The Hyundai Tucson is a compact, five-passenger crossover utility vehicle. For 2022 it is completely new and gains a pair of hybrid variants. As such, the Tucson is better poised to battle it out against the tough competition, namely the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and the Honda CR-V. We reviewed the plug-in hybrid version in September. This time around, we will examine the gas-powered model. Although our focus is on the most recent version, we will mention the hybrids when context necessitates.
2023 Hyundai Tucson Overview
Hyundai sent us a 2022 model, but we’re now in the 2023 model year. Therefore, our pricing information covers the 2023s, which is available in five trims. To begin, the Tucson SE costs $26,450, followed by the $28,050 SEL. The XRT grade costs $33,275, while the N Line retails for nearly the same price at $33,325. The range-topping Limited edition will cost you $35,710.
Opt for all-wheel drive to any grade and that’s a $1,500 upcharge. Add another $1,295 for the destination charge. Pricing and other details about the hybrid models are offered in our earlier review.
We’ve seen Hyundai change its design language time and again. In the early 2010s, the company introduced its “fluidic sculpture,” an upscale expression with lots of curves and signature lines. A later version of the design language rolled out, somewhat easing the drama of the original. However, in both cases, the look clearly sets Hyundai apart from the pack. And that was what the company intended to show – Hyundai had arrived.
The SUVs took a somewhat different approach, based on the taller profiles of these vehicles. In recent years, however, the look transitioned to a more sophisticated grille design with diamond-shaped LED lights that mesh with the grille. Indeed, when the lights are off, it makes for a seamless appearance. With the lights on, the entire fascia takes on a fresh presence with not a small amount of elegance conveyed.
The diamond-shaped look extends to the wheel well lips, but we’re not sure it should have. The indentations are pronounced, even a bit odd, somewhat detracting from the appearance. Hyundai repeats the pattern on the rear fascia with the diffuser, which also does a clever job of masking the exhaust port.
Along the sides the drama is amplified as the profile features a blend of cut lines, sculpting, and a falling roofline accented with metallic trim pieces. The taillights, though, resemble pennants – a quartet bound by a narrow band of LED lights.
Beyond the LED lights, Hyundai equips the Tucson with 17-inch alloy wheels and remote keyless entry. Work your way up the grade range and such features as a power liftgate, roof side rails, and a power tilt-and-slide sunroof or panoramic sunroof come in. Choose the N Line and unique front and rear fascias, badging, and a special rear spoiler are featured.
Ample room for five is the Tucson’s calling card and we agree on this assessment. The cabin also dispenses with the exterior drama, delivering a more cohesive and refined look throughout.
A selection of soft-touch materials, gloss-black surround, and metallic trim pieces dominate the dashboard and door inlays. The cabin is ergonomically friendly with knurled knobs supplying a handsome style. The overall look seems nicer than anything else in the segment.
Cloth seats are standard, leather is available, with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and ambient lighting available on most grades. Choose the SEL trim and this one gains an 8-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar support, and heated front seats. Other features available include ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and alloy sport pedals. Special N Line sport combination seats supply flair and distinction.
On the safety front, Hyundai delivers a strong roster of standard driver-assist equipment. Every model comes with forward collision warning and pedestrian detection along with forward automatic emergency braking. Lane departure warning and lane keep assist are standard. Automatic high-beam headlights, drowsy driver monitoring, and a rear seat alert are also included.
The list of available features is also impressive and includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control, rear collision warning, front and rear parking sensors, and safe exit assist are also available. A surround-view parking camera system comes with blind-spot view. Lastly, the remote smart parking assist makes it possible to move the Tucson in and out of its parking space with the key fob alone. That’s right…no need to get behind the wheel…let the fob get it done.
The 2022 Tucson comes very well-equipped. It has a standard 8-inch touchscreen display and comes with a 6-speaker audio system. Other features include Bluetooth, HD Radio, a pair of USB ports, Android Auto, and wireless Apple CarPlay.
It doesn’t take much to upgrade this model to find a 10.25-inch touchscreen display along with a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel. Together, this duo combines an amazing and upscale look. An 8-speaker Bose audio system is available as is navigation, satellite radio, wireless charging, and two additional USB ports found on the second row.
The gas-only Hyundai Tucson offers one powertrain choice. This model comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. It works with an 8-speed automatic transmission to shuttle power to the front or all four wheels.
The 2023 Tucson earns 26/33/29 mpg city/highway combined with front-wheel drive. Choose all-wheel drive and this model makes 24/29/26 mpg. When properly equipped, the Tucson pulls up to 2,000 pounds.
We’d be remiss if we passed over the two other model choices – the conventional hybrid electric vehicle and the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Both are new for this generation.
The hybrids come with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The engine alone bangs out 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Separately, but also working in tandem with the gas engine under certain conditions is an electric motor. The motor develops 90 horsepower and 224 pound-feet of torque. Together, the output is robust – 261 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Power travels to all four wheels utilizing a 6-speed automatic transmission.
As such, the conventional hybrid earns 38/38/38 mpg city/highway/combined. The PHEV makes 35 mpg combined. With the EPA’s convoluted measuring standard, this model earns 80 MPGe along with up to 33 miles of all-electric range. With Level 2 charging the PHEV should take about two hours to fully charge.
What’s the Tucson’s weakest link? That would be the engine! Seriously, it is a surprise that the hybrids offer more power than the gas engine and they’re more efficient too. The 2.5-liter inline-four gets the job done, but we tested it after experiencing the hybrid.
The run-up to highway speed is simply average or adequate to what is expected. Even passing power is no better than normal. Compared to the turbo Ford Escape or even the Nissan Rogue with its tiny turbo-three, the power output is lacking.
Hyundai supplies the Tucson with lightly weighted steering along with a fair amount of feedback. Tackle sharper curves or turns, and there is plenty of body roll experienced. But we do praise the Tucson for delivering a satisfactorily comfortable ride with road abrasions not much more than a slight bump in the night.
Begin your search with the SEL and many of the features customers want are included with this grade. This means heated and ventilated front seats wrapped in leather are included. You’ll also enjoy a more comprehensive safety package containing adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go.
All in all, the Hyundai Tucson delivers. But after driving the conventional model, our eyes are on the hybrids as these offer more power and enhanced efficiency. That’s a winning formula from a brand that should not be easily dismissed.
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