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AUTO CASEY: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is efficiently stylish

The Tucson Hybrid impressed my family with its spirited performance, beautiful styling and array of technology.
Credit: Hyundai

INDIANAPOLIS — Almost every automaker offers a hybrid crossover, but many project an air of faux capability or can barely get out of their own way. Instead of copying either, Hyundai redesigned its 2022 Tucson Hybrid with sleek engaging styling, smooth driving, and a luxurious interior ready for all of your special people. It might be the ride all you consider family has been seeking.

Functional and Stylish

A car doesn’t need to be beautiful to be functional, but the Tucson proves one can be both. I especially like how daytime running lamps are integrated with outboard grille slats while LED headlamps are contained in small pods on either side of the grille. Side views are dominated by origami body sculpting that gives the sheetmetal crisp and complex style. Satin silver trim around the windows and rear taillamp fangs are especially fetching. Hybrid-specific 19” wheels complete the look.

The interior is even better where Mercedes-style flatscreens display gauges and control infotainment. Devices connect to the Bose audio system easily via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless charging. Front or rear, passengers enjoy ample legroom for long drives. And getting away is a joy with heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, dual-zone auto climate control, and a panoramic sunroof. There’s enough cargo space to easily swallow groceries, a stroller, or mountain bike with the rear seats folded. The push button gear selector is functional and stylish.

Quick and Efficient

I drove the Tucson back and forth between Broad Ripple and Speedway plus across Interstate 74 to have dinner at The Beef House in Covington, Indiana. No matter the road or condition, the hybrid powertrain was smooth and peppy. The system starts with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and adds Lithium-Polymer batteries for a combined 226 horsepower. All-wheel-drive is standard on hybrids to handle winter weather, but I’m also glad Hyundai gives the vehicle a proper six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy rates an impressive 37/36-MPG city/highway.

The chassis can feel a little jittery over broken city streets, but the four-wheel-independent suspension system enjoys curvy roads and smooth Interstates, keeping my family comfy during its travels. Steering is quick and firm, feeling nicely balanced. Flip through drive modes to configure the throttle, steering, and traction control for Snow, Smart, Sport, and Normal. Hyundai’s engineers did a good job of integrating the complicated hybrid system to feel natural and powerful underway.

Given the Tucson will carry friends and family in all conditions, safety was a priority. Adaptive cruise, lane centering steering, forward collision alert with auto brake, and lane keep assist are part of the deal. So are rear cross path detection, rear occupant alert (keeps kids safe in summer), and Hyundai’s safe exit assist that uses the blind spot warning system to prevent occupants from stepping into traffic.

Nice and Affordable

Even more so than the straight gas models, the Tucson Hybrid impressed my family with its spirited performance, beautiful styling and array of technology. My daughter especially liked the heated rear seats.

I’d like the affordable price that starts at $24,950 and rose to $38,730 as tested. Hybrid competitors include the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Crosstrek, and Nissan Rogue.

Storm Forward!

Casey Williams is former auto correspondent for WFYI and the Indianapolis Star plus a contributor to the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday Auto Page. He has reviewed vehicles and covered the auto industry for over 25 years. He lives with his family in Broad Ripple. E-mail him at AutoCasey@aol.com; check his reviews on YouTube at AutoCasey.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Five-passenger, AWD crossover
Powertrain: 1.6-L T4, Li-Polymer batteries
Output (combined): 226 hp
Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
Wheels f/r: 19”/19” alloy
Brakes f/r: regen disc/disc
Must-have features: Style, Efficiency
Fuel economy: 37/36 mpg city/hwy
Assembly: Ulsan, Korea
Base/as-tested price: $24,950/38,730

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