Hyundai’s rise to prominence shows that the brand is now a formidable force. Starting with the Sonata and Elantra in the early 2010s, the company now turns its attention to its SUV lineup. Enter the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, one of two electrified variants of the brand’s popular compact crossover. This rig aims to give you everything without costing you an arm and a leg. But does it have what it takes to compete against benchmarks like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4? Let’s dive in.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid: Concept Car for the Street
At first glance, you’ll easily mistake the 2022 Tucson Hybrid for a concept car. With its numerous creases and angles, LED daytime running lights embedded into the grille, and Mustang-like taillights, this SUV stands out. Versus the outgoing model, the latest Tucson features a longer wheelbase, putting it on the larger end of its segment. The bigger exterior footprint thankfully translates to a roomier vehicle. Five people easily fit and you get impressive amounts of cargo space with the seats up or down.
Unlike the exterior, the Tucson Hybrid’s interior follows a cleaner and simpler design language. You won’t find any floating displays here or a traditional hooded gauge cluster. Instead, you get a 10.25-inch digital cluster behind the steering wheel and an optional main touchscreen of the same size neatly integrated into the center stack. In typical Hyundai fashion, you get excellent materials and class-above fit and finish, making the Tucson feel more expensive than its sticker price suggests. It also features excellent sound insulation, giving you a tranquil space for commuting and long road trips.
About The Tech Features…
Hyundai typically has the most user-friendly infotainment systems out of any automaker. That’s the case in the Tucson Hybrid, which gets a responsive interface with minimal submenus. The big problem? Hyundai ditched nearly all physical controls on the center stack for haptic feedback ones. These make using the system finicky and distracting in some instances because it forces you to take your eyes off the road. The available Bose audio system provides good levels of clarity but its volume increases irregularly. That means it remains low even well past the halfway point before suddenly getting way louder.
The SmartSense driver assistance suite stands out as one of the best. Its components do a great job keeping you centered in your lane and helping you complete gentle turns at highway speeds. The system also uses navigation data to detect oncoming curves, enabling the car to slow down ahead of time so you can go through them at a safe speed. Highway Driving Assist, Hyundai Motor Group’s semi-autonomous system, works seamlessly. It proactively keeps watch of vehicles around you and will slow down quickly but smoothly when someone cuts you off. The system also goes one step further and aids you during evasive maneuvers. In traffic, it follows slower vehicles without jerking you around, adding to the system’s overall refined operation.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid: Power, Efficiency, and Grace
If you’re in search of the most potent version of the Tucson, the electrified versions are it. The Tucson Hybrid couples a 1.6-liter turbo-four with an electric motor, a 1.5-kWh lithium-ion battery, and a six-speed automatic transmission. Combined, it makes 226 hp for zippy acceleration. Between the electric motor’s instant torque and the engine’s broad torque curve, the SUV moves with gusto and always has power on hand. Although it’s responsive and quick, the gearbox needs to hold gears longer outside of Sport mode. It’s too adamant about going to higher ratios, resulting in it constantly hunting. The use of a standard mechanical AWD system also enhances the SUV’s road manners, giving it more grip in all driving situations. Mash the accelerator and the car immediately shuffles power between the four wheels, preventing it from feeling like its FWD.
The Tucson Hybrid masterfully blends surefooted handling and comfort, highlighting how quickly Hyundai improved its suspension tuning. Great body control, accurate and communicative steering, and some torque vectoring trickery from the brakes and electric motor gives this SUV confident road manners. It happily cuts through corners and remains poised during emergency maneuvers. Even with the 19-inch wheels on the Limited trim, the Tucson Hybrid remains compliant and does a great job keeping harsh impacts out of the cabin. Equally impressive is the Tucson Hybrid’s brake pedal operation. It’s among the most natural with seamless transitions from regenerative to mechanical braking even during emergencies.
EPA ratings for the Tucson Hybrid stand at 38 mpg across the board for the Blue grade or 37/36/37 mpg city/highway for the SEL and Limited trims. During my week, I managed 38 mpg on a Limited test vehicle.
Right Priced Class Leader
Starting at $31,045, the Tucson Hybrid competes well with the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Honda CR-V Hybrid, and Ford Escape Hybrid. However, once you load it up, the Hyundai’s lead extends because it manages to stay under $40,000. When you take into account the space, efficiency, power, upscale appointments, and technology, the Tucson Hybrid turns into a stellar proposition. As tested, my test car checked in at $38,704, once again, a stellar value.
There’s no doubt that the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid stands as one of the class leaders in its segment. What it gives up in efficiency to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid it makes up in build quality, technology, and excellent road manners. This SUV democratizes features and capabilities once exclusive to vehicles wearing luxury badges. For that reason alone, it stands above nearly all of its rivals.