PINEHURST, NC — May 10, 2022 — It isn’t often we get two cars of a similar make model and style. We missed a couple of weeks of shows and columns, and as the car providers would have it, we wound up with two really nice SUV’s back-to-back. What a great way to do a comparison of the two models, as we found a lot to like in each … and both.
We drove the 2022 Tucson N Line AWD for a week and the 2022 Tucson Limited Hybrid AWD for a week as well. Here’s what we like and think you will like as a consumer:
While the Tucson is considered a compact SUV, in fact, it is ranked the #1 Compact SUV by U.S. News & World Report, we found it to be roomy, without a ‘compact’ feel, and very practical for the ‘couple’s’ lifestyle, i.e., two people going places, eating out, shopping, running around town and even taking four- or five-hour drives for a long weekend without driving fatigue.
Of course, since they are both a Hyundai Tucson, they are the same vehicle, but are different ‘trims’. There are five trims for the Tucson: the SE, at $25,800; the SEL, at $27,100; the N Line, at $31,200, the XRT, at $31,850; and the top of the line Limited, at $35,300. Can you say “Affordable”? We can, and these vehicles are. The N Line AWD we drove was $32,250 per the monroney, with extras only being, (yes, you know what’s coming,) the $195 floor mats and the ‘freight and handling’ charge.
The top-of-the-line Limited Hybrid AWD was weighing in at an MSRP of $37,500, and that’s also below average for a hybrid SUVs’ top-trim price.
Another thing that I liked about having two similar but very different vehicles was being able to compare some things that normally we only get to read about. Mileage for example. The N Line had a Smartstream 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) and MPI (Multi-Port Injection).
What is behind “Smartstream” and the desire to continuously improve today’s engine’s performance and response? Here is Hyundai’s own answer, and I think it is pretty good – “A car’s performance is said to be defined by its movement—run fast, run strong. But in recent years, several new standards have been added to complement these criteria, including eco-friendliness and fuel economy. Car manufacturers have also become more sensitive to drivers’ individual preferences, so that ride comfort and shifting ‘feel’ have become fairly commonplace criteria for choosing cars as well.
Hyundai Motor Group has always strived to do its best in the R&D of powertrains, the essential foundation for a car’s performance and efficiency. But with changing times demanding more variegated approaches to powertrain design, the Group, too, has expanded its focus to developing powertrains that 1) better respond to drivers’ sentiments and preferences, 2) contain engines and transmissions that more nimbly respond to the driver’s maneuvers, and 3) still manage to function harmoniously with the vehicle at large.” See a lot more about this at https://tech.hyundaimotorgroup.com/essential-performance/smartstream/. I actually like learning about what Hyundai is trying to achieve, and you might too. Let’s translate this back into the practical – the N Line AWD gets 24 mpg city and 29 highway, for an average of 26 mpg. The Limited Hybrid, gas and electric, get 37 mpg highway and 36 mpg city, for an average of 37 mpg. Can you justify spending $5K more for a Hybrid? If you plan on keeping the vehicle for, say, even 5 years, and you think reduced emissions and fuel efficiency are important in your planned driving, you could probably justify it pretty easily.
Safety is going to be primary in any vehicle, and you know my support for Hyundai’s toward safety – Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep, Lane Following, Driver Attention Warning, Rear Occupant Alert, Blind Spot, Rear Cross Traffic, Safe Exit, and on and on are all on the Tucson, plus the best Warranty in the industry.
The ‘comfort and convenience’ packages included on the Tuscon are extensive as well. Heated seats, steering, lumbar support, tilt steering, leather steering wheel, smart cruise control, hands free liftgate, XM radio, Bose Premium Audio, and on and on.
Quiet, comfortable, with 40” of head room and 80 cu.ft. of storage with the back seats down, it’s roomy for people and the things most people carry.
Now go back and look at prices again. Top of the line at $37K and ranked #1 in its class? When you talk “Bang for your Bucks”, why wouldn’t you talk about the Hyundai Tucson? Start here – https://www.hyundaiusa.com/us/en/build/summary/#/43471N4L0N0 and do you own exploration if you are looking for a great smaller SUV. No, it’s not a Palisade, but it will fit the SUV bill for a lot of people in the market these days.