The Hyundai Tucson: A Game-Changer in the Compact SUV Market
If you’re in the market for a new family SUV, the Hyundai Tucson is definitely worth considering. With its distinctive styling and spacious interior, it offers a pleasant driving experience for the whole family. However, the base model’s performance and fuel economy may leave you feeling underwhelmed compared to other compact crossovers. But fear not, because there is an alternative that promises to change the game – the Tucson Plug-In Hybrid.
By opting for the Tucson Plug-In Hybrid, you can kiss goodbye to the lackluster base model. Instead, you’ll be greeted with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine paired with an electric motor. This combination delivers a powerful and torquey driving experience, with 261 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque at your disposal. While the Toyota RAV4 Prime outperforms the Tucson PHEV with 302 hp, Hyundai’s offering still provides excellent value compared to its competitors in the gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid segments.
One of the main drawbacks of the regular Tucson is its lackluster powertrain. It requires some effort to generate enough momentum, and its fuel economy of 24 MPG city, 29 MPG highway, and 26 MPG combined is rather underwhelming, especially for a compact SUV. However, the Tucson PHEV offers a much smoother and refined driving experience. Thanks to the electric motor and the turbocharged engine, there is a constant rush of torque that ensures a more enjoyable ride, particularly during city driving. On top of that, the PHEV boasts excellent efficiency. Its 13.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery can be recharged overnight on a standard 120-volt power outlet, or in just two hours on a 240-volt plug. With a full charge, you can enjoy 33 miles of all-electric driving. And even when the battery depletes, you can still expect an impressive 35 MPG combined, a noticeable improvement over the gas-only Tucson.
While the Tucson PHEV does sacrifice some luggage space due to the battery, it still provides a comfortable and spacious cabin for up to four adults. The rear seats offer ample head and legroom, and they even have the added bonus of reclining for long trips. The ride quality is smooth and quiet, ensuring a pleasant experience for both the driver and passengers. The top-of-the-line Limited trim level comes packed with luxurious features such as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control with Highway Driving Assist, and a generous 10.3-inch infotainment screen.
In terms of design, the Tucson stands out from the crowd with its edgy and geometric exterior. Unlike many other compact crossovers that either try too hard to appear rugged or settle for a generic look, the Tucson offers a unique and eye-catching design. The unconventional wheel design adds a touch of flair that is sure to turn heads wherever you go.
Of course, no vehicle is without its flaws. The Tucson PHEV does suffer from some cheap-feeling materials in the cabin. While certain touchpoints are padded, the gloss black center console and much of the dash fascia are made of chintzy plastic. Although this may be forgivable in the lower-priced models, it becomes a noticeable drawback in the flagship-tier Limited version, which demands a hefty $44,140. Considering the price, one would expect higher-quality materials.
Another peculiar limitation of the Tucson PHEV is the strange requirement for a USB cable to use wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the 10.3-inch infotainment system. It’s a small oversight that doesn’t quite match up with the convenience of wireless connectivity.
In conclusion, the Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid is a game-changer in the compact SUV market. It addresses the performance and fuel economy issues of the base model, providing a powerful and efficient driving experience. Its comfortable and spacious cabin, along with its stylish exterior design, offers a well-rounded package for families on the go. While it may have some minor drawbacks, such as the use of plasticky materials and odd limitations in the infotainment system, the Tucson PHEV still represents an excellent value proposition compared to its competitors. So, if you’re looking for a standout compact SUV that offers both power and efficiency, the Tucson Plug-In Hybrid is definitely worth considering.