By Malcom Gunn
The five-passenger-utility-vehicle class is one of the most popular and, with lessening interest in sedans, it’s highly competitive. Following a 2019 model-year updating for the Tucson, Hyundai has introduced a completely redesigned vehicle for 2022.
It’s an entirely different animal from a design perspective. The front end’s full-face grille is nothing short of imposing, as are the widened fenders with angular wheel openings. The roofline is no longer squared-off in back, but flows into the slanted rear window.
Not only is the Tucson’s bolder-looking, but the vehicle’s size has jumped from being the smallest in class to a point where it now one-ups most of the competition in key dimensions, including cargo and passenger capacity. Take that, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5.
The Tucson’s cabin is a model of clean-slate, uncluttered simplicity. The two round digital gauges are propped up behind the steering wheel and appear a bit like afterthoughts beside the large (up to 10.25 inches) and neatly integrated touch-screen. You won’t find many knobs or switches, and push-button controls that have replaced the traditional transmission shift lever.
The redesigned Tucson offers a range of powertrain choices, starting with 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that puts out a healthy 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque.
There are also two hybrid models. The first is a non-plug-in that’s equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine plus a 59-horsepower electric motor. The net output is 226 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
The plug-in hybrid’s 90-horsepower electric motor bumps net output to 261 horses, with no change in the peak torque rating. When fully charged, the system provides up to 45 kilometres of electric-only propulsion. Hyundai says the battery can be recharged in less than two hours when hooked up to a 240-volt Level 2 station.
Both electrified models get six-speed automatic transmissions while the gasoline-only model gets and eight-speed. Maximum towing capacity is rated at 910 kilograms for all variants.
Although the hybrids excel in operational thriftiness, there is some loss of passenger and cargo capacity due to battery placement.
The base front-wheel-drive model is rated at 8.2 l/100 km in combined city/highway driving, which decreases to 6.4 l/100 km for the hybrid.
Gasoline-only models can be ordered with all-wheel-drive (AWD), which has selectable Normal, Sport and Smart (economy) modes. AWD is standard with both hybrids, but the system comes with “e-handling.” When the Tucson is entering a turn, the electric motor applies light braking to the front wheels to increase tire contact (pressure) with the road surface. As the Tucson exits the turn, the motor adds torque to the rear axle to create a similar effect.
Base Tucson Essential pricing begins at $29,950, including destination charges. It comes reasonably well equipped, including forward collision avoidance, pedestrian/cyclist detection, lane-keeping assist and driver-attention warning.
The Preferred adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning plus rear cross-traffic alert, roof rails and heated front seats (power-operated for the driver).
The sportier N Line gets exclusive trim and wheels, navigation, Bose premium audio system, heated rear seats, panoramic sunroof, adjustable ambient interior lighting and front and rear parking assist. For the N Line, there is no increase in performance as it comes with the base 2.5-litre engine, transmission and suspension.
Optional for the Tucson is Remote Smart Park Assist that takes over the parking process when you wish to enter or exit a stall.
The base Tucson Luxury Hybrid AWD lists for $41,000 and comes with the Preferred trim content plus a few upgrades.
With a more substantial presence, both physically and stylistically, the 2022 Tucson becomes a greater force in a competitive segment and will attract a wider swath of utility and crossover buyers.
What you should know: 2022 Hyundai Tucson
Type: Front- /all-wheel-drive compact utility vehicle
Engines (h.p.): 2.5-litre I-4, (187)
1.6-litre I-4, turbocharged, with electric motor (226/261, plug-in)
Transmissions: Eight-speed automatic; six-speed automatic (hybrid)
Market position: The Tucson is one of many smaller-size five-passenger utility vehicles on the market, some with hybrid-power-system options, and all offering all-wheel-drive. It’s a competitive segment with constant updating, especially when it comes to technology.
Points: Revolutionary styling marks a clean break from previous Tucsons.
• Base four-cylinder engine makes sufficient power, with more available from the hybrid versions. • Minimalist-looking gauge pod is almost shocking in its simplicity. • Sporty N Line is surprisingly lacking performance upgrades. • Should be a market-share gainer for Hyundai.
Active Safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); adaptive cruise control (std.); front emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (std..); lane-departure warning (std.); pedestrian/cyclist detection (std.)
L/100 km (city/hwy): 9.1/7.1 (2.5, FWD)
Base price (incl. destination): $29,950.
Cargo space has increased to match or exceed that of the class leaders. PHOTO: HYUNDAI
The 2022 Tucson’s dash takes a whole new direction. There’s a shiny interface, digital gauges
popping out behind the steering wheel, and a small pad of buttons that replaces the traditional
transmission shift lever. PHOTO: HYUNDAI
Rear-seat room has never really been an issue for the Tucson, but the 2022 model has more of it,
and more is always better. PHOTO: HYUNDAI
With a bit of dust on the 2022 Tucson, you can easily see the two diagonal cut lines in the doors.
The dust also shows that you can take the Tucson off the asphalt, although this would likely be a better experience with the optional
all-wheel-drive. PHOTO: HYUNDAI
B Y C O M P A R I S O N
Base price: $30,200
Offered with a turbo I-3, turbo I-4 and in two hybrid versions.
Base price: $30,600
Base 203-h.p. I-4 engine. Hybrid makes 219 h.p. and the plug-in makes 302.
Base price: $31,100
Redesigned model is bigger and bolder looking. A 181-h.p. I-4 is standard.