TUCSON (SE, FWD)—Tires: P235/65R17; wheelbase: 108.5 inches; length: 182.3 inches; width: 73.4 inches; height: 65.6 inches; weight: 3,329 pounds; fuel capacity: 14.3 gallons; city: 26 mpg; highway: 33 mpg; website: www.hyundai.com.

Vivid and stunning desert landscapes, splendid and picturesque drives, unbelievable viewpoints, magnificent mountain ranges, marvelous biking and riding trails, serene picnic spots and the extraordinarily enduring saguaro cacti make Arizona’s second largest city into a bewitching metropolis, and the perfect venue for the Hyundai folks to kick off their overhauled 2022 Tucson. Welcome to Tucson the city and, more importantly, Tucson the SUV.

First introduced in 2004, the compact SUV has undergone a makeover in the past. But the inside-out redesign and powertrain transformation (with hybrid and plug-in hybrid) for the front-wheel or all-wheel drive Tucson is major. And for the better, we must say.

It’s a bigger vehicle than the predecessor in every respect. Length is up by 6.1 inches, width and height 0.6 inches and wheelbase 3.4 inches; cargo volume increases by 7.7 cubic feet and passenger volume 6 cubic feet. In essence, there is plenty of legroom now for rear seat passengers. Make it a total of 108.2 cubic feet for total passenger room. Cargo space is a cool 80.3 cubic feet with the rear seat down.

A 2.5-liter direct injection gasoline engine puts out 187 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 178 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. A 1.6-liter turbocharged gas engine develops 226 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque with an electric motor and battery pack. The plug-in hybrid is also 1.6 but packs a punch at 261 horsepower and with an electric-only range of 28 miles before fuel kicks in. A six-speed or eight-speed auto gearbox is offered, depending on the trim you pick. The front MacPherson strut and multilink rear suspension have been re-engineered while body rigidity, sound damping and safety have improved with advanced high-strength steel.

A top-selling SUV for Hyundai, the fourth-generation Tucson boasts a sporty, modern, sleek look up front as diamond-cut elements gaze at you from the sharp parametric jewel grille. The cabin is “hidden tech,” as the Hyundai team likes to call it, with a lowered and hoodless digital instrument cluster, buttonless center stack, capacitive touch controls, multi-air mode, new ambient lights, 10.2-inch color touch display, Hyundai digital key (lock/unlock vehicle with phone), latest version of Bluelink and remote smart park assist. Standard features on the base SE include tilt/telescopic steering column, six-way adjustable driver seat and 60/40 fold seat with recline/center armrest.

Safety is paramount for Hyundai with dual front and side airbags, side curtain with rollover sensor, lane-keep/follow assist, forward collision warning, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, front/rear parking sensors and crumple zones, electronic stability and traction control, blind-spot warning, forward collision avoid assist, remote keyless entry, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system standard.

Starting at $24,950, the Tucson peaks at $37,350 for the limited hybrid AWD. Now that is a heck of a deal. The three powertrains result in a responsive ride, sharp handling and decent overall cornering balance. And Hyundai’s five-year, 60,000-mile basic and 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranties should convince you to sign on the dotted line.

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