2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid Review

The move to vehicle electrification is coming in steps with manufacturers such as Hyundai choosing hybrids as part of the transition. For 2022, the compact Hyundai Tucson crossover is all new.

This year, it gains standard and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle variants, models that blend power with efficiency to deliver a pleasing combination.

2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV Review

The Hyundai Tucson is a compact, two-row crossover utility vehicle with room for five. It has standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. We’ll mention standard pricing and certain other details about the gas-only model, but the focus of our review is on the PHEV model.

The 2022 Tucson is available in five grades: SE ($25,800), SEL ($27,100), N Line ($31,200), XRT ($31,850), and Limited ($35,300). Upgrading to all-wheel drive adds $1,500. The required freight charge comes in at $1,295. 

Hyundai also offers a conventional Tucson Hybrid. This model does not plug in. Instead, the battery pack draws power from the engine and the brake system. This hybrid comes in Blue ($29,750), SEL Convenience ($32,350), and Limited ($38,050) grades. 

As for the plug-in hybrid, this model comes in SEL ($35,400) and Limited ($43,200) grades. It features a larger battery pack than the standard hybrid and supplies 33 miles of all-electric range.

The standard Tucson comes with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. The hybrids are powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an electric motor.

Exterior Remarks

2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV side

This is the first year for the PHEV model as the Tucson line launches its fourth generation. There are no significant styling differences between gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models, with wheel choices and badging among the most obvious differences.

For 2022, the Tucson adopts the brand’s design language, marked by an oversized grille pressed in by stacked LED lights and headlamps. At the lower corners reside the fog lamps just above the air intake lip at the bottom.

The Tucson is exhibited by a flourish of profile character lines, body sculpting, and squared wheel wells. A sliver of chrome-like trim cascades from the roofline to the beltline for a dramatic touch.

The rear taillamps are represented by a quarter of downward-facing flags tied together by an LED bar that spans the entirety of the rear fascia. Overall, the look is sporty and upscale, a winning combination for this compact crossover. 

LED lights are included front and back, with upgraded daytime running lights supplied with the Limited. Heated side mirrors, 19-inch alloy wheels, and roof rails are standard. If you’re looking for a power liftgate, Hyundai makes one available with the Limited grade only. 

Interior Highlights

2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV seats

The 2022 Tucson is slightly larger and wider than before, resulting in a roomier cabin, especially for the second row. 

In the first row are supportive seats with decent upper and lower back as well as hip support. The second row features a 60/40 split fold-down bench seat that is very comfortable for two or three in a pinch.

The rear seatbacks also recline, a feature we like when on long trips. Behind the rear seat is 38.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the rear seat down and 74.8 cubic feet is available. Both numbers are near the top end of the segment.

The cabin features mostly soft-touch materials, some brightwork trim, and hard plastics. The center console is wrapped in piano black trim, a look that is pretty until the usual finger smudges appear.

Overall, the fit and finish are average; we believe that models such as the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester manage that better, however.

Cloth seats are standard, while leather seats come with the Limited model. Both grades have an 8-way power driver’s seat. The Limited adds an 8-way front passenger seat. 

Other features exclusive to the Limited include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and heated outboard rear seats.  Full power accessories, dual-zone climate control, and a tilt-and-telescopic steering column are standard.

Technology Features

2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV interior

Hyundai equips the Tucson PHEV with a standard 8-inch touchscreen display or a 10.25-inch display with the Limited grade. 

A 6-speaker audio system in the SEL grade yields an 8-speaker Bose package in the Limited. Other features include Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, and HD Radio. Both grades come with dual USB ports in the first row as well as the second row. 

The SEL model has a 4.2-inch LCD gauge cluster. Move up to the Limited and this model has a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. 

Safety Features

Hyundai supplies the Tucson PHEV with a long list of standard driver-assist safety equipment. 

Both trims have lane keeping assist, lane following assist, and driver attention warning. Adaptive cruise control with full stop and go is included.

Among the other features is forward collision avoidance with pedestrian and cyclist detection. Blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and safe exit warning are also standard.

Move up to the Limited grade and this one adds a blind-spot view monitor. Parking assistance with collision avoidance and distance warning is included. Other features at this level include a surround-view monitor and highway driving assist, the latter supplying steering inputs when activated.

Powertrain Choices

With the Tucson PHEV, Hyundai flipped the hybrid convention on its head to develop it. Instead of maximizing efficiency alone, Hyundai added a performance component thanks to utilizing a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

This combination delivers 261 horsepower under full throttle, easily making this PHEV the most powerful Tucson available. Moreover, it is one of the strongest models in the segment. Otherwise, the engine alone makes 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, reasonable numbers for the segment.

Motivating the Tucson PHEV is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Two electric motors are at work. The first one unites with the engine to turn the front wheels. The second motor spins the rear wheels, making the Tucson PHEV all-wheel drive. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Fuel mileage for the 2022 Tucson ranges from 26 to 29 mpg combined city and highway for the gas model to up to 38 mpg with the conventional hybrid. The plug-in model makes about 35 mpg, but with 33 miles of electric range, minimal gas usage is assured for most local trips.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid Specifications:  https://www.hyundaiusa.com/us/en/vehicles/tucson-plug-in-hybrid/compare-specs

Driving Highlights

2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV rear

Even without the electric motor kicking in, the Tucson PHEV delivers good acceleration. Press the throttle with vigor and the gas engine and electric motor combine to deliver excellent power.

Only the occasional lag was detected as the motor joined the engine to maximize performance. The automatic transmission complies without drama and that’s all we ask. 

Ease your foot from the pedal and the electric motor motivates this PHEV. It usually is at work at low speeds or when cruising around town. A light on the instrument panel signals when the electric mode is operating; it becomes a game of sorts to maximize its activity and keep the engine silent.

Light steering, responsive handling, and strong brakes are other features of note.

Hyundai Tucson PHEV Considerations

If you’re wanting to wade in on electric vehicles, a PHEV such as the Hyundai Tucson is a great place to start. You’ll enjoy elements of electric-only power while maintaining gas power when you need it.

Now if we can get policymakers to understand the benefits, we may slow the rush to full electrification.

Alternatives to the Hyundai Tucson include: Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Mazda CX-5.


Photos courtesy of Hyundai Motor America.

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