New Model News

Boldly-designed 2022 Hyundai Tucson gets electrified powertrains, unique interior

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson takes what you know about the model and kicks it up more than just one notch.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai sells more Tucsons than any other model, and not just in the U.S. The global best-seller has been reborn with striking new looks and high-tech innovation that, on the surface, squarely put it at odds with the budget-conscious most of the models it competes against.

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson will be sold in short- and long wheelbase models worldwide.

Designers continues the Sensuous Sportiness language first put forth in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata and continued in the 2021 Hyundai Elantra in the new Tucson. At its front are Parametic Hidden Headlights that incorporate the daytime running lights and their housing into the grille of the vehicle. Here, it's realized as a "T" shape the that is similar to the new fascia on the refreshed Hyundai Santa Fe. The automaker says that the lights are only visible when they are illuminated.

2022 Hyundai TucsonNumerous creases are featured on the body of the car.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The crease-heavy body styling continues from the hood and down the sides of the compact SUV giving the model looks beyond your typical jellybean-shaped mommy hauler.

At the rear, a body-width taillight incorporates half-hidden triangular shapes that are only visible when lit. The Hyundai logo has been moved from its traditional place and and is now integrated into the rear glass. In turn, the wiper is now hidden under the car's spoiler.

Hyundai will sell the gasoline-powered versions of the model in seven paint colors: White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, Nocturne Gray, Amazon Gray, Flame Red, and Intense Blue, six of which are new for Tucson. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid models offer the following four colors: White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, and Intense Blue, three of which are new for Tucson.

2022 Hyundai TucsonHyundai's new Tucson design is sleek yet sharp.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Tucson will be powered by a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. It achieves 187 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. These figures give the engine more horsepower than either of the two engines in the 2020 model and 31 pound-feet more torque than that year's base 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

A more powerful turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder will be available. That same 1.6-liter engine is also able to be matched with hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology. Each engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 1.6-liter hybrid engine alone achieves 178 horsepower. When coupled with the battery and elector motor, the overall output increases to 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, far surpassing anything offered in the last-gen Tucson.

Hyundai will employ its first-in-class E-Handling technology for HEV and PHEV models. All-wheel drive is available on the Tucson and comes with a number of drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Smart, Sport, Mud, Sand and Snow (not available in all markets).

2022 Hyundai TucsonThe car features very distinct design lines.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The roster of safety technology on the Tucson is impressive. It includes: highway driving assist, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, blind spot view monitor, blind-spot collision warning, surround view monitor, reverse parking collision-avoidance assist, remote smart parking assist, high beam assist, and driver attention warning. Blind spot collision avoidance assist with rear cross-traffic alert and assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and safe exit warning are also available.

Hyundai designers strived to give the 2022 Tucson a serene and spacious interior. Like in the Nissan Ariya, the model was crafted to seamlessly blend space, technology, and information. The layered waterfall effect of the dashboard combines traditional horizontal lines with curves to draw the eye upward and downward without the feeling of space segregation. This space is marked by twin silver garnish lines that flow from the center fascia to the rear doors. Sixty-four color ambient mood lighting is adjustable in 10 levels of brightness.

2022 Hyundai TucsonAngular taillights are a unique design highlight.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The center stack houses twin 10.25-inch touch screens with split-screen and multi-tasking capabilities in the top Tucson trim level. A multi-air ventilation system and a hoodless digital gauge cluster are also present. An 8.0-inch infotainment screen is standard and features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology. A Bose Premium audio system is available.

Hyundai has given the Tucson its Digital Key technology, which uses an app to turn a user's smartphone into a smart key. This technology also debuted on the 2020 Sonata.

The company's car-to-home functionality allows customers to control smart home appliances from their car. Similarly, Tucson's new Multi-Command function allows customers to "warm-up the car"— including heating system, heated steering wheel and seat warmers—with a single voice command while at home.

2022 Hyundai TucsonA wraparound dashboard gives the model a sense of spaciousness.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Tucson is the first Hyundai vehicle to have the company's new air conditioning technology.

Hyundai engineers have designed the Tucson's second-row seats to feature fold-and-dive functionality. This allows for 38.7 cubic feet of cargo space. This is about the same amount as the cavernous Honda CR-V.

The first deliveries of the Tucson will happen in Korea in September. The U.S. will have to wait until the first half of 2021 for the model.

Hyundai has plans to introduce a Tucson N Line model globally at a date to be announced.

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The Hemi Orange package brings unqiue style to the Durango.

Dodge

The Dodge Durango isnt the newest or most refined SUV on the market, but it offers great comfort, good tech, and a handful of raucous powertrian options. The long-running family hauler is due for an update, but in the meantime, Dodge has given it a new Hemi Orange package with unique styling touches.

Dodge already offers the Hemi Orange package fo the Challenger and Charger, and now it's available for the three-row Durango. The package is available for the R/T trim, which comes with a 5.7-liter V8.

Dodge Durango Hemi OrangeDodge offers four exterior colors with the package. Dodge

Much of the Orange package's content comes on the outside, where Dodge adds orange and gunmetal hod stripes, black taillights, and grey/orange badging. The SUV rides on black 20-inch wheels, and Dodge offers different black "Lights Out" 20-inch wheels. Four exterior colors are available: Destroyer Grey, Diamond Black, Octane Red, and White Knuckle. Inside, the Durango gets orange sticthing and unique patterns in the upholstery. Dodge says the stitching extends throughout the interior, including to the gauge cluster, armrests, console lid, and steering wheel.

