Mr. Blue Sky: The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited PHEV AWD
If you read my review of the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid in June of 2021, you might think I couldn't like a car more.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited PHEV is everything the Tucson Hybrid is, but with an extra hole in a fender.
That hole is where the charging port lives. Yes, the PHEV stands for "Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle", and if you're new here, well, we like those.
As with the hybrid, the Tucson PHEV's 1.6-liter turbocharged four is combined with an electric motor for fuel economy (an EPA-estimated 35 miles per gallon combined city/highway). And that's great.
But what a plug-in hybrid does is add miles that are purely electric---no gasoline involved. Miles you get back simply by recharging the car. These days most PHEVs deliver between 30 and 40 miles on a charge, and the Tucson PHEV promises 33. So, if you drive less than 33 miles in a day, you can recharge at home at night and until the day comes when you drive more than 33 miles, you're not using any gasoline or putting any tailpipe emissions into the air. And when that day comes, you've reduced both of those by 33 miles worth of driving.
For most people, it can be a very long time before they dip into the gas tank---and an even longer time between visits to the gas station for a fill-up.
Our tester was the top-of-the-line Limited trim with all-wheel drive. Base price is $42,550, and that does seem steep for a small crossover, but the standard equipment list is mind-boggling, including a comprehensive suite of active safety features, a panoramic sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights and LED headlights with high-beam assist, leather-trimmed seats, ambient lighting, dual automatic temperature control, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, power heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and a Bose premium audio system.
One of the great things about Hyundai, in addition to its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, is that there are very few extra-cost options to be had. Our tester had Quartz White paint, which was $400 extra, and carpeted floor mats, which added $195 to the tab, so with $1,225 inland freight and handling, the as-tested price of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited PHEV AWD is $44,370.
Factor in all-wheel drive, high feature content, the plug-in hybrid and that's a fair price, offset by the likely gasoline savings if you often drive fewer than 33 miles in a day. PHEVs are high on our list of recommendations for people who want to go beyond a simple hybrid but aren't yet ready for the leap to a pure EV. And the Tucson PHEV is a strong choice.