With the 2022 Tucson, Hyundai goes for the styling jugular. The new five-seat compact crossover SUV arrives in the U.S. next year, with the unstated goal of erasing tough rivals from shopping lists through the power of looks alone.
Built from dozens of complex origami folds, the Tucson comes to the U.S. in just one size, while a shorter version will also be sold in other countries.
The Tucson starts with a striking grille with puffy-jacket look that is flanked by columns of LED lighting that angle off into the fenders. The cut-and-creased fenders leave only a few square feet of flat body panels; the wheel wells wear just a little cladding and what’s there is almost lost in the chiseled side view. With a slight metallic spline woven into the roofline and LED taillights that resemble cleats, the 2022 Tucson has our full attention. We can’t wait to see it up close, and to see if the “‘Blade Runner’ meets Air Jordan” shape holds up to closer inspection.
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The Tucson’s interior hones down the hard bevels and drapes digital displays over the center stack in a waterfall of techno. There’s hardly any complex surfacing inside, other than the twin hoops that lower the dash and put distance between it and the front passengers. Some Tucsons will adopt a digital gauge cluster and a touchscreen for secondary controls; all of them will wave a banner for elegant and understated appeal that puts some premium and luxury cars in the penalty box.
Gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrains will motivate the 2022 Tucson. Base versions get the 190-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4, with 182 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic ships power to the front or to all four wheels. The latest version of Hyundai’s all-wheel-drive system adds Mud, Sand, and Snow modes to its existing Eco, Comfort, Smart, and Sport drive modes. The 2.5-liter gets an EPA-rated 26 mpg city, 33 highway, 29 combined. All-wheel-drive versions get 24/29/26 mpg.
A sporty N Line trim adds unique 19-inch wheels, black exterior trim pieces, panoramic sunroof, hands-free liftgate, leather and cloth seats, and other upgrades.
A 1.6-liter turbo-4 with a hybrid system delivers a net of 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A new plug-in hybrid model uses the same turbo-4 with a 6-speed automatic transmission but engine power is supplemented by a 13.8-kwh battery pack. It makes 261 hp, has a 32-mile electric range, gets an estimated 30 mpg when the juice runs out, and can tow 2,000 pounds. The Tucson hybrids get special hardware that may boost its directional stability and steering response when the road kinks or gets wet and slippery.
Hyundai promises better flexibility in the 2022 Tucson with second-row seats that will fold and flip to maximize cargo storage to its fullest potential of 38.7 cubic feet.
All Tucsons will come with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, smart parking assist, and automatic high beams. Available safety features will include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality and blind-spot braking intervention.
Base versions will get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Bose premium audio and automatic climate control will be offered.
With its twin 10.3-inch touchscreens and digital gauges, standard safety technology, and smartphone-as-car-key features, the 2022 Tucson arrives in U.S. showrooms in the first half of 2021.
The base SE model costs about $26,000, including destination, while the top Ultimate trim costs under $36,000. The Hybrid ranges from $30,000 to less than $39,000.