Is that a Hyundai? The 2022 Tucson SUV from Hyundai is a high-tech eye-catcher Automatic Features

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson may have been designed after the jagged edges of the Santa Catalina Mountains that surround the Arizona compact SUV’s namesake. Or the carved stones that flood the street markets at Tucson’s annual Gem and Mineral Show. Or maybe the dramatic lines of the Lamborghini Aventador, as Hyundai’s chief designer Luc Donckerwolke once wrote the Italian sports cars.

Whatever its inspiration, the Tucson is one of the most eye-catching compact automata in the largest non-pickup segment in the United States.

From the large grille to the sculpted flanks to the crazy quilt with the shapes on the back, the Hyundai looks like it’s made up of broken glass. Linger over the triangular shards in the large lattice. Or the cake taillights. Or the triangular clogged mesh under the rear bumper. The tri-theme reminds me of Ford’s oval obsession with the 1996 Taurus, one of my favorite cars from the last century.

“You have to take a risk to get noticed,” said Hyundai chief designer Chris Chapman, a Yankee whose Los Angeles studio was commissioned to design the brand’s largest US retailer.

The US team at Hyundai is also familiar with the stiff competition in the segment and the habit of American customers to spend long commutes and journeys in their cars. Segment leaders such as the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape not only offer a unique exterior, but also a spacious, cozy interior.

Now that Tucson’s gem exterior has caught my attention, the inside is a study of the home and garden practicality. In contrast to the aforementioned Taurus, which carried its oval exterior theme inside, the Hyundai’s exterior and interior designs are apples and oranges.

Make these triangles and rectangles.

The interior is made up of simple, practical right angles. A pair of chrome-plated lines border the cabin like a picket fence around an Arizona horse ranch. It’s beautiful and – except for the console – uninterrupted.

Look carefully, and that’s because the instrument cluster doesn’t have a hood. Like a Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Tucson’s standard liquid crystal display (LCD) is hoodless because it doesn’t reflect glare from the sun. It ensures razor-sharp digital graphics and a clear cabin. Smooth.

Hyundai’s passion for simplicity continues in the console with two stacked rectangular touchscreens. The upper material (expandable to 10.25 inches on the upper panels) takes on infotainment functions, the lower part provides the climate. Engineers and designers are always fighting over ergonomics, and designers have won that battle with a clean, touch-only surface. Honda tried this in its last generation CR-V and eventually gave in to consumer preference for a volume control.

Hyundai buyers may ultimately ask for the same, but the Tucson’s design is more sleek than the Honda’s, so we’ll see. Currently, the driver can easily adjust the volume using the thumb tabs on the steering wheel, while the front passenger can click the volume arrows on the screen.

The design theme continues through the lower console, with the transfer function operated via a (rectangular, bare) push-button switch. The space-saving device offers plenty of space for console storage and cup holders.

Space is the priority beyond the front seats. Every compact SUV wants premium standards, and Tucson drops the mic with premium leg and cargo space. The rear seats are spacious. I sat slightly behind my tall 6’5 ”self a few inches before my knees hit the front seat.

The cargo space continues the Tucson’s appeal to giant Yankees and is also best in class. If you flatten the rear seats, you can carry a giant LCD TV screen over there to match the tiny LCD instrument panel in the front. If you have a family who spends a lot of time in the rear, Hyundai has options like heated rear seats, multiple USB ports, and a panoramic roof.

The Hyundais were once an attractive, conservative family freight forwarder. Tucson is following the Hyundai Elantra, Veloster and Sonata with extreme wardrobe redesigns. The classy styling was also complemented by more oomph under the hood. The Sonata, Elantra and Veloster all got N-Badged Performance versions with taut suspensions and more ponies under the hood.

Tucson is content with leaving the quick footwork to its siblings.

The compact SUV has an N-line fairing, but is only a showpiece with a darkened fairing and larger wheels. Open the hood and you won’t find an oven with 295 horses (Sonata N) or 275 horses (Veloster N) in it – just a pair of dependable, sleek four-bangs. This is in line with the Tucson’s determination to get you to your destination undisturbed.

I tested both the 2.5-liter 4-banger with 187 hp and the 1.6-liter turbo 4 hybrid with 227 hp and they are almost indistinguishable under the cane (except for the hybrid’s better torque in the lower area), as the booth meeting room is quiet. Thanks to the slavish attention to detail, the engineers have provided the windscreen with a three-layer lamination, a strong firewall and extensive soundproofing throughout the cabin.

The compact yacht does not support heavy left feet anyway. This isn’t a Mazda CX-5 or Chevy Equinox with angular ambitions. The Tucson wants you to admire his wardrobe as he strolls by.

petitors Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape have big hybrid ambitions in the compact SUV space, with both targeting 30% hybrid sales. Hyundai does not specify any sales targets, but does not expect the usual Hyundai price bargain. The 37-mpg Tucson hybrid – Hyundai’s first attempt at this segment – costs directly ($ 32,835) the 41-mpg Ford Escape hybrid ($ 32,990) if it comes with my essentials (AWD, Assistant for the Dead Angle, adaptive cruise control)).

It’s only a $ 1,250 premium over the standard 2.5-liter engine, which means you’ll get your money back on $ 3 per gallon of gasoline in less than four years thanks to 30% better fuel efficiency of the hybrid. Given the quiet cabin, I would be happy with the 2.5 liter.

Corresponding to its smartphone-like LCD screens, the Tucson offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Step into the comfy front thrones and the Tucson will recognize your phone. Just bark your destination on Google Maps and you are on your way to the next destination.

In Tucson, my destination was Arizona Zipline Adventures in the middle of the desert. Like Michigan winters and sandy shores, the slippery terrain rewards a good all-wheel drive system, and es with an electronic transfer case that locks for maximum traction below 20 mph.

Like a jeep, the Tucson’s four wheels turned happily in unison to maintain traction. And like a Lambo, I couldn’t stop looking at its corners.

Henry Payne is a car critic for The Detroit News. Find him at [email protected] or Twitter HenryEPayne.

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