The fourth generation Hyundai Tucson is has arrived and quickly have amassed the streets with a distinct new look that is appealing to consumers. Hyundai didn't just sharpen their pencils on this one, they started with a fresh new box. The compact crossover segment is arguably the most popular segment on the road today with every single manufacturer having a player (or two) in the game. The Tucson is all-new inside and out with new powertrains, updated technology and a "sensuous sportiness" design while maintaining starting prices around $25,000.
The Tucson is available in seven trim levels known as SE, SEL, N Line, Limited, Hybrid Blue, Hybrid SEL Convenience, and Hybrid Limited. Beyond the trim levels, there are two powertrain options with one of those being a hybrid. The SE through Limited trim models all come standard with the same powertrain, a 2.5L GDI/MPI 4-cylinder that delivers 187 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2.5L models are available with front or all-wheel drive and pair to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Hybrid models pair a 44.2kW electric motor with a 1.6L turbo GDI DOHC 4-cylinder to deliver 226 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. Hybrid models all come standard with all-wheel drive and pair with a 6-speed automatic with shiftronic. Plug-in hybrid models utilize the same powertrain paired with a 66.9 kW electric motor to deliver 261 horsepower and 224 lb.-ft. of torque.
Standard models start at $25,350 for an SE FWD and can climb as high as $36,350 for a Limited AWD. Hybrid Blue models start at $29,200 and climb up to $37,500 for the Hybrid Limited. PHEV models start at $34,750 for an SEL and $42,550 for the Limited. Competition in the compact crossover segment includes vehicles like the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota RAV4, and Volkswagen Tiguan. After spending a week in an AWD Tucson Limited here's what stands out...
Exterior Style (+)
Starting with the exterior style, the Tucson a bold statement with what Hyundai describes as 'parametric dynamics' with kinetic, jewel-like surfaces. The style is likely love or hate amongst consumers and I'm on the love side. There are a lot of character lines in this one that capture the sunlight in a variety of ways. While it may not be for everyone, it does something really unique to the vehicle colors. Having brought home a Shimmering Silver Tucson, it was an interesting design study to see how all of the different edges/angles turned a silver vehicle into shiny prism in various lighting. The side profile features an elongated hood and a rounded rear c-pillar with a chrome accent piece that stretches across the windows into back c-pillar. Counter to the gem-like look is squared off wheel arch body cladding to give it a more rugged vibe. When paired with the optional higher trim 19-inch wheels, it conveys athleticism.
Wheel Designs (+)
With a bold new exterior look, the wheels really needed to match appropriately and Hyundai designers did a great job on all trim levels. Lower trim models come standard with one of two 17" designs depending on if it's a hybrid or not. Optional and standard on higher trim models are very sporty looking 19" alloys that compliment the exterior with brushed silver and black finishes that look very premium.
LED Lighting (+)
Hyundai's new ad campaign states "Question Everything" and that they did when it came to lighting up the new Tucson. All manufacturers have really stepped up their LED lighting signatures in recent years, but Hyundai decided to surprise and delight owners by hiding them. All Tucsons feature an innovative half-mirror type of daytime running lights embedded in the grille. When off, the front of the Tucson appears to have no headlights aside from the fog lights in the front fascia. When on, a strip of five LED lights illuminates adjacent to either a traditional silver grille or darkened chrome grille. Around back the Tucson LED lighting continues with a strip across the hatch and triangular taillights that carryover the theme from the front. Overall, there use of LED lighting is futuristic and modern making the Tucson a compact crossover that stands out.
Hopping inside, the overhaul continues with digital technology everywhere. The overall interior space is more open and cleaner with a vertical center console at the center and an available 10.25-inch full touch infotainment screen. The design is simple, modern, and materials are a step above, creating a space that feels more premium than its price point. Stepping up to the SEL trim level with Convenience Package or above also adds in a 10.25-inch hoodless digital cluster display. The digital cluster is customizable to the drivers' preferences and the entire digital layout changes with each drive mode selection. Also available on higher trim models is wireless charging and a push button gear selector in the center console. A traditional gear selector is still standard on SE and SEL models.
