by Jared Rosenholtz
The compact crossover segment is the hottest-selling class in the automotive industry, with standouts like the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4, to name a few. Jumping off the page in this category is tricky, but Hyundai is ready to wow potential customers with its latest offering. The 2022 Hyundai Tucson arrives as the latest recipient of the company's Sensuous Sportiness design language.
Though it looks like a concept, the Tucson is ready to enter production and give the competition a run for their money. Everything is new, including the exterior sheetmatal, interior, and the powertrain options. With gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid variants on offer, no compact crossover is safe from the new Tucson.
The new Tucson looks unlike any previous Hyundai model, and no other crossover on the road has a more futuristic design. Its headlights are integrated into the grille, which boasts what Hyundai calls "kinetic jewel surfacing." At the back, the quad LED taillights are connected via a lightbar, giving the Tucson the appearance of a Cylon from Battlestar Gallactica. Hyundai heavily incorporated triangles into the Tucson's design, including the textured side profile with multiple creases and hard edges.
The new design may look dated in a decade's time, but as of right now, it looks modern and forward-thinking. Parked next to pretty much any other crossover in the compact segment, the 2022 Tucson will stand out.
Inside the new Tucson, Hyundai kept the cabin looking futuristic with a new "Interspace" design theme. An eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes standard with a larger 10.3-inch display also available. Below it sits a panel of touch-sensitive controls, but not a single physical button. There are a few buttons positioned on the center console to control the shifter and other vehicle functions, but the lack of a mechanical gear lever freed up the designers to incorporate plenty of storage space.
In front of the driver, a new steering wheel looks pretty unique boasting a two-tone silver and black finish. Instead of analog gauges, the driver views the speed and other information through a digital display, much like the ones found across the Hyundai lineup.
While the outgoing Tucson was only available with a gasoline engine, this new model will target new customers by offering three different powertrain options. The base offering is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine producing 190 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. For the more frugal-minded, the Tucson Hybrid links a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine to an electric motor, combining to produce 230 hp and 258 lb-ft.
Hyundai will also offer a plug-in hybrid version, though power and battery figures are not yet available. The Tucson PHEV will use the same drivetrain as the Hybrid but with a larger battery pack for increased EV driving range, so we doubt it will offer the levels of performance seen with the RAV4 Prime.
No pricing information is available for the 2022 Tucson, but Hyundai typically has the most affordable starting prices in the industry. However, the lack of a smaller base option like the one found in the previous Tucson could push this new model higher up the pricing ladder.
Hyundai has no shortage of competitors in this space, including the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Honda CR-V, Jeep Compass, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forrester, Toyota RAV4, and Volkswagen Tiguan. Standing out in this crowded field will be challenging, but the Tucson looks like it has what it takes.