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Tucson With a Twist: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Review

Last year, I spent a memorable week with the newly launched Hyundai Tucson Limited and at the end of my review, I deemed it a “brilliant offering”. Now, a Hybrid version has been added to the fold and so the question is whether it can attract consumers away from the lure of pure petrol. Let’s see!

When the new Hyundai Tucson went on sale last year, it signified a huge period of growth for the Tucson nameplate. Stylistically, the new car was a complete departure from the older models with the technology taking a significant step up as well. It brought Hyundai to the forefront of the segment.

Three quarters zoomed out view of a 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid in green

In a broad sense, the addition of the hybrid variant hasn’t changed any of that but in fact made the Tucson an even more compelling offering. You can have it in diesel, petrol or as a petrol hybrid and there’s no other competitor that can match this variety. However, adding this third variant hasn’t really changed the cosmetic look of the car at all. The sharp lines and distinctive fascia remain.

Though, I did find myself longing for the luxury trimmings of the Limited model. I do not have an eye for style but even I could see the Tucson looks so much sharper with a gloss black grille, LED headlights, roof rails, tinted windows and some slightly larger wheels. If you are looking for that wow factor then the Tucson is a great place to start but make sure you tick all those boxes, they are worth it!

Rear three quarters view of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid in green with a backdrop of nature

The story is the same at the rear where the addition of the hybrid badge can’t offset the ‘cool factor’ that came with the LED light bar, chrome exhausts and privacy glass available on the Limited. Though, the Tucson is still an undeniably sharp looking vehicle. Feast your eyes on those distinctive lines which reflect light differently in various situations.

Granted, my review car was the base spec hybrid version but it’s hard to get used to not having all of those little luxuries from the Limited petrol which isn’t too far away in price either. On the inside, the theme is similar. Soft touch materials are used sparsely with the upholstery being cloth as well!

However, the use of piano black plastic is pretty liberal throughout the cabin. It attracts fingerprints and dust like nothing else but it does at least look premium. The build reflects the same feeling of quality with all the panels and switchgear free of rattles or squeaks.

Gauge cluster on the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Looking down the instrument cluster and you are once again reminded of the car’s trim level. There’s only a tiny central screen that is customizable in nature, I had it on the energy flow monitor permanently. Information is otherwise provided through an analogue medium but I’m still a big fan of traditional dials as opposed to screens. And the presentation is very clean, though it may have helped to switch the fuel level and charge level gauges around.

Front view of the headlights on the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

The driving experience offered by the Tucson Hybrid brings a few surprises too, right from the ignition. Starting the car is via a traditional key rather than a keyfob thing! Indeed, that was a surprise as was the handling. For a mid size 5 seater SUV, the Tucson carries itself extremely well when the road gets twisty. The combined power of 169kW and 350Nm offering a very engaging drive when needed.

Switching between pure EV, hybrid and petrol modes is seamless with the car doing all the hard yards for you. Sport mode does offer a bias towards petrol but otherwise eco manages the efficiency. Speaking of which, I achieved around 6.5l/100 km on my drives while the factory rating is 4.9l/100km. I am known to have a bit of a heavy right hoof though so make of that what you will!

Side view of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid in green with a backdrop of nature

The Verdict

At a basic level, this Tucson will satisfy the needs of buyers looking for that ‘hybrid’ keyword. It’s practical, has a decent level of technology and is efficient. However, it lacked a lot for a car priced at $56,990 (minus the government rebate). Soft touch materials being amiss, slow BT system etc certainly hampered its score. However, it’s an extremely good platform to work off and that is why I recommend the ‘Elite’ trim for a worthwhile experience. For $61,990, you can have a car that’s kind on fuel and on comfort!

2022 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Hybrid 2WD: 3.5/5

Thanks for reading! For more Hyundai news and reviews, visit Tarmac Life.

Car courtesy of Hyundai Motors New Zealand, words and photos by Matthew D’Souza.

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