Digital Touchscreen (+/-)
Standard is an 8" touchscreen display with 6-speakers on all but Limited models. Limited models upgrade to a 10.25" touchscreen with onboard navigation. Standard on all models is wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play The 10.25" screen is fully digital with no volume knob or tuning knob to be found. The buttons are touch-capacitive rather than standard buttons that push in. It requires the user to get more acclimated with the locations and look at the screen to see what they are pressing. It's a different implementation that has a smooth surface, but also will require an extra microfiber cloth on hand to wipe off all of those finger prints.
Steering Wheel (+)
I really liked the design of the steering wheel as it had an open bottom and ample positions to place your hands while driving if you prefer something other than 10 and 2. It's not often commented on, but this one was comfortable and the steering wheel control switches were used often for audio volume and tuning.
Passenger Space (+)
Interior space is improved in the Tucson as well. Passenger volume is increased by 6-inches and cargo volume by 7.7-inches. Total cargo capacity is 38.7 cu. ft. behind the second row. This space is courtesy of the new Tucson's longer-wheelbase which gives it another advantage over competition. The seats were comfortable and provided ample support. Heated and ventilated seats are also offered which can further be controlled via Hyundai's remote start feature within the Blue Link App that allows your Tucson to be perfectly set when you get in on a cold or hot day. The second row of the Tucson was also very accommodating to adults and the available panoramic moonroof stretches from front to back making it one of the largest in the segment.
Standard Powertrain (+/-)
The driving dynamics on all Tucsons have been improved to make it more agile than previous models which results in better handling, a smoother ride, and more responsive steering. Around town the Tucson feels zippy with decent acceleration and fairly nimble handling. The transmission shifted smoothly and it offers a rather quiet ride. At highway speeds, the Tucson continues to offer a smooth ride but feels less agile and takes a little more effort in the passing lane. Regardless of speeds, the Tucson was very quiet and comfortable. It includes four driver-selectable drive modes called Normal, Sport, Smart, and Snow that all adjust the driving dynamics accordingly. It's an easy crossover that will be sufficient for most shoppers in this segment.
Hybrid Powertrain (+)
The hybrid models offer a bit more power with a 1.6L turbo GDI DOHC 4-cylinder paired with a 44.2kW electric motor with a to deliver 226 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. The hybrid offers quicker acceleration, standard HTRAC AWD system, and is notably zippier. The transitions between electric and gas were smooth regardless of which drive mode was being utilized. Handling is composed and the regenerative brakes work seamlessly. Fuel economy is better (as expected) with a combined EPA estimate of 37 MPG which is good for the segment but trails other compact hybrid crossovers. Overall, the Tucson hybrid offers a more engaging and controlled than non-hybrid models.
Standard Safety Features (+)
Like all Hyundai's, they come standard with a long list of safety and driver assist features that continue to add to their overall value proposition. Standard features include forward collision-avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, rear occupant alert intelligent speed assist, and lead vehicle departer alert. Other available features that come on higher trims or with one of the optional packages include blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross traffic alert, safe exit warning, smart cruise control, surround view monitor, blind-sport monitor, parking distance warning, and remote parking assist.
Remote Smart Parking Assist (+)
Remote parking assist, often referred to as smart park, it is a neat trick that is quite easy to use. While standing near the vehicle, you can start it up via the remote and once activated, you can control the car at the touch of a button by moving it forward or back as if it was a remote-control car without actually being in the driver seat. The feature is very user friendly and safe. Releasing the button immediately stops the Tucson.
The Tucson has grown up over the years and gives perennial leaders like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V a run for their money. There aren't many faults to find as it's well built with a lot of great technology and safety options for the segment and price points. The expansion of the lineup to include a hybrid and plug-in hybrid make it even more well-rounded. I also think the new N-Line version looks great with a darkened grill and 19" wheels, but would like to see it get a boost under the hood as well.
First Impression Summary:
Test Vehicle 1: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD
Exterior Color: Calypso Red
Interior Color: Gray Leather
Notable Options: None
MSRP as tested: $37,454 (With Delivery/Destination)
Test Vehicle 2: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited Hybrid AWD
Exterior Color: Shimmering Silver
Interior Color: Gray LeatherNotable Options: None
MSRP as tested: $38,854 (With Delivery/Destination)