Hyundai Tucson 2022 review: Long-term Part 5 finding helpful tech features – Highlander N Line diesel AWD

From phones to fridges, buying anything new in 2022 means you have to face the inevitable questions of “how much tech do you want to have?”

And this is especially true for cars.

Luckily, the Tucson – at least in our Highlander test car’s form – is loaded to the gills with all the tech you could ever need, future-proofing it for many more years of motoring to come.

Read the other long-term review installations

Let’s start with the basics.

As standard there’s the usual fare you will find across many models from many manufacturers. There’s automatic wipers and headlights, push-button start, wireless smartphone charger and keyless entry – run of the mill, but nonetheless convenient stuff you want out of any modern automobile.

I’ll point out the lovely steering wheel in our test car, too, as there are buttons and functions to control nearly everything you would want such as phone calls, cruise control and adjusting the read-out of the driver display – right there in the palm of your hands.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto feature as standard across the 2022 Tucson line-up, but the base model is fitted with an 8.0-inch screen, while the Elite and Highlander has a larger 10.25-inch screen.

Curiously, the smaller screen features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, while the larger screen needs a cable.

Regardless, this feature works as expected, although Android Auto only works for the left-most USB port for us, and the larger systems also have the added benefit of digital radio.

The larger screen is so big that Android Auto only displays on about two-thirds of the display, leaving room for secondary functions like a radio and media information display.

The Tucson Highlander is loaded to the gills with all the tech you could ever need. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

However, if you forget a cable, it’s also nice to know that from the Elite grade and up there is the inclusion of satellite navigation that works fast and intuitively.

Highlander grades also score an up-rated eight-speaker audio system, which sounds great and has a subwoofer that can really pump the bass.

Safety wise, there’s the full suite available, with driver attention alert, leading vehicle departure, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, traffic-sign recognition, safe exit warning, adaptive cruise control and tire pressure monitoring – all wonderful things to have when transporting precious cargo.

The higher-grade Highlander scores blind-spot monitoring, high-beam assist, rear parking collision avoidance, surround-view monitor and front parking sensors, which are all nice upgrades and make navigating the childcare carpark a little easier.

Other cool features in our Tucson include a drive-mode selector with a ‘Smart’ function that can switch settings based on driving behavior.

And while this is a nice set-and-forget feature, we actually prefer to just keep the Tucson in ‘Eco’ mode because – let’s be honest – how often do you need ‘Sport’ mode in a family SUV?

The higher-grade Highlander scores blind-spot monitoring, high-beam assist, and rear parking collision avoidance.  (Image: Tung Nguyen) The higher-grade Highlander scores blind-spot monitoring, high-beam assist, and rear parking collision avoidance. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

Our all-wheel drive, diesel-powered variant also scores three terrain modes – ‘Snow’, ‘Mud’ and ‘Sand’ – increasing the Tucson’s breadth of usability, but we’ve yet to find a situation where we needed these options.

Worth noting these three settings are exclusive to the diesel-powered Tucsons, so optioning a petrol powertrain will mean you miss out on these modes.

Now, let’s get into what really sets the Tucson Highlander apart from some rivals, and why you might want to spend the extra cash to get the higher-tier variant.

The electronically adjustable driver’s seat features two memory functions, meaning you and your partner can save their desired positions and with a touch of a button, the Tucson’s seat will get into place.

The driver’s seat also automatically pushes back when the ignition is switched off to make ingress and egress a little easier, and it’s these little touches that I (and my pregnant wife) really appreciate after five months with the car.

And the electronic adjustment also applies to the front passenger seat, and our test car comes with a button accessible to the driver to move the seat forward and recline.

Highlander grades also score an up-rated eight-speaker audio system. Highlander grades also score an up-rated eight-speaker audio system.

This makes it great if you want to give your kids a little more room and don’t have to unbuckle to reach over to the seat controls – but this feature is exclusively available to Highlander grades.

The gear selector is also a unique one, as the shift-by-wire set-up means a series of buttons to select drive, reverse, neutral or park rather than a clunky and outdated-looking shift lever.

Honestly, we thought we’d hate this feature, but it has really grown on us over our time with the car, and doesn’t make it any less intuitive to operate.

Another key stand-out feature is the electronic park brake.

Throw the car into reverse or drive and it will automatically disengage with the prod of the throttle, no more flipping the switch here.

It also automatically engages when in park, and a cool feature is that it will not auto-disengage if the driver’s seatbelt is not buckled in – safety first, guys.

The Tucson includes a drive-mode selector with a 'Smart' function that can switch settings based on driving behavior. The Tucson includes a drive-mode selector with a ‘Smart’ function that can switch settings based on driving behavior.

However, the standout feature for our Tucson Highlander is the remote parking and remote start.

To be honest, we rarely found a time where these features would be useful in our day-to-day use of the car, but there’s no denying the cool factor of starting the car from your keys so the air-conditioning will kick on, and you and your little one can waltz into a cool interior on a hot day.

Likewise, the remote parking is a great party trick if the parking space is too tight, but with a child seat in the rear, we prefer to find a different parking spot that lets us open the door wide to get the little one out.

Despite all these tech features, however, there’s one omission we have to point out.

The Tucson, even in top-spec Highlander form with the N Line package, misses out on a head-up display.

While this isn’t a deal-breaker for some, it is interesting to note this missing feature when rivals offer a windscreen display on cheaper models.

Our all-wheel drive, diesel-powered variant also scores three terrain modes – 'Snow', 'Mud' and 'Sand.'  (Image: Tung Nguyen) Our all-wheel drive, diesel-powered variant also scores three terrain modes – ‘Snow’, ‘Mud’ and ‘Sand.’ (Image: Tung Nguyen)

All in however, the Tucson serves up plenty of fruit to keep tech-heads happy – and we’ve not even dived into the multitude of functions and features buried in the multimedia system, like a quiet mode, or ambient sounds.

If you are keen for a model that will keep fresh for many years to come, and potentially last until you are ready to make the switch to an electric or electrified family car, the Tucson should be high up on your consideration list.

Acquired: March 2022

Distance traveled this month: 516km

Odometer: 6453km

Average fuel consumption for August: 8.9L/100 (measured at the pump)

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