2022 Hyundai Tucson front, lights on

Hyundai has taken the wraps off the all-new, fourth-generation Tucson SUV that 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. Hyundai has not released fuel economy estimates, but even the base engine is certain to perform better than the disappointing 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. And Hyundai said there will be a higher-performance N-Line version in the future.

The all-new Tucson goes on sale in spring 2021. For now, information is limited, but 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 pitbull 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; front- and all-wheel drive.
Price: $24,000 to $37,000 (estimated)
On sale: The regular Tucson and hybrid go on sale in March 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. 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. 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. 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, like in the photo atop this article, 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 rather clean look.  

Inside

2022 Hyundai Tucson interior

The cabin has a minimalist feel. The digital instrument panel is a flat screen without a hood to reduce sun glare. The center stack has two touch screens to replace the common array of buttons and knobs for climate controls. Adding further to the simple appearance is how 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.

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.

Phones can be used as keys, and the owner can provide an electronic key to another driver remotely. The Tucson can pull itself into or out of a parking space, like the Sonata. A Valet mode limits the personal information that a driver can access, and it can provide a report when the vehicle is returned.  

What Drives It

The base Tucson uses a 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is more power and more gears than the current model.

The hybrid powertrain is rather interesting. It is based around a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, and it puts out a combined 227 hp.

Hyundai has not released fuel economy figures, nor the electric-only range for the plug-in hybrid.

It is adding Mud, Sand, and Snow modes on all-wheel-drive versions so that the driver can better address traction conditions.  

Safety and Driver Assist Systems

The Tucson offers a full roster of advanced safety and driver assist systems, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic warning. The Tucson will intervene when it senses a collision risk from changing lanes and backing up.

Like other Hyundais, it can warn if the SUV senses a vehicle or bicycle approaching as a passenger attempts to open a door and exit into the traffic. It also features a driver attention warning.  

2021 Hyundai Tucson back end showing tail lights