High Marks for Hyundai’s First Hybrid SUV
Great style, drives equally as well as it looks, and gets more than 37 mpg. Need we go on?
Hyundai’s first-ever hybrid SUV, the all-new 2022 Tucson Hybrid, delivers great fuel economy and seats five while hauling all their stuff, too. With three propulsion options and front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) options, Tucson shoppers will have choices–which is what Hyundai wants you to have.
A whole new face
The Tucson Hybrid looks like no other compact SUV, as it veers far from the sharp-angles on its closest competitors–the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. Hyundai calls it “Sensuous Sportiness.” Whatever it is, during our week driving the Tucson Hybrid through Southern California, it drew plenty of attention and comments.
The grille design has cleverly integrated LED daytime running lights and turn signals. The geometric design of dimensional rectangles is striking upon first glance, and doesn’t get old after repeated viewing. The LED headlights sit on the lower far edges of the fascia; it’d the sort of front end that, when the lights are on, makes you check it out one more time as you walk away.
Scanning the sides reveals interesting dimensional panels with a bold chrome accent strip above the windows. The panoramic sunroof sits between the aerodynamic roof rails, which lead to a small spoiler over the rear window. Bravo to Hyundai for cleanly tucking the rear wiper under the spoiler, a trick only a couple of other brands have adopted.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid comes in three trim levels–Blue, SEL and Limited. Clean Fleet Report drove the highly optioned Limited, painted in Phantom Black with body color door handles and power, heated exterior mirrors, gloss black pillars, silver-painted front and rear skid plates and a dark chrome grille. The privacy, solar and laminated acoustic glass add to the look and comfort of the Limited trim.
The distinctive rear end design is dominated by vertical LED tail lights and a connecting light strip, stretching from edge-to-edge on the power hands-free lift gate.
Clean, Refreshing Interior
The 2022 Tucson Hybrid is six inches longer than the outgoing model, with the interior benefiting from more leg room and space to spread out. Our black-on-black interior color scheme had soft touch materials, cloth inserts and gloss black and brushed aluminum accents accented by soothing ambient lighting. The front seats in the Limited, which is the top trim level, are eight-way power adjustable, leather-trimmed, heated and ventilated, with the driver getting lumbar and memory.
Lower display for better visibility
The second row access was excellent, with the comfortable, heated leather-trimmed seats offering ample head and leg room. The rear seats recline about nine inches, which was an unexpected range of motion, and rear passengers get air vents, map lights, dual USB ports and a center armrest with cup holders. Cargo space is generous with 38.8 cubic inches with the rear seat up, and 74.5 with the seats folded flat. Under the cargo area floor, which has two height levels, there is additional storage space.
The low slung dash has a 10.25-inch vertical color touchscreen, housing the navigation, rear view camera, and the eight-channel amp Bose premium audio system with eight speakers. This great sounding system has SiriusXM (three-month trial), AM/FM/HD radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Bluetooth, aux and dual USB ports complete the audio system. The tilt and telescoping four-spoke leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel has controls for audio, telephone and the adaptive cruise control. For ease-of-use and to avoid distracted driving, we would like to see both a channel sector and volume knob as part of the Bose system.
Other features are a 10.25-inch color LCD instrument cluster that includes easy-to-read gauges, a proximity key with push button start, voice-controlled dual automatic temperature control, heated and power side mirrors with turn signals, cargo area 12V charge port and wireless phone charging. The cabin was very quiet with Hyundai adding soundproof glass on the windshield and front door windows, carpet and floor mats and sound absorption materials.
MyHyundai technology includes the Hyundai Blue Link app, which provides access to vehicle systems including remote start, and the Digital Key, providing extra convenience and safety. The Homelink auto-dimming rear view mirror is an integrated transceiver (a transmitter and receiver) that can be programmed to activate radio frequency (RF) devices such as garage doors, estate/community gates, entry door locks, home/office lighting, security systems or other RF devices.
