I have a confession to make…
When the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid arrived for me to work with it, I was in the hospital due to an infection around my vertebrae that caused a lot of back pain and restricted mobility. I will not get into the experience, but I knew I needed help to keep the work flowing.
With help from the press fleet supplier, I had my videographer George Torline and my roommate Melodie Neff added as additional authorized drivers to keep the Tucson Hybrid from just sitting at the house while I was going through the healthcare system.
This review was not driven entirely by me – obviously. Yet, they both offered their perspectives on this popular new addition to the Hyundai lineup. To frame this article, I have done my best to capsulize their impressions from their drives behind the Tucson Hybrid’s wheel.
As I worked with the all-new 2022 Hyundai Tucson with the standard gasoline engine, I was curious how the combination of the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, electric motor/battery set, a six-speed automatic transmission, and standard all-wheel drive would work. George stated that the drivetrain was “very smooth for [the] transition between electrical and gas. When you roll from a stop, the first gear feels like it's just electric and then about 10 miles an hour, the motor kicks in, the gas motor.”
“I wish it had a little bit more throttle response in Eco,” said George, “I almost wish I had a ‘regular’ [drive setting] rather than just Eco.”
George continued, “The sound it makes when it's at low speed, like 25 MPH and below, is interesting, especially when you're accelerating. As I went by some geese, they didn't like it. So they ran, scurried away and then all took off. I waited for them to fly in front of me so they wouldn't drop [anything] on the car. Reverse has a cyborg sounding backup sound, is the best way I can describe it.”
It is worth noting that George has never driven a hybrid vehicle. Whereas I have driven dozens. I can point out that hybrid drivelines have improved over time and some vehicles are utilizing some additional sound emissions to ensure that pedestrians and other are aware that this normally silent vehicle is approaching them.
What Hyundai has done was to create a hybrid driveline that offers some performance while returning good fuel economy. I noticed that the Tucson Hybrid averaged around 27.6 MPG in their care. Normally, this vehicle would average in the mid-30s.
The interior received a lot of feedback from both George and Melodie. She loved the space and the driver’s seat, itself. George commented that he had no issues with the push-button transmission and the ergonomics of the center console to his driving position. George added that Tucson Hybrid Limited had a “luxury” feel to the entire cabin.
The instrument panel was where the most divergent feedback came from. George and Melodie loved the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. In particular and the Remote Blind Spot Monitors that would show you what’s along the side back rearward when you turn on the turn signals.
One of the issues with that screen was its position relative to the driver. George added that he wished that the instrument pinnacle was “a little bit higher to protrude above the dash, because the dash is just flat so that it feels like you have to really look down into the dash to see that information rather than having it up higher for your field of view.” Melodie had issues even reaching it from her driving position.
Both George and Melodie had some serious feedback about the controls on the center stack. For example, the haptic-feel controls that replaced traditional buttons and some of the settings on both the infotainment and climate control systems. They experienced several issues, such as volume control from the head unit, native navigation snafus, and climate control settings.
I will agree that the center stack is polarizing and difficult to work with. It would be easier for me to remedy these issues with available workarounds, such as using your smartphone as your navigation, using the steering wheel-mounted controls, and voice commands.
While the 2022 Tucson certainly shook up the segment, adding the hybrid driveline – along with the plug-in version – will help push Hyundai to the forefront. Yet, it can also be challenging to those who are familiar with driving other brands. Not just operational concerns, but in accepting the advanced design and engineering that has gone into this important vehicle for Hyundai.
For the record, the sticker price that came with our 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Limited tester was $38,854. You can get a Hybrid Blue model starting from $29,200 – the lowest priced of the three trims available with this driveline. The plug-in hybrid is only available in two trims, starting from $34,750. Choosing the plug-in hybrid will give you up to 33 miles of electric-only range.
Certainly, these impressions from George and Melodie made for some good feedback on the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. Having different perspectives help to frame some thoughts about this vehicle. Especially when we all have different approaches to the same vehicle.
It is certainly better than having snap opinions from people who have not driven it.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid may have pushed the envelope on how we should approach vehicles we use every day. No matter who you read, watch, or listen to, I always believe the consumer will make the ultimate decision to choose it as their own vehicle. That’s the way the industry will manage these tough market conditions.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Hyundai Motor America
All photos by George Torline