Two upgrades are available for the Hemi Orange Durango. The first is the Orange Plus Package, which adds a power sunroof, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and a load of driver aids. The Tow N Go package is available for four-wheel drive models, and brings the 20-inch Lights Out wheels, orange brake calipers, and a Bilstein high-performance suspension system.

The Durango R/T Hemi Orange is available now. It carries a price tag of $1,995. The Orange Plus package costs $4,500 and the Tow N Go package costs $5,095.

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The CX-50 is surpsingly capable off-road.

Mazda

I have driven all of the Mazda vehicles that have been sold in the US market over the past three decades. On everyday roads and on racetracks. I’ve appreciated their “zoom-zoom”. Good power. Punchy torque just where it was needed. Well-balanced and sporty handling. A bit of growl for the versions that called for it. Plus, tasteful-but-modest styling and more or less elbow room, depending on the model. Mazda’s have been made for sports-car enthusiasts and to ferry families. But, I had never known a Mazda called an “overlander”. Until now.

2023 Mazda CX-50Towing capacity extends to 2,000 pounds.Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 moves this traction-sophisticated automaker into the lands where the pavement ends and now takes the brand ‘off-track’. Although it’s not a new thing for many of today’s carmakers to add a backcountry model or two to their lineup, it’s new for Mazda. I traveled to Santa Barbara, California to check out this all-new crossover built on Mazda’s seventh-generation small SUV platform that is shared with the smaller CX-30. This 5-passenger utility is longer, lower and wider than the CX-5 that rides on the previous generation’s underpinnings. The CX-50 has been crafted with a roomier second row and more cargo room for the goods and gear that weekend warriors and adventurers want to carry.

The CX-50 comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that gets 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo-charged powerplant with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque; both shift through a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport ute can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with the naturally aspirated motor and up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo-charged mill and Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) that brings a tow mode as well as Normal, Sport and Off-Road. The newest Mazda model has been made for North America only and is built in Alabama. It is the first Mazda vehicle with auto start/stop that can be deactivated.

2023 Mazda CX-50Mazda is a master of upscale interiors. Mazda

The new crossover starts at $26,800 and comes in S, S Select, S Preferred, S Preferred Plus, S Premium, and S Premium Plus with the base motor. Turb-charged versions come in Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus that tops out at close to $42,000. A long list of technology and safety features are standard or available. Mazda says that Meridian, a fourth turbo trim will arrive soon with even more off-road cred; it will be set up with 18-inch black wheels AT, hood graphics and other backcountry goodies.

When you look at the CX-50, the first thing you’ll notice is exterior styling that speaks to its adventure-ready mission. Muscular bodywork, such as extra cladding, wide fender flairs and larger, more aggressive tires mean that this crossover has been designed not only to give a nod to the looks of a rugged crossover but to provide enhanced traction and a tad more suspension stretch for motoring over uneven terrain and along bumpy dirt roads. Planted on its haunches with functional air vents, it eschews minivan styling with a low and wide footprint that allows owners to have easy access to high-strength roof rails for loading gear on top; the roof has been made stronger than other Mazda crossovers to accommodate heavier loads, such as a roof-top tent. A panoramic moonroof- a first for Mazda- and attractive antiglare hood graphics and are tasteful additions.

The interior is attractive and roomy, with horizontal lines and “cleanable” surfaces as a nod to outdoor endeavors. Our Turbo Premium Plus model had bright orange reverse stitching that popped the cabin that has been crafted with uplevel trims and materials and brought heads-up display. A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard, while the top models get a 10.25-inch version. A wireless charging pad and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims. Of note, is the rear power and programmable liftgate to the wide and deep rear cargo compartment, with a load floor that flush with the liftgate opening to help slide heavy items in and out of the back. An available line of cargo accessories makes stowage easier.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is family roadtrip ready.Mazda

How did it handle over the 200-plus miles of our ride and drive? The Turbo Premium Plus CX-50 offers a lot like; many of its driving attributes are consistent with Mazda’s tuning and handling priorities across its product line. Traveling along coastal highways, carving mountainous twisties with tight turns and accelerating on flat and straight well-graded pavement, it has great Mazda manners: i.e., there is enough power and torque in the right bandwidth to move it well; precise steering with a slightly heavily-weighted leather-wrapped steering wheel and well-modulated brakes, especially with towing a 3,500-lb. load. We enjoyed using Sport mode for carving corners, as it brings elongated shifts from the six-speed automatic; a crisp response comes when sport shifting in “manual mode” and provides a quick throttle response.

We tried out the Off-Road mode on a course that included flat and uneven dirt roads, as well as hill climb and descent. Although there is no downhill descent control system, the brakes worked well, along with manual gearing. Of note, Mazda would be wide to add downhill descent engineering for steeper and slicker terrain. We were able to test the difference between Normal and Off-Road over a special section of the course with sandy corners and a winding track at a speed of 30 mph showing the improved traction in the Off-Road programming and the aid of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that brings a bit of magic to transfer torque to the wheels where it is needed to keep the intended track-think of it like an enhanced traction control program that helps with steering and yaw control.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 comes with off-road driving modes. Mazda

Other aids for off-road and backcountry travel are: the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system that is standard equipment on all CX-50s, with a 50/50ish power transfer front to back; 8.6 inches of ground clearance; an 18-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle; and an optional 360-degree camera system.

*EPA reports: base motor fuel economy 24 city/30 highway mpg, while the turbo option gets 23/29 mpg and can run on regular or premium fuel.

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