CHATHAM, Mass. – Hyundai offers the American sport-utility (SUV) buyer one of the most extensive array of choices from subcompact to three-row models. The anchor of its compact offerings, the Tucson, was completely redesigned for the 2022 model year and offered up in three major variants: internal combustion engine (ICE), gas-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid.
We sampled the ICE version last year and just completed a shortened time in the 2022 Tucson Limited PHEV AWD, which are a lot of words and letters indicating a top-of-the-line, comprehensively equipped vehicle.
The Tucson is roomy for five in an overall package which fits in tight urban and suburban spaces. And when the spots are even tighter, Hyundai’s remote Smart Parking Assist allows you to park and unpark the Tucson from outside the vehicle using the key fob (as first presented in the following Super Bowl ad for the Hyundai Sonata).
Plug-in hybrid powertrain means power and economy
The PHEV powertrain 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine produces an estimated 177 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The 66.9 kWh electric motor boosts the overall powertrain output to an estimated 261hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque.
The power flows through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Backing up the electric motor is a 13.8 kWh battery pack, yielding an estimated all-electric range (AER) of 33 miles and estimated fuel economy of over 80 MPGe. PHEV level-2 charging capability takes less than two hours to recharge the system, using a 7.2kW on-board charger.
The 33-mile electric range means most folks will spend very little time refilling their Tucson PHEV gas tanks as the average American travels less than 40 miles per day. When running on combined gas and electricity, the SUV returns well above 30 miles per gallon of fuel economy. (I saw 33 mpg in my limited time behind the wheel; the federal Environmental Protection Agency rates it at 35 mpg.)
Performance wise, the Tucson PHEV feels strong when pushing on the accelerator pedal, never wanting tor power when entering a highway, passing slower traffic, or maneuvering in tight spaces. Motor Trend recorded 0-60 miles per hour in 7.1 seconds, much quicker than the ICE version (9.3).
Hyundai SmartSense Safety Systems
Extensive and comprehensive sums up the advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) standard on the Tucson PHEV Limited AWD under the Hyundai SmartSense Safety Systems banner.
This list is long:
- Forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection
- Blind-spot collision avoidance assist
- Rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist
- Parking-collision avoidance assist/reverse
- Parking distance warning/frond & rear
- Surround-view monitor
- Blind-view monitor
- Lane-keep assist
- Lane-following assist
- Highway-driving assist
- Navigation-based smart cruise control with curve control
- High-beam assist
Additional standard safety, driver-enhancement systems include anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic-stability control with traction control, and downhill brake control.
Speaking of brakes, the Tucson system includes 12.8-inch ventilated discs up front and 12-inch solid ones in the rear.
Inside comfort, amenities on a premium level
Hyundai might be a mass-market brand, offering up terrific value in all categories, but these labels do not alter the fact the Limited version of their vehicles come with a complete roster of premium features and amenities.
The seats are leather covered with heating, ventilation power adjustment up front, heating in the second row. The overall climate is regulated by an automatic dual-zone system activated through an LED touch-screen layout (no physical buttons, but clearly labeled one on a large screen below the infotainment display).
A 10.25-inch touchscreen provides the heart of the infotainment system with standard navigation system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio and BOSE® Premium Audio System with eight speakers, digital eight channel amp (with custom equalization, Digital Signal Processing, and Dynamic Speed Compensation).
It is a comfortable interior with plenty of room for five for short trips and four for longer ones.
The Tucson PHEV is a total package
I liked the 2022 Tucson the first time I drove it last year and some time in the PHEV version just reinforced my feelings. This is a terrific compact SUV and in Limited trim comes with everything a buyer would want. At $44,640 (the lone option $195 floor mats and $1,245 for inland freight and handling) it represents a great value within the segment.