By Paul Strauss
With vehicles like the Palisade, Sonata, Kona, and Veloster N in its current line-up, there’s never been a better time to own a Hyundai. For 2022, the Korean automaker completely revamped its popular Tucson compact SUV, making it more stylish, comfortable, versatile, and quicker.
On looks alone, the new Tucson represents a dramatic departure from the design of prior models and stands out from the rest of the Hyundai line with a dramatic front end that has a faceted look to it. Of particular note is the stacked, wing-like arrangement of its running lights, which rise up above its bright LED headlights. It’s a truly unique look that distinguishes the Tucson from every other vehicle on the road.
Those dramatic looks continue all the way around the Tucson, with sharp, angular creases along its side body panels, short front and rear overhangs, and a subtly sloped roofline that gives it a dynamic look without cramping rear seat headroom. The Limited trim I drove rides on 19″ alloy rims with a pinwheel pattern that gives the Tucson a sense of movement even when it’s is standing still.
The new Tucson comes with one of three engine configurations, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine that makes 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft. of torque, a zippy and fuel-efficient hybrid drivetrain that combines a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4 with a motor drive unit, resulting in 226 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque, or a plug-in hybrid model which can drive up to 28 miles in EV mode, and makes a combined 261 horsepower. The Hybrid model I drove gets an impressive 37 mpg combined. With a 0-to-60 time of around 7.2 seconds, it’s not blazing fast, but it beats out many other vehicles in its class.
Driving the 2022 Tucson is a pleasure whether in the city or on the highway. It offers up a smooth and engaging ride thanks to an updated suspension system, and body roll is well controlled, resulting in confident cornering. The weather conditions and terrain were quite favorable the week I had the Tucson, so I didn’t get a chance to push its HTRAC all-wheel-drive system anywhere near its limits. That said, it does offer some useful off-road features like the ability to force engage the rear wheels and Hill Descent Control. You can also enable the front-facing camera while driving off-road to view the trail ahead of you.
The interior of the Tucson Limited is more upscale than you might expect from a Hyundai, offering leather-trimmed seats and soft-touch materials throughout. The front seats have both heat and cooling, and the driver’s seat has memory, so you can save seat positions for up to three drivers. There’s dual-zone climate control with a unique “Diffuse” which keeps harsh cold or warm air from blowing right in your face.
A duo of 10.25″ widescreens make for a truly modern and high-tech look, with the left screen providing bright and easy-to-read digital gauges and a variety of other useful vehicle information. It changes its look based on the drive mode you’re in as well. For example, the gauges turn a cool blue-green in Eco mode and a bold red in Sport mode. The touchscreen center display provides access to Hyundai’s smooth and intuitive infotainment system. The center stack is devoid of physical buttons and knobs, instead opting for touch-based controls. While this is a slick look, I much prefer tactile inputs for frequently used controls like climate and radio settings. The piano black finish is also a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
Floating overhead is a large panoramic moonroof with a front half that can be opened. Rear seat passengers are in for a treat, too, with plenty of legroom and headroom, even for taller passengers. Overall passenger volume increased from 102.2 cubic feet to 108.2 cubic feet for the 2022 model year.
Cargo space is good – with the Tucson growing in length by more than six inches this year, cargo volume increased from 31.0 cubic feet to 38.7 cubic feet. My only complaint is that the second row doesn’t fold completely flat, which can limit the ability to carry longer fragile items like a big-screen TV or a piece of framed art without having to prop up the back end to keep it flat. On the plus side, there’s a good amount of room for taller items.
There’s a ton of technology that comes with the Tucson this year as well, including a large suite of safety features like Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) w/ Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), High Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), and Rear Occupant Alert (ROA). When fully equipped, you also get Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Safe Exit Warning (SEW), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go, Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert (ROA), and Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA). I particularly like the cameras that let you view what’s in your blind spot when you flip your turn signal on.
Hyundai continues to bring their “A” game when it comes to both new models and redesigns. The 2022 Tucson is no exception, offering a fresh and dramatic new look that stands out from the crowd, along with a more powerful drivetrain, improved passenger and cargo space, and the latest in safety and convenience technology. Combined with an upscale and comfortable interior and fuel-efficient powertrain options, it’s definitely high on the test drive list for anyone in the market for a small SUV.
Source:: 95 Octane