Review update: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited Hybrid grabs attention despite underachieving fuel economy

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson compact crossover SUV stands out, but not always for the right reasons.

With a TCC Rating of 7.2 out of 10, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson bests the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue thanks to a roomy back seat, bold design, and smooth hybrid powertrain. But its real-world fuel economy disappoints, it has some design issues from certain angles, and Hyundai didn’t learn from other automaker’s touch-sensitive button mistakes.

I spent a week carting the kids to camp, hauling the family up north to the cottage, and testing cargo space to find where the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid hits and misses.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Hit and miss: You can’t miss it

From head on or behind, the Hyundai Tucson’s design is a knockout. It looks like a concept car that was put into production, which is actually true. The Hyundai Vision T concept previewed the latest Tucson’s design right down to the wild LED lighting back in 2019. The LED daytime running lights integrate into the chrome grille to basically disappear when the Tucson’s turned off. I dig the three-dimensional taillights because they add depth to the rear.

But the side view is a different story. The strong front fenders flow into a heavily creased body side that is pinched in various places. It almost appears as if the Hulk’s trying to transform from inside the Tucson. Multiple family members asked if my Tucson tester was dented in various spots to which I had to inform them, “No, that’s part of the design.” They were dumbfounded.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Hit: Smooth hybrid powertrain

The Tucson Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo-4 paired with an electric motor powering the rear axle for a total output of 226 hp. Unlike a Toyota RAV4, which uses a planetary-gear system, the Tucson Hybrid with standard all-wheel drive has a traditional 6-speed automatic transmission that executes smooth, judder-free shifts as it seamlessly transitions from all-electric to a gas/electric power mix and back.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Miss: Disappointing fuel economy

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Limited has EPA ratings of 37 mpg city, 36 highway, and 37 combined, which is significantly better than the base Tucson's ratings of 26/33/29. But those EPA ratings on paper failed to materialize consistently in the real world. Over the course of 128 miles of mixed suburban driving, the Tucson Hybrid Limited only averaged 32.4 mpg, according to the onboard trip computer. During a 437-mile road trip it averaged 30.9 mpg. Both figures fell far short of the EPA ratings. West Coast Editor Brian Wong has seen similar disappointing fuel economy results in the real world on the highway.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Hit: Comfortable and well packaged

The Tucson’s front seats are comfortable and supportive. I had zero complaints after three hours on the highway aside from the kids asking if we were there yet. But it’s the rear seat that’s the place to be in. Leg room is up to 41.3 inches, which is more leg room than up front, and even more notable is the reclining rear seatbacks. This reclining function adds more comfort for those seeking to take a nap during a road trip.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Miss: Noisy on the highway

While it’s comfortable enough for a highway roadtrip, the 2022 Tucson doesn’t have the best road manners. At highway speeds there’s a lot of wind noise that comes off the A-pillars and side mirrors. It comes off as far less refined than its larger sibling, the Santa Fe Hybrid.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Hit: Priced right

The 2022 Tucson Hybrid costs $30,235, but my Limited tester had a sticker price of $38,730 thanks to niceties such as a larger 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system (an 8.0-inch unit is standard), cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and Bose audio system along with a surround-view camera system. The pricing structure represents a reasonable $1,250 premium over the gas-only Tucson Limited. That’s a difference that can easily be made up with fuel savings in just a few years. Perhaps more importantly, the Hybrid model is more enjoyable to drive than the gas-only model, according to Wong.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Miss: Give us buttons and knobs

The dashboard of the Tucson looks great but it’s a pain to live with. The center of the dashboard features glossy black plastic that scratches easily, and every button for the infotainment and climate control system is touch sensitive. There isn’t even a volume knob for the radio outside of the toggle on the steering wheel, which is a mistake Honda and Ford corrected shortly after experimenting with this design misstep. Five days into my week with the Tucson and the entire center console was coated in dust from living life. Functionally it was fine, but when the sunlight hit the dashboard the center stack looked gross.

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited Hybrid is a sharp-looking, well-mannered, comfortable compact crossover that fails to deliver impressive fuel economy, but still makes more sense than its gas-only sibling.

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2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited Hybrid

Base price: $26,135
Price as tested: $38,730
Powertrain: 1.6-liter turbo-4 with an electric motor, 6-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive
EPA fuel economy: 37/36/37 mpg
The hits: Front and back look cool, smooth powertrain, comfortable interior, priced well
The misses: Noisy on highway, real-world fuel economy, creased body sides, touch-sensitive controls

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