2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
You’ll arrive in beautiful style, but slower than you might like
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
You could say the base model 2022 Tucson suffers from turbo lag. Except its 2.5 liter 4 cylinder motor doesn't have a turbo to blame the lag on. Instead, this optimistically named "Smartstream" engine generates delay without the benefit of a lagging turbo. The Limited weighs in at 3,605lb. Its engine produces 187hp. Divide the curb weight by the horsepower output and you come up with a somnolent power-to-weight ratio of 19.2 pounds for each horse to motivate.
In even the most mundane driving routines, the baseline Tucson is hard pressed to keep up with the flow of traffic, taking 8.8 seconds to reach 60mph from a stop, and 16.7 seconds to clear the standing start quarter mile at 85mph. My recommendation would be to skip the 187hp model in favor of either of the two hybrid versions (hybrid only and hybrid plug-in) Hyundai also offers. Both displace 1.6 liters, with horsepower ratings of 226hp and 261hp. Either choice boosts the redesigned 4th generation Tucson into a performance class more in keeping with its sparkling new looks.
Taking photos in muted sunlight made me aware of the complexity of the Tucson's exquisitely revamped sheet metal. This SUV's exterior design completely outshines the competition from Nissan (Rogue), Toyota (RAV4) and Honda (CRV). Unlike the garish competition, the Tucson's gentle contours are deftly drawn and tightly constrained, with no unnecessary flourishes to muddy the palette. The eye-popping contours are the product of the Hyundai Global Design Center team led by Sang Yup Lee.
The 2022 Tucson has grown 6 inches in length over its predecessor. The extra room provided by this stretch gives rear seat passengers an extra 4 inches of legroom, and also made it possible for me to carry my bike inside the cabin. The utter simplicity of dropping the 60/40 folding split rear seat made stowing the bike an easy job thanks to the billiard table flat storage floor. A hidden compartment holding the space saver spare tire allows you to stow valuables out-of-sight when parked in high break-in territory (i.e. San Francisco).
The operating controls of the latest Tucson are a bit of a mixed bag. We appreciated the provision of such niceties as standard heated seats and steering wheel, items that European manufacturers wouldn't think of including in their base trim models. Although the flat faced, shiny black plastic dashboard includes well marked controls for HVAC and infotainment needs, we never got used to the controls for the 8-speed automatic transmission. The problem lies with the design of the center console, which arches from front to rear. This bowed surface makes the small gear buttons difficult to read. Adding to the confusion, "R" (Reverse) and "D" (Drive) are aligned not with "P" for Park, but with a "P" denoting parking brake. The "P" for Park button is displaced to the left of the other three. This arrangement needs a serious rethink, and we would love to see Hyundai substitute the gated T-handle shifter used on their new Santa Cruz pickup truck.
The Tucson acquits itself well in the handling department because Hyundai has not stinted on suspension design or tire size. The Tucson boasts fully independent underpinnings, with struts up front and multilinks in back. At each corner, beefy 235/55R19 Michelin Primacy A/S radials glue the Tucson to the pavement. Model-specific alloys rims with cross ribbed spokes bolt to 12.8 inch vented brake rotors up front and 12 inch rotors rear. Hyundai does a thorough job of equipping the Tucson with premium hard parts.
Most of the interior fitments look good and work well. We especially admired Hyundai's radio tuning system and its display of large digits to indicate station choice. However, we found the slightly rounded edges of the 10.25 inch digital instrument binnacle (containing the speedometer and tachometer) to be visually out of synch with the square space allotted to it. On the other hand, we loved the camera depiction of the adjacent lane that pops into view whenever you activate your turn signal. This image supersedes the tach face on the left or the speedo face on the right, providing pertinent visual information whenever you switch lanes.
If you're not in much of a hurry to reach your daily destination, the base motor version of the Tucson will suffice. But you'd be well advised to opt for one of the available hybrid models if you need more straight line punch than the Smartstream 2.5 liter engine is capable of providing.
2022 HYUNDAI TUCSON LIMITED AWD
ENGINE: 2.5 liter inline 4, DOHC 16-valve, aluminum block and head, port and direct fuel injection
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 24MPG City/29MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $37,454
HYPES: Great Exterior Redo
GRIPES: Leisurely Pace
STAR RATING: 8 Stars out of 10