Skip to main content

Smaller SUVs offer versatility and affordability, which is what makes them so appealing to consumers. You can get that with any compact, midsize, or large SUVs on the market, however, if you know which one to choose. MotorTrend helps you decide which one works for your situation by testing specific models and then reporting them to you, so you can see just how well they perform on the road. 

Here we’ll look at the compact SUVs the publication tested, and see which one the site reported was a good choice if you didn’t care about the driving aspect of it. Also, we’ll look at why the way it drives is questionable and if the site had any good things to say about that model.

Front angle view of silver 2023 Hyundai Tucson crossover SUV, highlighting most common problems reported by owners
2023 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai

Which compact SUVs did MotorTrend test?

According to MotorTrend, the publication tested seven compact SUVs, to see how well each performed, so consumers could get a better idea of which one to buy. Nissan’s Rogue came in first for its powerful powertrain, nice amount of features for the price, and the premium look of the interior. Following it was the Honda CR-V for its roomy interior, excellent ride, and center console offering tons of storage space. 

Also tested was the Kia Sportage, which offered plenty of features for a great price, and a refined transmission. For its ride and powerful engine, the Mazda CX-5 impressed the reviewers enough to land it in fourth place on the list. 

The 2023 Subaru Forester and the 2022 Toyota RAV4 were tested as well. Toyota’s compact SUV didn’t do as well as you would think, landing in the sixth spot due to its unpolished powertrain and loud interior. Subaru’s test vehicle did a little bit better than the RAV4 with its brand’s standard all-wheel drive and spacious interior. 

The remaining vehicle is the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, which came in dead last. MotorTrend states it didn’t have any problem deciding which vehicle would bring up the rear of the pack. Its reviewers even went so far as to say, “If you don’t care that much about driving, the Tucson will deliver.”

What’s the deal about driving the 2022 Hyundai Tucson?

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson came in last place specifically for the way it drives. The main culprit behind that is the powertrain. With a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood, this model generates only 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. This doesn’t give it much power to accelerate. In fact, it takes 9.3 seconds to go from 0 to 60, which is one of the worst among the vehicles tested. 

The Sportage runs on the same powertrain and underpinnings, but it managed to pass the test with its expertly tuned transmission, whereas the Tucson failed. MotorTrend reviewers felt that Hyundai’s 8-speed automatic was just too unrefined to save the sluggish engine. 

Another area that didn’t impress was the interior. It was average with none of the cool features seen with the Kia. Some of the controls in the Tucson were too hard to use. A few buttons were located too close to each other, so it made it difficult to press them while driving down the road. 

It’s hard to imagine that this model would get last place when Hyundai received praise and a MotorTrend Golden Calipers Trophy for the Ioniq 5. 

Was it all that bad for a compact SUV?

While the 2022 Hyundai Tucson failed to impress with its powertrain and interior, it was still a fairly good compact SUV. It’s the most affordable of the bunch, coming in with an as-tested price of $37,505 to start. It also has a roomy interior with a ventilated cabin, while offering one of the best values among the SUVs tested by MotorTrend. 

You can expect a large number of features as well. The vehicle the publication tested offered heated rear seats, Bose audio system, a wireless charger, four USB ports, and a panoramic roof. MotorTrend’s reviewers did like the center console design, reporting that it made accessing the center storage bin from the push-button shifter easy. 

While the Hyundai Tucson offers some decent features, an affordable price, and a roomy interior, it fails to impress MotorTrend reviewers with its powertrain. So, if you really don’t care too much about how well the compact SUV drives, as the publication states, this model would do you well. 


The Roomiest, Most Comfortable Compact SUVs for 2021