How important is the 2022 Hyundai Tucson to the company?
Let’s face it, every new vehicle that goes through its debut phase is important to the bottom line and reputation of their respective brand and manufacturer. By introducing a new model that will be positioned for a specific segment, they are betting everything on it.
Yet, there is something different about the newest Tucson that makes it even more important than, say, the Palisade, Elantra, Kona, Sonata, etc. As SUVs become more important to the consumer base – in particular, the hotly contested segment the Tucson is in – this specific vehicle has a lot more riding on it.
What makes this Tucson stand out can be seen right off the bat. It looks different. It feels different. It stands out in a crowd. It is also larger than ever before in many ways. And, yes, it will disrupt the segment…
These superlatives drive what we want to tell you about the new 2022 Hyundai Tucson. However, we need to be more realistic.
For starters, the design of the 2022 Tucson looks much better in person than it does in the stock images from Hyundai. There is a three-dimensional quality that make these new design elements pop out more. Just when you think the grille was flat, it wasn’t. There is a curved shape that make this winged front end pop out more and make it friendlier to the eyes.
It all comes down to details. The driving lamps have the largest LED lighting area in the business. They are shaped as wings from the main grille area. The headlamp placement is subtle, as they are wedged at the edges of the front clip. For my Limited tester, the grille has a dark chrome finish, including the logo badge.
The body continues with a mix of sculpted lines, angles, and shapes. While the wheel arches are black plastic, the satin chrome strip define the upper edge of the side window design. These two elements add to the visual effect of the side profile and its fastback-like roofline. The liftgate culminates this disruptive design, with its pair of dual angular vertical taillights and logo placement on the rear glass.
My Limited tester adds a set of five-spoke 19-inch wheels which follow the form and function of the rest of the newly resized exterior. They complement the exterior design perfectly.
In all, this is a concept vehicle come to life. It is a vision of the future, for which the future is now. Hyundai gave the Tucson an exterior that has already snapped a few necks in its presence.
The design disruption continues inside. You have a cockpit-like instrument panel that has erased everything Hyundai have done in terms of interior design since before the Pony. It is beyond contemporary. The instrument cluster is a 10.25-inch screen that we have seen on several other Hyundai products – and it works perfectly with the Tucson.
The center stack is touch and voice capacitive for audio and climate functions. I wished there was a knob or a physical button on it. The center console functions are right at the driver, including the push-button transmission actuator, the drive model toggle, and other driving related controls. Though I wished the drive mode toggle was closer to this driver.
My apologies, readers, the nitpicking has begun…
In my Limited tester, the 10.25-inch infotainment screen is integrated into the center stack. It looks great and works very well. You do get the old-time “tube” tuner screen for all radio functions, as well as wireless charging and wiredsmartphone integration. I did get an explanation as to why you get a wired smartphone integration connection with the wider infotainment screen. I wished Hyundai would have poured everything into the Tucson in terms of these technologies.
A major plus to this Tucson is the eight-speaker Bose premium audio system. The sound is bespoke and sweet as it flies throughout the Tucson’s cabin.
The Limited’s perforated leather seating sets the tone for the level of luxury on this Tucson. The front seats offered some support and comfort. However, there are these plastic pieces below the headrest framed with a satin chrome strip on each front seat that really do not feel comfortable to me.
The rear seats are great for adults. They offer excellent leg and head room, with solid comfort. Cargo space starts with a sizeable 41.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Fold the rear seats down and you get 80.3 cubic feet – which is more spacious than any of its rivals in its segment.
Powering my Limited tester is a 187-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This is one of two power sources currently available on the 2022 Tucson – the other being a turbocharged hybrid driveline. For this tester, the 2.5-liter engine is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels.
This is a great driveline for the Tucson. Solid power coming from underneath the hood, translating into good passing and acceleration. The fuel economy is not bad, as I averaged 25.2 MPG in my care.
If there is one thing that will cement the deal with the 2022 Tucson, it would be its driving dynamics. The ride was fine – smooth on nicer stretches of road, works well to absorb rougher patches. While controlled, the Tucson tended to maneuver on the softer side. There was minimal lean and roll present through evasive maneuvers and the corners.
While exhibiting a tight turning radius, the steering felt a bit artificial. I had some road feel, but I would like a bit more. On-center feel was quite solid and kept in the lane quite well. Putting the Tucson into Sport mode did not weigh down the steering effort much. Braking was also quite good, turning in solid stops in normal and panic situations. Pedal feel was also solid.
In terms of safety, Hyundai loaded up the driver assistance and safety content on the 2022 Tucson. While Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection is standard across the lineup, my Limited tester adds Junction Turning Assist to that feature. This is an important piece to this feature, as a lot of collisions happen at intersections. Making a left turn safely is one thing; having someone else ruin your safe left turn can be costly. Hopefully, you will see this addition to the Forward Collision technology on more models soon enough – even down to the lower trim levels.
Add to the mix the fatigue-reducing Highway Driving Assist, utilizing the Smart Cruise Control system. With advanced looks comes a more advanced vehicle overall.
One more thing, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited comes with Remote Smart Park Assist – that's right, Smaht Pahk. You can park your car in the tightest spots around town with this neck-snapping SUV by using your key fob.
With that said, the sticker price of this 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD tester came to $37,454. You do get a lot of content on this vehicle, but also you are getting a lot more Tucson than before. With that said, pricing for the 2022 Tucson start at $24,950 with Hybrid models starting from $29,050.
The larger 2022 Tucson is now at par with its main rivals – Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. It also matches up with the newest contenders in this segment – the Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander. What Hyundai has done for the Tucson goes beyond all of these models combined. Case in point, it’s overall design.
You can look and feel the Tucson to absorb the new size and design. Where you will be won over is how well it is executed. The quality is better overall. The driving experience is better than some of its rivals. It will turn heads and engage other people to ask “what is it?”
The answer is simple: The 2022 Hyundai Tucson has the potential to become the leader of the hotly contested segment it now perfectly occupies. That is, if all of the supply chain issues that are affecting the industry are resolved in short order. This window of opportunity for market leadership rides on the consumer base embracing this superb new version of Hyundai’s bread-and-butter volume seller.
That is why the 2022 Hyundai Tucson is a very important vehicle for the company right now.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Hyundai Motor America
All photos by Randy Stern