Insanely Cool-Looking 2022 Hyundai Tucson Can’t Mask Engine Shortcomings

Hyundai takes styling and exterior design seriously. After all, consumers buy vehicles that look good from every angle. And a slew of redesigns gives car buyers plenty to get excited about, including Hyundai’s 2022 lineup. The Hyundai Tucson is one such cool-looking contender.

With a confident stance and gleaming grille, the latest Tucson is already a popular buy. But consumers shouldn’t let charming good looks fool them. In fact, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson has some engine shortcomings that even the sleekest lines can’t hide.

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson offers a ‘dazzling’ exterior

A red metallic 2022 Hyundai Tucson compact SUV parked outside a glass building
2022 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai Motor America

The Tucson has been a best-seller for Hyundai. And the 2022 model is building on that existing popularity. In its recent review, Car and Driver said this crossover’s exterior design looks far better in person. The team went so far as to call the Tucson’s style “dazzling,” with its bright daytime running lights and unique grille’s mirror-like surfaces. 

In addition, CNET calls the 2022 Hyundai Tucson the automaker’s best version yet. Plus, it’s bigger this year, with an added 6.1 inches of length. Though a few inches may not sound overwhelming, they certainly lend to a more aggressive-looking exterior on this competent compact crossover.

But the Tucson’s performance specs tell another story

Sure, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson’s revolutionary design and crisp lines might catch your eye. But its performance specs tell another story, Car and Driver and CNET note. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine comes standard and isn’t nearly as impressive with its 187 hp. In 0-to-60 tests, the 2022 model is roughly 0.5 seconds slower than last year’s model. Rivals like the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V are much quicker off the line.

Some suggest the sluggish eight-speed transmission is to blame. Climbing moderate inclines engages downshifting with only a passenger or two onboard. Critics wonder if the Hyundai Tucson has the oomph to manage cargo or to tow within its 2000-pound rating. And though the exterior design inspires descriptions like “dazzling,” reviewers noting the crossover’s performance also use terms like “tepid” and “lackluster.”

The plug-in hybrid may provide answers

If you find yourself loving the 2022 Hyundai Tucson’s good looks but want more gusto under the hood, the plug-in hybrid version may be your best bet. The PHEV packs a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor making 261 hp, CNET reports.

Sweetening the deal is all-wheel drive. And consumers will see an improvement in fuel efficiency of 37 mpg combined instead of the 26 mpg for the gas-only model. Edmunds says consumers can achieve 32 miles of electric driving, too. Car and Driver points to the value proposition for the hybrid, sharing that even the highest trim, the Limited, costs less than a thousand dollars more than the gas model the team tested. Add in Hyundai’s reliability ratings and robust warranty coverage, and the 2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV might be the better buy.

Looking at the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, you might be inspired to grin back at its shiny, smiling grille. And you might feel compelled to run a hand along its sleek lines and chiseled panels. But those joy-inciting style details won’t mask the lackluster engine performance of the standard Tucson engine. For more power and hustle, consider the PHEV instead. 

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