The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is a major improvement over its predecessor with more aggressive styling, a luxurious interior and two electrified versions. The Tucson hybrid is already one of the best compact hybrid SUVs and now Hyundai has made it even better with the introduction of the Tucson Plug-in Hybrid.
The Tucson PHEV builds on the successes of the hybrid version, but thanks to its longer EV range and more power under the hood, it’s the version to get. The Tucson PHEV is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and an a 90 horsepower electric motor at the rear. The powertrain generates a combined 261 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful Tucson available. A six-speed automatic does a good job of finding the right gear without any drama and all that power is sent to all four wheels.
The plug-in hybrid system is powered by a 13.8-kilowatt-hour battery that gives it a 33 mile electric range. To compare, the Toyota RAV4 Prime has a 42 mile EV range and the Ford Escape PHEV has a 37 mile range. The EPA rates the Tucson PHEV at a combined rating of 80 mpge with a full battery and 35 mpg in hybrid mode.
With the battery charged, the Tucson PHEV accelerates with ease, although it’s not as zippy as the RAV4 Prime. Where the Tucson PHEV excels is with its driving dynamics. The suspension is soft, but also keeps body roll in check, more than the RAV4 Prime, which can get a bit clumsy on twisty roads. The Tucson PHEV feels more planted and agile than the RAV4 Prime.
Once the battery is depleted the Tucson turns into a hybrid. In hybrid mode there’s a bit less power, but it still packs enough of a punch to merge onto a highway or zoom from a stop. The Tucson also has a mechanical all-wheel drive system, which means that it can still send power to the rear wheels even when the battery has been depleted. This is a big difference from the RAV4 Prime, which uses an electric motor at the rear, which can’t be powered on if the battery runs out.
Inside the interior is nearly identical to the other Tucson models. It comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen, but a larger 10.25-inch display is optional. The smaller screen gets wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the larger screen makes you use a wire to connect your phone. The infotainment system has good graphics and reacts fast, but we do wish there was a physical volume knob. The touch sensitive buttons below the screen are also not super easy to use without taking your eyes off the road.
In front of the driver, there’s a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and the Limited trim level adds a blind-spot view monitor in the gauge cluster. The push button gear selector takes a bit to get used to. Overall the interior is spacious and comfortable with plenty of room in both rows. At the rear there’s 31.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which expands to 71.8 cubic feet with the seats folded.
On the safety front, the Tucson plug-in hybrid comes with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert and rear seat occupant alert. The top spec Limited version adds the Highway Drive Assist system, which adds lane centering with the adaptive cruise control.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV is only available in two trim levels: SEL and Limited. The pricing for the SEL version starts at $36,695, including destination. The Limited version starts at $44,495.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a plug-in hybrid, the Tucson PHEV is one of the best with its 33 mile EV range, comfortable interior and great driving dynamics.
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