Latest Hyundai Tucson joins the compact crossover hybrid ranks, with a whole new look to stand out with.
One thing’s for sure: you won’t easily mistake the new Hyundai Tucson for any other SUV on the road. The Korean automaker showed off the latest version of its compact sport ‘ute late Monday night. It introduces a daring new look for the brand’s best-selling SUV, while also bolstering the lineup with two hybrid models.
New drivetrains aren’t the only thing on the menu here either. Hyundai is loading the Tucson up with plenty of technology at passengers’ fingertips as well as under the skin. Here’s the full breakdown on the Korean answer to the Toyota RAV4.
Now available in two sizes
For the first time, Hyundai will be offering the Tucson in two lengths, depending on market. North America will see the larger of the two, measuring 182.2 inches (4,630 mm) from that distinctive nose to tail. It’s this model we’re seeing today. The short-wheelbase model gives up around just over 5 inches (130 mm) in length. Even with the added length, the Tucson will slot in between the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue—the latter new for 2021—when it touches down on our shores next year. The Hyundai does feature the longest wheelbase in the segment however, with 108.5 inches (2,755 mm) between the axles. Height is up less than an inch, to 65.5 (1,665 mm).
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No matter the market, the new Tucson will carry the same “Parametric Dynamics” styling. Last week’s teasers suggested a bold new look, and Hyundai has delivered on that with the full reveal. Up front, Hyundai has mounted the Tucson’s daytime running lamps (DRLs) within the grille, only noticeable when they’re on. It’s a look similar in execution, if not look, to the Sonata. The flanks are chock-full of slashes and creases, visually linking the new SUV to its smaller Elantra sibling without looking like a copy.
Moving rearward, the Tucson features a full-width LED light strip flanked by two pairs of diagonal, three-dimensional taillight strips. The closest thing we could compare it to would be a Mustang, but in execution the Tucson’s tail is very different. The stylish looks don’t hamper storage space either: Hyundai is quoting 38.7 cubic feet (1,096 liters) with the rear seats up, barely less than the segment-best 2021 Rogue’s 39.3 (1,112).
If there’s one criticism to be levelled at the Tucson—and most new cars in general—it’s a lack of color in the available paint palette. The gas-engined model will offer seven paint choices, with blue and red sitting beside various monochrome shades. Hybrid models drop the choices down to four. Interior trim, be it cloth or leather, is rendered in either black or gray.
Self-charging and plug-in hybrid engine options
The fourth-gen Tucson will shake up the under-hood lineup, with a new entry-level engine and not one but two hybrid options. The engine lineup starts with a direct-injection 2.5-liter inline-four, rated at an estimated 187 hp and 182 lb-ft of max torque. This naturally-aspirated mill shacks up with a standard eight-speed automatic. Meanwhile, the higher-spec option is the familiar 1.6-liter turbo engine, producing 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of twist.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review
So far, that sounds similar to the Sonata—but the turbo also comes as part of a hybrid setup in the Tucson. The electrified setup boosts total system output to 227 horsepower, and torque sees a similar lift to 258 lb-ft. A Hyundai PR rep confirmed the hybrid versions uses a six-speed version of Hyundai’s Active Shift Control (ASC) hydraulic-type automatic transmission.
It’s a different hybrid setup than either the Elantra or Sonata, instead sharing its outputs with the 2021 Kia Sorento hybrid. More importantly, both the horsepower and torque figures eclipse those of the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Honda CR-V hybrid models. Hyundai has yet to announce battery sizes for either the hybrid or plug-in models.
All-wheel drive models also feature up to seven selectable drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Smart, Sport, Mud, Sand, and Snow.
The automaker also confirmed a Tucson N Line is coming. An N Line version of the current Tucson hit Europe last year, but this time the sportier trim will be available across the globe. There’s no word on whether it will feature a unique drivetrain.
Inside, the Tucson majors on tech. It adopts an all-digital instrument panel like the new Elantra, measuring 10.25 inches across. The dash itself has a clear two-level design to it, with the top section wrapping around the doors and flowing down into the central infotainment screen. Here buyers will have two options: an 8.0-inch screen or—in the Tucson’s top trim—another 10.25-inch item. Hyundai’s press release makes mention of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the smaller touchscreen: we reached out for clarification on whether the 10.25-inch screen would also include the feature, and were told it’s to be determined in the US.
Depending on market, the Tucson will also include Car-to-home communication with smart home appliances, as well as an air purification feature. The latter monitors air quality in the Tucson and displays air-pollution levels in real-time.
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Hyundai’s Digital Key is also available here. The company hasn’t confirmed it, but Digital Key is likely to remain an Android-only feature for Tucson. The tech allows owners to digitally “lend” their keys to family and friends.
Of course there’s a full battery of driver assist features, which Hyundai dubs SmartSense. This includes aids such as automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep and follow, blind-spot view monitor, blind-spot warning, 360-degree camera view, auto high-beams, and driver attention warning. Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist is also part of the suite. Other high-level driving aids will include blind-spot collision-avoidance assist with rear-cross traffic capability, advanced cruise control with stop and go functionality, and Safe Exit Warning.
Pricing and Availability
Hyundai announced the new Tucson would go on sale in Korea by the end of this month. North Americans will need to wait until the first half of next year, when it touches down here as a 2022 model. Pricing will arrive closer to that time, though we’re expecting a decent bump over the current model’s $24,875 starting price.