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Reviews First Drive: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Ultimate Hybrid

20:26  22 april  2021
20:26  22 april  2021 Source:   driving.ca

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a car parked in a parking lot: 2022 Hyundai Tucson © Provided by Driving.ca 2022 Hyundai Tucson

The evolution of the crossover is, to say the least, on a tear with one new model following another at an unprecedented rate. Hot on the heels of the revamped Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid comes the all-new 2022 Tucson. The rework touches every facet. From the look and slick cabin to three new powertrains, it has been re-engineered from the road up.

The Tucson’s style marks a radical departure — it’s called Parametric Dynamic design, whatever that actually means. Regardless, the striking LED daytime running lights meld into the grille until they light up, there are pronounced angular lines throughout the side body and, at the back, the sharp four-segment taillights complete a transform that shifts the look from verging on frumpy to a funky standout.

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Move inside, and the changes are no less radical. The first impression on the top-line Ultimate Hybrid comes from a free-standing 10.25-inch screen that displays the reconfigurable instrumentation. It is different because of the lack of a cowl — surprisingly, bright sunlight did not wash it out. Likewise, where most models get an eight-inch infotainment touch screen, the Ultimate earns a slick 10.25-incher. Both support Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a solid eight-speaker Bose sound system. The other key changes are the push-button shifter that replaces the previous lever and a different set of front vents that deliver defused, draft-free air.

One of the neat features is the ability to park the Tucson remotely. When the engine is running, simply hold the forward button on the key fob and the Tucson self-drives into the parking spot. Pushing the back button sees it reverse out. The next time some twerp parks so close you can’t open the driver’s door, it’s no longer a problem. Yes, it is sort of gimmicky, but it is also pretty cool.

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The safety equipment list includes all key features and then some. Aside from all the usual kit, including a drowsy-driver monitor, comes a small button on the right side of the steering wheel. It activates the Highway Driving Assist feature. It keeps the Tucson centred in its lane during normal driving and it works with the adaptive cruise control. When the cruise is activated, the Tucson has a semi-autonomous drive function.

Tucson’s sharp sheet metal wraps a body that’s longer, wider, taller and it now rides on a 2,755-millimetres wheelbase, which is up 85-mm. A stretch of this magnitude adds significantly more room for passengers and cargo alike — the rear seating accommodates taller riders easily in heated outboard seats. The cargo capacity also takes rises. There’s 1,095 litres of space with the seats up and 2,119L with the seats folded, which is as simple as a tug on a trunk-mounted lever. By way of reference, this is more room than the Santa Fe, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 and it’s about the same as the Honda CR-V.

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The Tucson arrives with three new powertrains. First is a 2.5-litre inline-four that makes 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. It drives the front or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive (AWD) system works seamlessly to deliver better grip across the board, so if you’re in the market, the $2,000 cost on the Preferred model is money well invested. All other models except the entry-level Essential come with AWD.

If there is a disappointment, it is the Tucson N Line; it’s just a cosmetic package, which means it uses this engine. Dropping Hyundai’s 2.5L turbo-four under the hood would bring 277 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. Now that’s an appetizing thought!

Next up is the Hybrid model tested. It uses a 1.6L turbo-four that makes 180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It works with an electric motor and a 1.49 kilowatt/hour lithium-ion polymer battery. The electric motor adds another 59 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, which ups the net output to 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid works with a six-speed automatic to drive all four wheels.

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This package boasts a posted average fuel economy of 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres while delivering a spirited 7.8 second run to 100 kilometres an hour. Both are very respectable numbers.

Later this year, a plug-in hybrid will land. It uses the same engine, but works a stronger electric motor that makes 90 hp and 224 lb-ft of torque. The end result is 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It gets its juice from a larger 13.8 kW/h battery that delivers around 50-km of electric-only driving. It promises to deliver an intriguing blend of power and economy.

In terms of the ride and handling, the suspension does a good job of keeping body roll under control without making things harsh on the highway — and this in spite of the 19-inch rims and 235/55 tires. The steering has good feel and feedback, and it turns in quickly. Part of the reason is the hybrid models feature Hyundai’s e-handling technology. Heading into a corner, the electric motor applies a braking force to the front wheels, which loads up the tires and sharpens the steering response; at the exit it applies torque to the rear axle, which delivers better acceleration out of the corner.

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Everything can be tweaked to suit. Eco mode is a bust, as it focuses on fuel economy way too much. In the Hybrid model, Smart mode is the right choice for the city, although the wish is for a true Normal mode — Smart still tends to slip into economy mode in city driving, which blunts performance. Sadly, Normal mode is only offered on the non-hybrid models. The best mode for the fun times is Sport. It not only adds more weight and feel to the steering, it changes the all-wheel-drive system’s operating characteristics — it sends more power rearward for more of the time, which ups the sportiness. There are also Snow, Sand and Mud terrain modes meaning the Tucson can handle some mild off-roading.

The latest Hyundai Tucson is sharper, it has a very slick cabin, a wealth of leading-edge technology and a powertrain to suit just about any customer. Better yet, its newfound size delivers the space and comfort needed to accommodate a growing family. If you are wondering how much of an impact the new Tucson will have on Santa Fe sales, you are not alone.

The 2022 Tucson starts at $27,699 for the front-drive Essential, the Preferred with all-wheel-drive comes in at $32,099. The Ultimate Hybrid tested here has a sticker of $41,499.

The Value Remains: Hyundai announces pricing for 2022 Tucson .
Next year’s Tucson, the compact crossover from Hyundai, will be difficult to lose in a parking lot given its alarming new face and distinctive taillight treatment. It’s pricing in Canada, however, is much more familiar. The least expensive 2022 Tucson, a front-wheel-drive Essential trim, will start just under the $30,000 mark — $29,846 to be exact. Note that every colour other than Crystal White will cost $200, pushing the machine over $30-grand. As expected, adding all-wheel-drive is a $2,000 proposition. There is no shortage of features even at this entry level, including wireless Apple CarPlay and lane-keeping assists.

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