The hot-selling crossover gets a futuristic design, an optional hybrid, and a posh interior.
The Hyundai Tucson is a crucial component of the automaker’s success, particularly since it’s the best selling crossover (and second-best-selling vehicle overall) that the company sells in the US. That’s why we’re more than a little surprised to see Hyundai take such massive risks in redesigning the 2022 Tucson, which boasts a sharp new design that takes the knife-edge looks of the 2021 Elantra to a new level.
The new Tucson’s advancements aren’t limited to styling and design, either. Like its compact-sedan sibling, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson will also come in both a hybrid and plug-in hybrid variant for the first time in the US, adding power without sacrificing efficiency. What’s more, an N Line trim will proliferate to the Tucson sometime in the future, joining the forthcoming Sonata and Elantra – as well as the current Elantra GT N Line and the Veloster N – to flesh out Hyundai’s sporting portfolio. The Hyundai Tucson goes on sale in Korea this month as a 2021 model, but it won’t arrive in the US until the middle of next year as a 2022.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Design: Sharply Chic
There won’t be any confusing the 2022 Tucson with its predecessor thanks to company-supplied descriptors like “parametric dynamics” and “kinetic jewel surface details.” Whatever the wording, the front grille receives an unusual triangular texture that’s mirrored right to left, taking some clear inspiration from the Elantra and Sonata. But unlike the sedans, the Tucson’s headlights are integrated into the grille opening, using LED elements camouflaged into the front end when not illuminated. Hyundai doesn’t have images of the vehicle with the lights off, but we think it must look rather aggressive when parked.
The side profile betrays clear Elantra intentions, with irregular rhombus and triangle shapes peppered throughout. There’s lots of positive and negative space as well, with bulging front and rear fenders and a long, jagged character line that juts out above the inset lower doors. The angular wheel arches and rocker panel appear in crossover-chic black plastic, all notches and creases. Meanwhile, the long and relatively flat roof gets done up in contrasting black, with an arching piece of chrome trim making the Tucson look lower and more rakish than it actually is.
Most prominent on the 2022 Tucson’s hindquarters are a set of blade-like taillights that might as well have been inspired by a farm plow. Suspended from a full-width LED bar, the quad taillights get broken down further by way of tiny, triangular elements that disappear when not illuminated. Lower rear bumper trim gets a unique diamond texture that’s seemingly hidden behind a faux rear skid plate. Hyundai cleaned up the appearance of the 2022 Tucson by hiding the rear window wiper under the roof spoiler, controversially moving the brand’s oval H badge up to the window glass.
Conventionally attractive the new Tucson is not, but there’s no denying its presence. Hyundai says the design emphasizes the SUV’s distinct identity in a crowded segment, and there’s no denying that logic – no one will confuse this for anything but a Tucson.
What’s more, the small crossover also stands out from other Hyundai models, too. It shares some design themes with the Elantra, but the avant-garde Tucson looks nothing like the graceful Palisade and Santa Fe or the spunky Kona and Venue. To be honest, we really dig the bold, parallel-universe styling of the 2022 Tucson.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Interior: Modern Digs
The interior of the 2022 Tucson takes a slightly less aggressive tack, though it’s still clearly a modern Hyundai. The driver sits behind a tiller-shaped steering wheel, not unlike that of the Sonata, and two strips of silver trim surround both the driver and front passenger spaces, giving the cabin a twin-cockpit appearance. A flat dashboard sits atop a lower dash that curves down and away from the passengers, looking airy and open and likely alleviating claustrophobia; we’ll have to sit in it to verify that impression.
The Tucson also gets modernized significantly by way of a digital instrument cluster that sticks up from the dashboard rather than resting in a hooded binnacle. Another gee-whiz feature is an available dual-screen infotainment system that offers a 10.3-inch display stacked atop a climate control panel with absolutely no physical buttons. The standard infotainment system is an 8.0-inch screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and two-device Bluetooth connectivity.
Consider us skeptical on that upgraded flat-panel setup, because capacitive-touch controls are more distracting and harder to use while driving than conventional knobs and switches. Nevertheless, the digital instrument cluster and screen-heavy center stack give the SUV’s new interior an attractive, contemporary appearance.
Other interior enhancements include car-to-home communication that can control smart appliances and lights while on the road, which would be useful when returning home on a dark night or a humid summer day, for example. Also new for 2022 is an available air quality monitoring system that keeps track of exterior pollution levels using a fine-dust sensor. It also tracks interior air quality and purifies the cabin as needed, while a lower-moisture evaporator helps keep the HVAC internals odor-free. Hyundai hasn’t specifically confirmed if the car-to-home and air purification features will come to the US, but we think they will.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Engines: Power Of Choice
The standard engine in the 2022 Tucson will be Hyundai’s 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder delivering an estimated 190 horsepower (142 kilowatts) and 182 pound-feet (260 newton-meters). An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the direct-injected base engine.
However, a 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid will bundle a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four with an unspecified electric powertrain, giving the electrified SUV an estimated 230 hp (172 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm). That’s quite a bit more than the 192 ponies found in the Sonata Hybrid or the 139 of the Elantra Hybrid, which should give the Tucson some pretty expressive performance. It’s not clear what gearbox the hybrid crossover will use, but six-speed automatic (as on the Sonata) is a decent bet. Also on offer for 2022 will be a Tucson plug-in hybrid using the same turbo four, with range and battery specifics still unknown.
Predictably, the Tucson will get both front-wheel drive and HTRAC all-wheel drive, and the latter has reportedly been improved with more driving modes in some markets. Building on the outgoing Tucson’s Eco, Comfort, Smart, and Sport settings, the 2022 model adds Mud, Sand, and Snow. The expanded drive selector hasn’t been confirmed for the US, but it’d be a surprise not to see it show up on the roster given the Tucson’s importance to American dealers.
Also coming to the new SUV is an expanded list of drive-assist and active safety features. It’s not clear yet which will be standard or optional, but front collision monitoring and prevention with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assistance, blind spot monitoring, and Hyundai Highway Driving Assist will be available on the 2022 Tucson. Since the outgoing model offers front collision prevention technology as an option, we’d expect the new one to make it standard.
2022 Hyundai Tucson Specs: The Nitty Gritty
The 2022 SUV is only a few notches on the ruler bigger than its predecessor in every metric. The new Tucson measures 105.5 inches between the axles, improving on the old Tuc’s 105.1-inch wheelbase only marginally. Ditto the new model’s 177.2-inch overall length, up 0.8-inch over the 2021 Tucson. And a 0.6-inch increase in width brings the 2022 Tucson to 73.4 inches. A 65.0-inch height is the smallest increase, just 0.2-inch above its predecessor.
In spite of the minor dimensional increases, interior space goes up a fair amount. Hyundai only copped to cargo volume specifics, but the 2022 model boasts 38.7 cubic feet, up 7.7 compared to 2021 (and up nearly four cubes over the larger Santa Fe crossover). Those who want even more room should consider the forthcoming Santa Cruz pickup, which reportedly shares its platform with the Tucson.
On sale in the first half of next year as a 2022 model, the Hyundai Tucson should cost a bit more than the current SUV. For the gas-only powertrain, expect a base price of about $24,000, with top-rung models demanding $33,000 or so. HTRAC all-wheel drive should add about $1,500. Meanwhile, the Tucson hybrid should range between $27,000 and $35,000, depending on trim (add another $1,500 if you want four driven wheels).