So you’re drawn to this new design – what Hyundai calls Parametric Dynamics – and now the all-new 2022 Tucson is on your shopping list.  But which one do you choose?  The gas model?  Sporty N Line?  How about a plug-in? 

Or perhaps this new Hybrid is right for you which even comes standard with all-wheel drive.  




Hyundai sells more Tucsons than any other model and it’s not even close.  So it’s no wonder they’re expanding its offerings with a variant for everyone.  And this week I’m getting to know the gas-electric hybrid Tucson without the plug with a starting MSRP of $30,275 including destination. 



It’s available in 3 trim levels and as usual I’ve got the top-of-the-line model called the Limited.  That gets you exclusive standard features such as premium exterior design details like these funky daytime running lights integrated into the grille, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated leather seats with driver’s side memory, an 8-way power passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, the larger touchscreen with navigation, capacitive touch HVAC controls which can also be summoned with voice commands, smart park that allows you to use the key fob to pull the Tucson into and out of tight parking spots, wireless device charging, expanded ambient interior lighting and a host of driver assistance features including an around view monitor and blind view monitor a la Honda but better. 

That’s a lot of stuff to entice the Tucson Hybrid shopper into the Limited which stickers here for $38,854 with the only option being the floor mats.  




This Deep Sea paint takes on varied appearances depending on the lighting but if you’re a fan of hard creases, embellished grilles and dynamic wheel designs this Tucson is your jam.  It’s longer, wider and taller than the previous generation leading to considerably more passenger and cargo volume. 



So this is an excellent choice for families who don’t need a 3rd row.  These rear seats recline and come with 2 vents and 2 USB ports.  There’s not a major hump in the floor either so the middle seat isn’t torture. 




And then out back you’ve got the smart liftgate that doesn’t require a kicking motion to open – just you standing there, remote release levers for the rear seats and a dual level cargo floor that provides a little more room when needed.      




My complaints about this top trim Limited model are the same ones I’ve been echoing about other Hyundais of late: Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto only exist on lesser trims with the smaller touchscreen and the phone as a key function doesn’t work with Apple devices…2 little tidbits you might miss in the misleading TV spots. 



But on the positive side, this cabin is Lexus-level quiet, the convenience features are robust, Blue Link is excellent and it’s bigger in here than before so you can do more.  And with this hybrid, the driving range is over 500 miles.  




The powertrain pairs a hybrid-tuned 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, a hybrid-boosted 6-speed automatic transmission, an electric motor and lithium-ion polymer battery pack beneath the rear seats.  Combined system output of 258 pound-feet of torque is varied between the front and rear wheels to a greater degree than most of its competitors with a driver selectable lock mode for slippery conditions.  226 horsepower makes the hybrid considerably more powerful than the 187 horse gas-only model.

And there are 4 drive modes including Sport and Snow that fine tune the electronic controls for appropriate operation.  With 8.3” of ground clearance and Hyundai’s extensive off-road testing, the Tucson Hybrid feels like its adequately capable of some non-tarmac duties.  As for towing, every Tucson is rated at 2,000 pounds regardless of powertrain.          



37mpg trails the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 Hybrids by up to 4mpg but Hyundai’s spin is that the Tucson is more engaging to drive and therefore requires less of a hybrid sacrifice if you will.  And even though the drive is respectable I’m not really sure this Tucson moves the needle that much to make me feel like this is a big leap forward for the hybrid powertrain.  Eco is the default drive mode and though it makes more sense to me for it to be the Smart setting, it’s not an Eco mode that makes you want to scream…it’s actually very well balanced.  And then Sport mode kicks up the energy when you’re ready to play with the e-handling technology which acts as a torque vectoring system to create a greater sense of connectedness.  But more than anything it’s the smooth, quiet ride that stands out and not some sort of special handling agility.  The power delivery is on point too.    

You also get a fair amount of EV only motoring for a hybrid helping to achieve 37mpg city/36mpg highway.  If you opt for the more blur collar Tucson Hybrid Blue that number goes to 38mpg. For comparison, the gas model nets 26mpg.  




As for driver assistance, it should be noted that Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist, which works on federal interstates, is the best such form of smart cruise and lane following not named Super Cruise.  It’s a hands-on system but if you’re hands come off the wheel the Tucson will do the job for far longer than other systems.  



And in general, Hyundai’s electronics package and Blue Link app is top notch…if only they would give this 10” screen all of the benefits of the 8” screen.  




If you can embrace the polarizing design, the Tucson, in all of its various flavors, makes a compelling argument for purchase.    






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