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2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid review: The new bench mark?

Hyundai wants their vehicles to check nearly every box. Since the debut of the current generation Sonata family, the Korean giant has succeeded in doing just that, giving you more than what you paid for. That continues with the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, which promises to give you nearly everything wrapped in a package aimed at getting a broad range of consumers. The latest generation is poised to go head-to-head against the best of its segment. Is there substance behind that new skin? Let’s find out.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid exterior

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid front 03
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

You’re not mistaking the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid for anything else. From the slick grille with integrated LED daytime running lights and the full-width LED taillights complete with sharp angles, this crossover stands out for its daring looks. Like the Elantra, the Tucson Hybrid has a lot of triangular shapes on its side, adding to its distinctiveness. You’ll have to look hard to note the Tucson Hybrid’s electrified nature. Other than a hybrid badge on the tailgate, this crossover doesn’t advertise its green and eco-friendly credentials. Most markets get a long-wheelbase version of the 2022 Tucson. The European market, Middle East, and certain countries in Africa and Latin America get a short-wheelbase model.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid interior

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid front seats 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

Clean and simple best describes the Tucson Hybrid’s interior. The waterfall-style center stack harmoniously blends technology and design. On certain trims, you also get a hoodless digital gauge cluster, which adds to the stylish yet minimalist look. Superb fit and finish exude a class-above feel, the physical controls are satisfying to use and harder bits are positioned away from places you touch often. The air vents on the dash are seamlessly integrated to create a clean, clutter-free look. Extra sound insulation would help quell wind noise at highway speeds because there’s a good amount of it coming from the A-pillars.

Five passengers and their gear fit comfortably inside the Tucson Hybrid. Thanks to the battery being placed under the rear seats, cabin intrusions are minimal. You still get the two-level cargo floor for extra flexibility and lots of small-item storage are scattered across the interior. The space you get is useful because of the flat load floor and clever packaging of hybrid powertrain components. Even with all seats up, the Tucson Hybrid possesses enough usable capacity that four people’s weekend bags fit with room to spare.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid tech features

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid dash 04
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

The Tucson is the first Hyundai to go heavy on haptic feedback controls for the center stack. You still have physical buttons for certain functions like the gear selector, front seat heating and ventilation, surround-view camera, heated steering wheel, and hill descent control. Everything else, however, is touch-sensitive, which can be distracting to use on the go because you can’t tell if you’re toggling the right function. At least it’s quick and submenus are kept to a minimum, meaning you won’t be digging around for whatever you need. The eight-speaker Bose audio system could be better because it’s not as immersive nor does it evenly distribute sound throughout the cabin. Additionally, the volume increments aren’t consistent; you need to turn it up to get to a nice level of immersion.

Hyundai’s Smart Sense driver assistance suite is one of the best because it doesn’t get overly intrusive. Corrections are done via subtle steering wheel inputs when you start drifting out of your lane. Upper trims get Highway Driving Assist, which bundles together adaptive cruise control, steering assist, lane centering, and traffic jam assist. It does a nice job following the vehicle ahead without tailgating them and reacts quickly but smoothly as traffic flow changes. The system actively keeps your set distance and will even brake if another vehicle cuts you off. Evasive steering assist works well, too, by gently braking to keep you from swiping a vehicle in the lane next to you.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid driving impressions

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid rear three quarters 02
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

If you’re looking for an electrified compact crossover that’s pleasant to drive, the Tucson Hybrid should be on your list. Thanks to the longer wheelbase and a well-tuned suspension, the Tucson Hybrid is comfortable yet confident. It handily absorbs road imperfections and keeps harsh impacts out of the cabin without getting floaty. Body roll is nicely controlled through turns, resulting in a crossover that doesn’t flop around. Thanks to accurate and nicely weighted steering, it’s easy to navigate through tight spaces and winding roads.

All Tucson Hybrids get AWD standard. Unlike the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, it uses a mechanical AWD system with a drive shaft connecting both axles instead of mounting a second electric motor in the rear. As a result, you don’t get the sensation that the front wheels are clawing for grip before the second electric motor activates during hard acceleration or low traction situations. Put your foot down and the crossover distributes power evenly between the front and rear wheels, giving you grip right away.

The Tucson Hybrid is also the one to get if you’re looking for more power. Featuring a 1.6-liter turbo-four coupled to an electric motor, a 1.49-kWh lithium-ion battery, and a six-speed automatic transmission, this crossover has 226 hp combined. Between the instant torque from the electric motor and the turbocharged engine’s broad torque curve and minimal turbo lag, the Tucson Hybrid moves effortlessly regardless of the drive mode you’re in. Put your foot down and you get immediate power for passing, merging, and climbing steep grades. The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly and quickly, giving the crossover a conventional driving feel. When the vehicle goes into EV mode or coasts, you can’t tell there’s a transitional gearbox because of how seamless the powertrain operates.

Hyundai employs the electric motor for more than just additional power and efficiency in the Tucson Hybrid. There’s some torque vectoring trickery going on, too. When taking turns, the electric motor slows down the front wheels to help the crossover turn in and improve grip and stability. Once you start exiting a corner, it sends more torque to the rear axle, allowing the vehicle to rotate out while minimizing understeer during spirited drives.

Braking feel tends to be hit or miss with electrified vehicles. Hyundai has done a great job making transitions from regenerative to mechanical braking imperceptible. You don’t know where the handoffs occur because the pedal feels natural and stopping power is delivered consistently and progressively. Unlike competitors like the Honda CR-V Hybrid, you can’t adjust the level of regenerative braking in the Tucson Hybrid. Coasting in EV mode can still recharge the battery by a good amount especially when driving downhill.

The EPA rates the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid at 37/36/37 mpg city/highway/combined for the SEL Convenience and Limited grades. Base Blue trims are the most efficient at 38 mpg across the board.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid pricing

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson starts at $30,235 for the base Blue trim. Our range-topping Limited test car, which came with the accessory floor mats, checked in at $38,704.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid final verdict

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid front three quarters 02
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

Hyundai made sure that its latest Tucson is the most appealing iteration to date. Considering that crossovers have essentially taken over as the de facto vehicle of choice, it’s a good move. The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid blends power, efficiency, comfort, and practicality. As a result, it’s now one of the most well-rounded vehicles in the compact crossover segment. Electrification only makes this vehicle more compelling because it further minimizes compromise. Hyundai’s strong value proposition is still part of the equation along with its long warranties. Even the range-topping Limited model manages to not break the $40,000 mark, meaning it undercuts some of its competitors. No, this latest Tucson isn’t perfect but it’s still a massive step forward and proof that Hyundai continues to punch above its weight.

At a glance

  • Year: 2022
  • Make: Hyundai
  • Model: Tucson Hybrid
  • Trim: Limited
  • Type: 4-door compact crossover
  • Combined output: 226 hp
  • MPG ratings (city/highway/combined): 37/36/37 (Blue trim: 38/38/38)
  • Pros: Spacious cabin, comfortable ride, strong powertrain
  • Cons: Finicky infotainment controls, wind noise at highway speeds, Bose audio system could be clearer
  • Base price: $30,235
  • Price as tested: $38,704
Written by Stefan Ogbac
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