The AWD Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 180 horsepower (hp) and 195 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque. The 44.2 kilowatt (kW) electric motor contributes 59 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque for a total system output of 226 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. A 1.49 kW-hour/270-volt lithium-ion battery stores the energy.
Hitting high numbers
Hyundai’s AWD, HTRAC, is an electronically controlled AWD system with an active on-demand capability to seamlessly go between four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive. This system is designed to maximize both fuel economy and traction depending on the road conditions. There is a button to lock the center coupling, which sends 50-percent traction to the front and rear axles so in slippery conditions, it reduces or eliminates wheel spin and provides very good traction.
The shift-by-wire six-speed automatic with a torque converter is engaged by pushing buttons on the center console. It has a Shiftronic mode and paddle shifters. The Drive Mode Select helps you get the most performance and fuel efficiency from the hybrid system, offering choices of Smart, Normal, Sport and Custom. The system defaults to Normal when restarting the engine, so for the most performance opt for Sport, where the steering effort is increased and it adds responsiveness to the engine and transmission.
The torque comes on smoothly at a low 1,600 rpm, giving unexpected spirited acceleration with 0-60 times around 7.3 seconds. This is ample power to get the 3,752-pound Hyundai Tucson Hybrid AWD up to speed. The tow rating is 2,000 pounds with trailer brakes, 1,650 pounds without.
The EPA estimates fuel economy to be 37 mpg city/36 highway/37 combined. During our week in the Tucson Hybrid AWD we drove 463 miles through Southern California, averaging 38.1 mpg. On an 85-mile all-freeway run, we averaged 41.9 mpg, which moves the Tucson Hybrid AWD into the super fuel sipping category. Fuel economy numbers reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific and represent the reviewer’s driving experience using the dash gauge computer. Your numbers may differ.
If if that doesn’t hit your MPG targets, Tucson will soon have a plug-in hybrid version of the Tucson out that will offer the opportunity to drive solely on electricity locally.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid AWD has a solid and confident ride on its 19-inch wheels and 235/55 all-season Michelin Primacy tires. The ride is comfortable, but a bit firm at times, with only the harshest road imperfections transmitting sounds to the cabin. With that stiffer suspension, cornering was quite good and capable for a compact SUV. The power-assisted steering was direct and gave good road feedback. The ABS regenerative brakes (the system that puts electricity into the battery when coasting or stopping) had a progressive feel, producing straight and true stops.
Safety and Warranties
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid comes with an extensive list of standard safety features. They include six airbags (front, side impact and side air curtain with rollover sensors), rain sensing wipers, lane keep assist, blind spot detection, forward collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic avoidance assist, hill start assist, surround and blind view monitor with parking sensors, tire pressure monitoring system and electronic stability control. One very cool feature is that, when using the right or left turn signal, a camera comes on showing the blind side views of the Tucson, depending on which direction is being turned.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Tucson Hybrid their Top Safety Pick. The National Highway and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the Tucson Hybrid.
Room to haul
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid comes with these warranties:
Hybrid Systems – 10 years/100,000 miles
Powertrain – 10 years/100,000 miles
New Vehicle – Five years/60,000 miles
Complimentary Maintenance – Three years/36,000 miles
Roadside Assistance – Five years/Unlimited miles
Anti-perforation – Seven years/Unlimited miles
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid AWD comes in three trim levels, with these base prices that include the $1,225 freight charges.
Clean Fleet Report’s Tucson Hybrid Limited AWD, with $169 in options and the $1,225 freight and handling fee, had a final MSRP of $38,744.
Observations: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Limited AWD
Style, affordable & fuel economy. Any questions?
The attractive and interesting looks, affordable price and very efficient hybrid system send the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid AWD to the top of the list among compact SUVs.
Go into a Hyundai dealer for a lengthy test drive and see how this hybrid SUV fits your lifestyle.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Hyundai.
[See image gallery at cleanfleetreport.com] The Compact Crossover Competition—Rest of the List
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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