Commanding styling, impressive tech and a hard push upmarket came first from the Palisade, then the Sonata, then the new Elantra. Now it’s the Tucson’s turn to shine, and with the compact crossover segment growing hotter by the minute, this is the new model that really counts the most.
Upon first glance, it’s clear that this new Tucson puts priority on design. The shape of the wheel wells is borrowed from the Lamborghini Countach, while absolutely aggressive flared fenders create a rakish silhouette that doesn’t rely on impractical amounts of tumblehome. Speaking of silhouette-enhancing elements, the chrome window trim adopts a hockey stick-shape that visually elongates the Tucson’s profile. Up front, Hyundai has done something very different with the headlights and grille. The lamp elements are both mirrored and integrated into the grille for an extremely distinctive light signature and a lamp-less look when the Tucson is turned off. The unorthodox lighting continues out back with a smoked full-width taillamp treatment that’s truly unlike anything in the segment. And instead of placing a chrome emblem on the hatch, Hyundai has integrated a flush-fitting glass emblem into the rear window while tucking the rear wiper up into the spoiler for a cleaner look. Overall it’s wild, but it definitely works.
Inside, the 2022 Tucson mixes a little bit of new tech and a little bit of old-school design. The dash top is completely flat, a look afforded by the use of a slim digital gauge cluster. Full-width air vents emphasize the horizontal design of the dash while also aiding the fitment of an advanced indirect ventilation system. How does it work? The Tucson’s air vents are capable of diffusing airflow to create what in theory should be a nearly draft-free climate control system. If this sounds familiar to car buffs, it’s because Volkswagen’s moonshot Phaeton flagship sedan had a similar setup. The centre stack features either an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen or an enormous 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, both of which offer a few new tricks and features. Hyundai says the new Tucson’s infotainment system will offer smart home integration and a neat calendar-to-navigation function that automatically sets navigation destinations based on the driver’s calendar event locations.
The 2022 Tucson offers three different powertrain choices with varying amounts of electrification. Starting with no battery power, the base engine is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that’s expected to make 190 horsepower and 182 lb.-ft. of torque. Step up to the hybrid and the Tucson gets a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a battery and motor combination that’s expected to crank out a combined 230 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. For shoppers looking for a compact crossover they can plug in, a plug-in hybrid Tucson with the same 1.6-litre turbo four as the hybrid will be available, although Hyundai is tight-lipped on potential power output and range. Hyundai is equally quiet on transmission options for the hybrid and PHEV models, although they have said that the gas-only model will come with an eight-speed automatic. The latest version of Hyundai’s H-Trac all-wheel-drive system is available to put power to all four wheels and it comes with up to seven drive modes.
With its interesting blend of style, tech and powertrain offerings, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson seems like it could be a big hit. Expect more information on trims, features and pricing closer to when it rolls into Canadian showrooms during the first half of 2021.