I Traded My Hyundai Santa Fe for a Week to Drive the 2022 Hyundai Tucson

Red Hyundai Tuscon With Black Grille
Photo: Jill Robbins

Will I still love my Santa Fe?

I’ve driven a Hyundai for the past 15+ years. My husband had a 2002 Santa Fe when we met, which we traded for a new Santa Fe in 2019. We looked at other models at the Hyundai dealership and considered sizing both up (Palisade) and down (Tucson or Kona.) It was sort of like Goldilocks and the three bears: we decided the Palisade was too big, the Tucson and Kona were too small, and the Santa Fe just right.

Almost three years later, I got a chance to really test out the newly redesigned Tucson. Do I still think it’s too small? Before I get to that, I want to share some details that I loved.

Related: 2022 Hyundai Tucson: This Great Little SUV Has Game. Lots of Game

The Black Front Grille Of The Hyundai Tucson Just Pops Against The Calypso Red Color. And I Love It. Photo: Jill Robbins

The black front grille of the Hyundai Tucson just pops against the Calypso red color. And I love it. Photo: Jill Robbins

Incredible Curb Appeal

I mean…that dark grille against the Calypso Red red paint just pops. And the lights integrated into the grille look so modern and sharp. I guess I could talk about the engine or the roomy second row or the great value but I’m going to allow myself to be a little shallow here and focus on looks first.

I never thought I’d say this about a Hyundai, but this car is sexy. First impressions are important with cars as well as people, and the Tucson has functionality that backs up those good looks. This one dazzled me from the get-go. Gone are the days of Hyundai getting by with the basics, they have upped their style game with brushed metal accents, angled tail lights, and let us not forget the aforementioned grille.

Sorry, white Santa Fe in my driveway. It’s not you, it’s…okay, maybe it’s you, a little bit.

Related: Hyundai IONIQ 5 First Drive: A Pivotal Moment for Hyundai—and for Electric Cars 

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The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is more than a great value – it’s got some spice. Photo: Jill Robbins

A Price Tag That Doesn’t Make Me Gag

Across the board, Hyundai’s price points are a plus for me. Although the snazzy exterior was definitely the first thing that got my attention, the price will please budget friendly car shoppers.

While the 2022 Hyundai Tucson is pricier than past year model, it is still a good value at a starting MSRP of $24,950. The model pictured, the 2022 Tucson Limited AWD, runs $37,454.

Related: 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy: A Luxury Drive Without the Heavy Price Tag

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This is a great car for a two kid family. Photo: Jill Robbins

Bells. And Whistles.

The tech is an upgraded version of the familiar Hyundai technology I love and am used to. The dashboard and console were very similar to my three-year-old Santa Fe, but better. My week was peppered with lots of “Oooh” and “Well, isn’t this cool?”

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson can be paired with Alexa and your smart watch. There’s also a digital key function that allows you to lock or unlock the car with your smartphone or help you remotely locate your car in a parking lot. Set up your digital key and you don’t need your actual key to drive the car.

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I loved the vibe of the black on black interior, plus for the first time, a push button gear selector that adds to the open, spacious feel. Photo: Hyundai

If you are a “lose your keys” kind of girl, this might be a game changer. Though if you’re a lose-your-keys girl, you could also be a lose-your-phone girl, but Hyundai has a solution for that too; not just anyone can drive away with your phone and your car. Once you open the car with the key fob or NFC card, you can disable the digital key on the multimedia screen.

There’s also a wireless charging pad and wireless Apple CarPlay. I’m glad to see the wireless charging become more common across the board. It really is a nifty feature and that’s one less cord you have to keep track of.

The Calypso Red Paint Pops Against The 2022 Tucson'S Black Grille And Integrated Headlights,

The 2022 Tucson’s black grille and integrated headlights, here seen in the blind spot camera on the driver information screen. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Also included were lane keeping assist and blind spot camera (a video view pops up in the driver’s information screen when you tap the turn signal) which are familiar features for me. The controls are very similar to what I’m used to, having been a driver of a slightly older Santa Fe. But the Tucson is more tech forward and feels more upscale.

Related: Used 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate Review: Safe, Spacious and Sharp

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Looks good coming or going. Photo: Jill Robbins

The Tucson has a surprising amount of interior space

When we bought our Santa Fe in 2019, adjustable third row seating was at the top of my list. FYI, the 2019 Santa Fe is the last model year to have third row seating. We looked briefly at the 2019 and 2020 Tucson models but since there was no third row, I wrote it off as too small without really giving it much of a chance. That’s not the case for 2022.

Related: How to Keep Your 3rd Row Passengers Safe in a Crash

Man Taking Wagon Out Of Back Of 2022 Hyundai Tucson

We need rear space for my kids’ sports equipment and all the groceries that two 11-year-old boys eat. Hint: It’s A LOT. Photo: Jill Robbins

The rear seat is just as roomy as my Santa Fe. We need a comfortable four person car with room for everyone and everyone’s stuff and the Tucson fit the bill. And, while not as roomy as my Santa Fe with the third row (that no one ever sits in) folded down, the Tucson has room in the back for most of what the average family needs to haul around.

This may not have the space you need for lumber for a home improvement project but let’s be real: that’s not something we expect of our small to midsized crossover vehicles. Unless you regularly need to drive more than three people, the 2022 Tucson probably meets your needs for space and keeps everyone comfortable.

Related: Leading by Example and Empowering Others, What Drives Her: Dana White of Hyundai

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Costco run, done. Photo: Jill Robbins

There’s a hybrid option!

While the vehicle I drove for a week was not a hybrid, I was thrilled to learn that there is a 2022 Hyundai Tucson plug-in hybrid version, too. If you’ve loved everything you’ve read and seen so far and you’re turning cartwheels over the EV option, maybe I’ve found your next car for you. You’re welcome.

I’ve driven a handful of hybrid cars and I am a big fan. The 2022 Hyundai Tucson hybrid has a range of 33 miles, which is plenty for my everyday driving needs. With rising gas prices, that’s a big selling point. If you buy an electric car or hybrid, make sure you’re savvy on any potential tax incentives. Check with your dealer and your accountant/tax preparer.

Related: Thinking of Buying An EV? Tax Credits and Rebates Can Save You Big Bucks

2022 Hyundai Tucson Awd Being Driven Down The Road

While the 2022 Tucson Limited AWD I drove isn’t a hybrid, there is a plug-in hybrid model available. Photo: Jill Robbins

So…just right?

If I were Goldilocks, I would say, yes, the 2022 Tucson is just right. What makes a car a good fit obviously varies from person to person but the smaller, sexier, more teched out Tucson kicks my trusty Santa Fe’s behind.

Although insisting on that third row felt right at the time, our lifestyle has shifted so that’s no longer a priority. And, I can count on one hand the times we’ve actually had someone sitting in our third row. With two kids who need to be shuttled school and activities, I can attest, this is a great car for a family of three or four.

Woman With Red 2022 Hyundai Tucson

Yep. Just right. Photo: Jill Robbins

P.S. I really do like my Santa Fe. It was the right car for us at the time and we don’t have plans to get rid of it, in spite of how much this red beauty tempted me.

Disclosure: Hyundai provided the Tucson for me to test. All opinions are my own.

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Jill is the oldest mom with the youngest kids pretty much everywhere she goes. She has a 29-year-old daughter... More about Jill Robbins