bit of dust and fingerprints over time, making the center control panel look less attractive.
Collectively, the Tucson's design elements make it one of the most thoroughly modern, forward-thinking, and expressive vehicles in its segment. But this Hyundai is as much about practicality as it is style.
Comfort is the standard thanks to the test vehicle's eight-way power-adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, and Hyundai pads the places where you're likely to rest an arm or elbow. The rear seat room is generous, too, and the test vehicle's outboard cushions were heated. The Tucson's interior is open, airy, and inviting, and it is simple to enter and exit thanks to wide doors and its crossover SUV ride height.
Clean interior design doesn't come at the expense of storage space, and the redesigned Tucson is now one of the most accommodating members of its class concerning cargo space. Open the hands-free smart power liftgate, which recognizes the presence of the key fob and automatically powers up after a few seconds, and you'll find more than 38 cu. ft. of volume behind the back seat. Then use the handy release lever in the cargo area, and the rear seats fold to create nearly 75 cu. ft. of cargo space.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Review: The Technology
Design and utility are key characteristics of the new, redesigned 2022 Tucson, but this compact SUV is also a high-tech crossover vehicle when outfitted in its higher trim levels.
In addition to the available 10.25-inch digital instrumentation display* and touch-sensing climate control panel, you can get a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It's an upgrade over the standard 8-inch touchscreen, but strangely the 10.25-inch system doesn't provide wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto like the 8-inch version. Instead, you need to tether your smartphone via cable and a USB port.
Otherwise, the 10.25-inch touchscreen is a clear improvement over the base offering. In addition to its split-screen functionality, this infotainment system offers navigation and Blue Link connected services with a complimentary three-year subscription. Natural voice recognition controls the navigation system, the radio, the climate controls, and other functions, including seat heating and ventilation. Hyundai says you can even issue a command to close the Tucson's power liftgate. The test vehicle also had an eight-speaker Bose premium audio system and wireless smartphone charging.
Blue Link offers a long list of features, ranging from remote engine starting with climate control activation to Amazon Alexa integration. In addition, you can find where the Tucson is, set safe teen driver settings related to speed and curfew time. You’ll also benefit from a panic notification function and automatic emergency assistance if you push the SOS button, or get into a collision. What's missing is access to a Wi-Fi hotspot, but if you run an unlimited data plan for your smartphone you likely don't need this.
During my evaluation, I found the 10.25-inch infotainment system agreeable to use. Physical controls on the steering wheel assist with stereo volume and tuning, and the voice recognition technology is excellent. So, once you've gone through the various menus and configured the Tucson to your preferences, the day-to-day operation of the tech should pose little to no problems.
The new Tucson also offers Digital Key technology that turns an Android smartphone into the vehicle's key to unlock, start, and drive the SUV. Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) is also available, and it can autonomously park the Tucson in a parallel space after you've lined the SUV up and exited the vehicle. Compared to other versions of RSPA—such as what Genesis offers—you can think of this as RSPA-lite.
Hyundai equips every 2022 Tucson with SmartSense, which is its name for a collection of standard driving assistance and collision avoidance systems. They include forward-collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, Junction Turning Detection that can prevent unsafe left turns across traffic, and automatic emergency braking. Additionally, the Tucson comes with automatic high-beam assist, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and a driver monitoring system. A rear-seat reminder system is also standard.
As you move up the Tucson's trim-level ladder, you'll be able to access an active blind-spot monitoring system that can actively try to avoid an unsafe lane change, rear cross-traffic alert, a Safe Exit Warning system that attempts to warn occupants when it's dangerous to get out of the SUV, and a surround-view camera system. Additionally, the Tucson is available* with adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, and an ultrasonic version of the rear-seat reminder system that can detect movement inside the vehicle and send the owner text messages to check the interior for a forgotten child or pet.
There are two other technologies worthy of mention. The first is the Blind-Spot View Monitor, which adds to the active blind-spot monitoring system with a camera-based video view of what's on either side of the Tucson when the driver signals a lane change. Hyundai shows this view within the digital instrumentation.
The second is Highway Driving Assist. This feature combines the adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering assist system to provide semi-autonomous driving support on highways. It works exceptionally well, and is more sophisticated and capable than what you'll find in many of the Tucson's direct competitors.
If Hyundai's array of tech can't prevent a collision, rest easier knowing that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the SUV an overall safety rating of Top Safety Pick+. Crash-test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are dependent on powertrain, drivetrain, and when the Tucson rolled down the assembly line. You can visit the NHTSA website to get the details on the exact model you're researching.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Review: The Drive
With the redesigned 2022 Tucson, hybrid is synonymous with performance—and not just concerning fuel economy. Standard Tucsons have a rather unimpressive 2.5L four-cylinder engine delivering 187 hp to the front or all four wheels. Instead, Tucson Hybrids get a turbocharged powertrain that costs more but provides quicker acceleration, better fuel economy, and standard AWD. You can also get a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of this SUV that gives you 33 miles of electric driving before the powertrain switches to regular hybrid operation.
The Tucson Hybrid has a turbocharged 1.6-L four-cylinder engine, a 44.2-kW electric motor, and a 1.49-kWh battery combining for total output measuring 226 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. These components pair with a 6-speed automatic transmission,an AWD system, and the Tucson Hybrid offers drivers a choice between Smart, Normal, and Sport driving modes. Official Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings in combined driving are 37 mpg with SEL Convenience and Limited trim and 38 mpg with Blue trim.
During my evaluation, the Tucson Hybrid Limited came nowhere near its official fuel economy estimate. However, after 71.8 miles of travel on my usual evaluation route, the SUV returned 30.1 mpg while driving primarily in Smart mode. It's worth noting that the evaluation drive did not include heavy stop-and-go traffic, in which hybrids typically excel. Still, this result was much less than expected.
Aside from this disappointment, I liked driving the Tucson Hybrid. It provides plenty of acceleration for merging onto freeways or getting up to speed on fast-flowing surface streets. The 6-speed automatic transmission is substantially more satisfying than a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Hyundai also equips the Tucson Hybrid with an e-Handling system that adjusts electric motor torque output depending on the driving situation. Hyundai claims it can improve cornering performance and make the SUV more fun to drive.
Based on my experience, this is true. While driving the Tucson Hybrid on undulating mountain roads, you're aware of the added weight of the electric motor and battery pack. However, Hyundai does a great job of controlling unwanted and excessive body motions, leading to smooth, consistent, predictable handling. The precise steering helps in this regard, and the regenerative brakes don't often demonstrate inconsistent response or a grabby feel, which is common in hybrids.
While the test vehicle's significant fuel-efficiency shortfall is unfortunate, the rest of the Tucson Hybrid driving experience is commendable. Also, I do not doubt that this SUV would have returned better mileage if my testing route included more heavy city traffic (and we hadn't used Sport mode while driving in the mountains).
Is the 2022 Hyundai Tucson a Good SUV?
In most respects, the 2022 Tucson is an excellent choice for a compact crossover SUV. If you like the styling, you can live without a Wi-Fi hotspot, and you're willing to spend a little more to get the turbocharged Hybrid or Plug-in Hybrid model, you're likely going to be happy with everything except the real-world fuel economy. Plus, the Tucson comes with one of the best warranty programs available, and Hyundai provides complimentary maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles and free access to Blue Link connected services for the first three years of ownership.
*Availability is subject to specific trim level selections