2022 Hyundai Tucson front, driving

Hyundai’s all-new, fourth-generation Tucson SUV promises more creature comforts, power, room, and safety features than the mediocre model it replaces.

The boldly styled Tucson targets shortcomings with the current model, while adding an array of available upscale features. The new Tucson looks poised to better compete against sales leaders the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Hyundai hopes to attract shoppers with the Tucson’s bold new styling, sleek interior, and high-tech features. It’ll match the CR-V and RAV4 by offering a hybrid, but with a twist. Unlike most hybrid engines, this one is turbocharged. A plug-in hybrid powertrain will come later with a claimed electric range of 28 miles. Fuel economy promises a significant improvement over the unimpressive 22 mpg overall measured in the last Tucson we tested. But the powertrain story isn’t just about fuel economy; all powertrains offered will have more oomph.

The redesigned 2022 Tucson, along with a sporty N Line version, goes on sale in spring 2021. Here is what we know so far.

What it competes with: Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4.
What it looks like: An SUV pit bull pup with muscular haunches.
Powertrains: 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 8-speed automatic transmission; 227-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid engine with 6-speed automatic transmission; front- and all-wheel drive.
Price: $24,000 to $37,000 (estimated)
On sale: The regular Tucson and hybrid go on sale in spring 2021. The plug-in hybrid and N Line follow in summer 2021.

CR’s Take

Despite a midlife update, the outgoing Tucson struggled against newer competitors at its price. Rivals are more polished and fuel-efficient. Owners seemed to recognize the Tucson’s shortcomings, reporting below-average satisfaction in CR’s surveys. The good news is that the outgoing Tucson has room for improvement, and Hyundai has demonstrated that it knows how to make a desirable SUV, as exhibited by the Santa Fe and, more clearly, with the three-row Palisade.

The redesigned Tucson grows in size and gains significant infotainment and connected technology, such as smartphone integration and remote parking capability—features associated with more expensive models. Plus, it throws in some design flair.

Based on its promises and recent Hyundai models, we are optimistic that this new Tucson will improve over the previous model and be more competitive.  

Outside

2022 Hyundai Tucson rear

The Tucson grows almost 6 inches with the redesign. The wheelbase has been stretched about 3 inches. Hyundai says both passenger and cargo volume have increased. This should help Tucson catch up to other compact SUVs, which have started to dwarf the current model.

The styling is quite dramatic, with a chiseled body accented with angular surfaces. In an understated category, it will stand out.

Perhaps the most interesting element is the way the headlamps are integrated into the grille. When off, the headlamps are hidden. Turned on, they comprise multiple elements that give the SUV a rather unique appearance.

Lighting plays a role at the rear as well, with a horizontal tail lamp spanning the full width of the vehicle. The rear glass wiper is hidden under the spoiler, giving the back a clean look.

Inside

2022 Hyundai Tucson interior

The cabin has a minimalist feel. The digital instrument panel is a flat screen without an overhang to reduce sun glare. The center stack has two touch screens to replace the common array of buttons and knobs for climate controls. The vents on the passenger side are neatly integrated into the dashboard. An interesting addition to the climate system is the ability to give a real-time air pollution evaluation.

The Tucson uses push buttons for the gear selector, like the Sonata and Palisade. We’re not fond of these controls in general.

The infotainment system has wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Two phones can be paired at the same time, allowing the driver and passengers to trade off on streaming the music and other features. Bose provides an optional uplevel audio system. A wireless Qi charger is available.

Phones can be used as keys, and the owner can provide an electronic key to another driver remotely.

A Valet mode limits the personal information that a driver can access, and it can provide a report when the vehicle is returned.

Remote start via phone can add comfort because it allows the climate control to be adjusted from afar, including activating the heated and ventilated seats.

2022 Hyundai Tucson rear seat

What Drives It

The base Tucson uses a 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission. That means more power and more gears than the current model. The automaker estimates that the front-drive version with this powertrain will be rated at 28 mpg by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The hybrid powertrain is rather interesting. It is based around a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, and it puts out a combined 227 hp. Fuel economy is estimated to be around 35 mpg overall. The plug-in hybrid produces a combined 261 hp. Both hybrids use a lithium-ion polymer battery—a type known for flexibility in packaging. The plug-in has an electric-only range of 28 miles.

All-wheel-drive versions gain Mud, Sand, and Snow modes so that the driver can better address traction conditions.

Safety and Driver Assist Systems

A full roster of advanced safety and driver assist systems come standard on the Tucson. It has forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, driver monitoring, automatic high beams, and rear seat monitor. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic warning, and remote parking, an automated feature that allows the driver to summon the car from a distance to pull into or out of a parking spot while the car rolls without the driver are all optional. Like other Hyundais, the Tucson is available with a feature that can warn if the SUV senses a vehicle or bicycle approaching as a passenger attempts to open a door and exit into the traffic.

2021 Hyundai Tucson cargo section