2022 Hyundai Tucson First Look Review: The Future Is Now

First Look / 23 Comments

Hyundai went bold with its latest crossover.

The compact crossover segment is the hottest-selling class in the automotive industry these days, 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 bold exterior sheet metal, interior, and powertrain options. With gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid variants on offer, no compact crossover is safe from the new Tucson. Designers from competing brands will also be forced back to the drawing boards because the new Tucson's appearance is a game-changer inside and out.

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Forward-Thinking Exterior Design

The new Tucson looks unlike any previous Hyundai model, and no other crossover on the road today has a more futuristic design. Its headlights and LED daytime running lights are integrated into the grille, which boasts what Hyundai calls "kinetic jewel surfacing." Fun fact: those DRLs are only visible when illuminated. At the back, the quad LED taillights are connected via a lightbar and also features hidden DRLs, 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.

In the US, there will be standard and long-wheel-base versions. Hyundai says the latter is longer, wider, taller, and has a longer wheelbase than the outdoing Tuscon. For example, passenger volume increases by six cubic feet to 108.2 cubic feet, and cargo volume goes up by 7.7 cubic feet for a total of 38.7 cubic feet.

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.

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Futuristic Interior And Standard Safety

Inside the new Tucson, Hyundai kept the cabin looking futuristic with a new "Interspace" design theme. An eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes standard while a larger 10.25-inch display is also available. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. 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.

The 2022 Tucson also comes standard with Hyundai's SmartSense Safety suite, which includes features like forward collision-avoidance, lane-keeping assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, and rear occupant alert. A number of optional systems can be had as well, such as blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, safe exit warning, smart cruise control, and remote smart parking assist, aka Smart Park.

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What's Under The Hood?

Under the hood lies a new Smartstream 2.5-liter direct-injected gasoline engine with 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, and paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Hyundai estimates a combined fuel economy of 28 mpg with front-wheel-drive models, up from 25 mpg in the outgoing Tuscon. All-wheel-drive is also available and boasts an electronic variable torque split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles for better overall handling.

Those looking to cut fuel costs will find the 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine attractive, producing around 177 hp and 195 lb-ft. Combined with a 44.2 kW electric motor and 1.49 kWh battery pack, this powertrain offers an estimated 226 combined hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent through a six-speed automatic transmission. Compared to the 2.5-liter engine, Hyundai says the hybrid is a full 30 percent more fuel-efficient and offers over 500 miles of range between fill-ups.

Lastly, there's an optional plug-in hybrid powertrain that, while similar to the hybrid, includes a bigger 13.8 kWh battery with an estimated all-electric driving range of 28 miles and an estimated fuel economy exceeding 70 MPGe. Level 2 charging is possible in under 2 hours with a 7.2 kW onboard charger.

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Pricing And Competition

No pricing information is available for the 2022 Tucson, but Hyundai typically has the most affordable starting prices in the industry. For example, the outgoing model had a starting MSRP of $23,700. 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. The combustion-powered and hybrid 2022 models will go on sale in the US next spring, while the plug-in hybrid version is due in summer 2021. Also just announced, an N-Line version with a sportier flavor will arrive in late 2021.

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.

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