2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited Hybrid AWD – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Bonanza Of Features For A Modest Upfront Investment
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
You won't see a spacier looking SUV than Hyundai's new fourth generation Tucson Limited. Pronounced fore and aft side creases meet amidships. These spears converge in the front doors of this four-door, five passenger wagon. From certain angles, the fluted protuberances look like factory provided door dings. Limited owners will appreciate the fact that Hyundai styled this SUV to Look Different, like when Apple forced us to Think Different. The new Tucson comes off looking really good because it doesn't imitate anything else on the road.
The visual refreshment continues inside the sleek cabin of this top echelon Limited model. Hyundai has done a remarkable job of making this affordable ($37,350 base price) SUV look like it costs twice what it does. For starters there's a surfeit of oyster gray perforated leather to enjoy in all 5 seating positions. An innovative swath of dark gray cloth differentiates the door panels and dash of the Limited. Finally, the Limited presents you with a pair of 10.25 inch digital screens. The horizontal one directly in front of the driver is a reconfigurable Digital Instrument Cluster. Each time you select a different Drive Mode it changes format, color and instrument choice. It's really fun to watch the screen graphics morph from sedate silver to fiery red when you scroll from "Snow" Mode to "Sport" Mode.
The second ten inch graphic display occupies most of dashboard central. This unit takes care of heating, ventilation, infotainment and navigation. While its graphics are crystal clear, its controls are muddied. Start with the sad fact that there are no knobs, switches or levers to control any of the myriad functions you need to oversee. This elimination of proper control apparatus forces you to take your eyes off the road, squint at a confusing sea of 8 pt. lettering, then take a hopeful stab at your command. Hyundai gives you no indentations to stabilize your fingers on this slippery piano black plastic maze. Nor is there any tactile surface differentiation, nor haptic assist. In this SUV you are literally driving blind when you need to change a setting, find a station, or summon navigation.
Fortunately, the rest of the driving experience almost compensates for the ergonomic shortcomings of the dash. At each corner of the chassis, you will discover a beefy 235/55R19 Michelin Primacy A/S mud and snow rated radial attached to a snazzy looking 19 inch alloy rim that is model specific to the Limited. All four of these Michelins are drive wheels thanks to Hyundai's HTRAC all-wheel-drive technology. The Tucson Hybrid's Smartstream 1.6 liter turbocharged inline 4 pumps out a healthy 226hp through an 8-speed automatic transmission equipped with paddle shifts. That's enough power to test the grip of the Michelins, and more than enough surge to make the Tucson Limited do the freeway merge sprint with power to spare. If you dial up Sport Mode, the steering feedback stiffens to assist you in accurate vehicle placement. The ride comfort deteriorates slightly in favor of precision suspension response, and transmission gearing recalibrates to use higher rpm ranges. All in all, the new Tucson is surprisingly fun to drive.
Part of its maneuverability owes to its slight exterior dimensions. This two row SUV is only 182 inches long, stands just 66 inches tall, and weighs a tidy 3,605 pounds. The rear split bench seats are a breeze to collapse or erect. I was curious to determine whether this compact SUV offered enough interior room to carry a bike inside the cabin. My mountain bike measures 166 inches total length. My tape measure indicated the Tucson offered a maximum interior storage length of 168 inches. So the bike should fit. Sure enough it did, so I spent a fun week driving the bike to favorite mountain bike spots thanks to the deceptively large interior of the Tucson.
The Limited offers a bonanza of features for a modest upfront investment. Many of the inclusions are unexpected in this price range, such as its Bose Premium Audio system, heated seats and heated steering wheel, plus a panoply of smart phone remote operations accessible through "MyHyundai App." So while you're having that second cup of coffee in your kitchen, you can remote start the Tucson, adjust its climate controls, or activate its heated and ventilated seats. Also use your phone to lock or unlock it, check fuel status, find your Tucson in a parking lot, or trace its theft with Stolen Vehicle Recovery Mode. The App does everything but drive your Tucson for you. Undoubtedly that feature is coming soon.
2022 HYUNDA TUCSON LIMITED HYBRID AWD
ENGINE: 1.6 liter inline 4, turbocharged plus electric motor
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 37MPG City/36MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $38,704
HYPES: 37 MPG Overall
GRIPES: Distracting Control Panel
STAR RATING: 8.5 Stars out of 10