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Is the 2022 Hyundai Tucson a Good SUV? Here Are 4 Things We Like and 4 We Don’t

hyundai-tucson-limited-awd-2022-02-exterior-front-red 2022 Hyundai Tucson | Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

To stand out in the popular and fiercely competitive compact SUV class, automakers are forced to keep upping their game with more choices and features. That’s generally good news for buyers, but some ideas are better than others. Hyundai has the choices part covered with the newly redesigned Tucson, offering front or all-wheel drive, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains as well as a total of nine trim levels to choose from. We evaluated both the gas-only 2022 Tucson and the 2022 Tucson Hybrid.

Related: 2022 Hyundai Tucson, Tucson Hybrid Review: A Touchy Subject

The Tucson is also strong on value, with a generous list of standard features, one of the better warranties in the business and consumer-friendly pricing.

Where things get weird is that Hyundai has eliminated conventional controls in favor of an all-touchscreen dash on upper trims of the Tucson.  We found the controls so annoying and distracting to use that we think the lower trims are the smarter choice; with simple knobs and buttons for many audio and climate functions, base models are easier and less frustrating to operate.

Electronic controls aside, there’s still plenty to like about the redesigned 2022 Hyundai Tucson. For Cars.com’s complete evaluation, click the related link above to read Kelsey Mays’ review. For a quick look at what’s good and what isn’t, read on for four things we like and four we don’t:

Things We Like

1. Value

hyundai-tucson-limited-awd-2022-01-angle-exterior-front-red 2022 Hyundai Tucson | Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

The Tucson starts at less than competitors including the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4, and buyers get a spacious interior that’s well made and pleasing to look at, with generous cargo room for the category. Also standard are an 8-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a decent list of safety and convenience features, and a long warranty.

2. Roomy Interior

hyundai-tucson-limited-awd-2022-19-backseat-interior 2022 Hyundai Tucson | Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

The interior has an open and airy feel aided by the optional panoramic moonroof available in both Tucson trims we tested. Front-seat passengers will find plenty of legroom, and visibility is good from the driver’s seat. Rear legroom is also good, although that moonroof eats into headroom. In Cars.com’s independent accounting of cargo space, as-tested volume bests competitors like the Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue and Subaru Forester.

3. Powertrain Choices

While we didn’t love either of the two drivetrains we tested, it’s nice to see a wide range of choices. Buyers can choose from a standard 187-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s good for an EPA-estimated 26-29 mpg overall depending on specification; a hybrid powertrain pairing a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a combined 226 hp and EPA-estimated rating of 37-38 mpg overall; or a plug-in hybrid matching the turbocharged engine with a more muscular battery for a total of 261 hp and 32 miles of range on all-electric power. The gas-only drivetrain works through an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid and PHEV drivetrains employ a six-speed automatic.

4. Safety

The Tucson earned the Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with good scores in all six crashworthiness categories. Its headlights and automatic emergency braking also scored well. Standard safety equipment includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, hands-on lane centering, a rear-seat reminder and a driver attention monitor. Options include stop-and-go adaptive cruise control.

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Things We Don’t Like

1. About Those Controls

hyundai-tucson-limited-awd-2022-13-center-stack-display-front-row-infotainment-system-interior 2022 Hyundai Tucson | Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

Traditional car-buying wisdom has it that spending more for a higher trim level gets you a nicer car with added features and benefits. Hyundai has turned that on its head with the 2022 Tucson: Lower trims have wireless Android Auto and CarPlay, along with physical knobs and buttons for most audio and climate functions. Higher trims lose the wireless integration and require a cable. Worse, they also ditch the physical controls for a touchscreen that operates virtually all audio and climate functions. The result is an infuriating and distracting interface that requires taking your eyes off the road for even minor adjustments.

2. Push-Button Shifter

All Tucson trims use a push-button shifter in place of a conventional setup for 2022. The downside is that this arrangement is less intuitive to use than a traditional shifter and more likely to require taking your eyes off the road to use. While not as much of an annoyance as the all-digital dash in higher Tucson trims, we prefer a normal shifter.

3. Moonroof Eats Into Headroom

Although the optional panoramic moonroof makes for an open and airy feel in the cabin, it eats into headroom — to the tune of about 2 inches in front and a half an inch in back. That might not be too much of an issue if the Tucson had a lot of excess headroom to begin with, but that’s not the case. Taller shoppers might want to skip the moonroof.

4. Powertrain Pitfalls

hyundai-tucson-limited-awd-2022-04-angle-exterior-rear-red 2022 Hyundai Tucson | Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

The six-speed automatic is programmed to maximize fuel economy in gasoline models, and the transmission is eager to upshift as a result. This often leaves the engine lugging and slow to respond, particularly during low-speed acceleration. At higher speeds, downshifts come easier and the powertrain feels more responsive, if on the noisy side when pushed.

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