The hot-selling crossover gets a futuristic design, an optional hybrid, and a posh interior.
UPDATE: Hyundai has provided powertrain, fuel economy, and interior dimensions for the 2022 Hyundai Tucson. This story has been revised accordingly.
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.
Gallery: 2022 Hyundai 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, which the company estimates will deliver 187 horsepower (139 kilowatts) and 178 pound-feet (241 newton-meters). An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the direct-injected base engine. In front-drive form, Hyundai expects a 28-mile-per-gallon combined rating, up from 25 in the current Tucson.
However, a 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid will bundle a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four with a 44.2-kilowatt electric motor and a 1.49-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Combined, the powertrain gives the electrified SUV 226 hp (169 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) according to Hyundai's estimates. 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 pretty expressive performance. The Tucson Hybrid will get a six-speed automatic (as on the Sonata) and standard all-wheel drive, with 30 percent better fuel economy than the conventional gas engine – 36 mpg combined is a safe bet.
Also on offer for 2022 will be a Tucson plug-in hybrid using the same turbo four, but mated to a larger 13.8-kWh battery and a 66.9-kW electric motor. Total power output rises to a healthy – though still estimated – 261 hp (195 kW). Torque is a question mark, but we'd expect it to eclipse 280 lb-ft (380 Nm). An on-board 7.2-kW, 240-volt charger replenishes the battery in about two hours, giving the Tucson PHEV an estimated electric range of 28 miles and estimated fuel economy of 70 MPGe.
If power is more important than efficiency, there will be a Tucson N Line that goes on sale alongside the standard Tucson. Hyundai hasn't copped to any specifics, but fingers crossed it comes with the same turbocharged 2.5-liter as the Sonata N Line, which makes a stout 290 hp (216 kW) and 311 lb-ft (422 Nm). An eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive will likely be standard.
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, and Hyundai's release on the market-specific Tucson didn't mention it, so such features likely won't arrive on our shores.
Also coming to the new SUV is an expanded list of drive-assist and active safety features. Front collision monitoring and prevention with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assistance, automatic high beams, driver attention warning, and rear seat alert will be standard on the 2022 Tucson, with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic monitoring, and adaptive cruise control optional.
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 108.5 inches between the axles, improving on the old Tuc’s 105.1-inch wheelbase. 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 and height brings the 2022 Tucson to 73.4 inches wide and 65.6 inches tall.
In spite of the minor dimensional increases, interior space goes up a fair amount. Creative packaging yields an additional 6.0 cubic feet of passenger room, which now totals 108.2 cubic feet. Behind the second row of seats, the 2022 gas and hybrid versions boast 38.7 cubic feet of cargo room, up 7.7 compared to 2021 (and up nearly four cubes over the larger Santa Fe crossover). Total cargo space rises to 73.8 cubic feet with the seats folded for the gas model and 73.3 cubic feet for the standard hybrid.
The plug-in hybrid model is admittedly a bit smaller inside, likely a packaging concession to the larger battery pack. Passenger space remains intact, but cargo space falls to 31.9 cubic feet with the seats up or 65.2 with the seats folded. That's still an improvement over the outgoing Tucson, however.
Folks who need to tow small trailers will be able to do so in the Tucson – maximum towing capacity is an estimated 2,000 pounds for a braked trailer or 1,650 pounds for one without brakes. That should be enough for a personal watercraft, a motorcycle, or a compact moving trailer, but obviously, heavy towing isn't in this small SUV's wheelhouse. Those who want a bit more capability should consider the forthcoming Santa Cruz pickup, which reportedly shares its platform with the Tucson.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson goes on sale in spring of 2021 in gasoline and hybrid forms, with the plug-in hybrid following in the summer. The new Tucson should cost a bit more than the current SUV, too. 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). At the top of the pricing structure will be the plug-in hybrid, which should start at $30,000-ish and rise to $37,000 fully loaded.