2022 Hyundai Tucson XRT 'go-anywhere attitude' VS the competition

Hyundai has revealed a new trim level for the 2022 Tucson SUV called the XRT. The Tucson XRT features black lower body cladding giving it a different look than other models in the line. Hyundai says the blackout exterior trim gives the XRT a "go-anywhere attitude." Tucson XRT is based on the Tucson SEL with Convenience package and is available on internal combustion models with front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive.

The 2022 Tucson XRT gets exclusive dark wheels along with its dark exterior trim elements. Pricing for the XRT FWD starts at $32,625, while the XRT AWD starts at $34,125. Both of those MSRPs include the Hyundai $1225 destination charge. In addition, the model gets XRT exclusive front and rear fascias with ruggedized details, prominent side cladding, black monotone side mirrors, and black 19-inch wheels with a rugged design.

The vehicle also features dark side window surrounds, approach lighting in the side steps, interior cloth seating available in black only, and a black headliner. XRT buyers will also get roof cross rails and a tow hitch. Other than the exclusive trim elements, the 2022 Tucson XRT is the same Tucson we talked about before.

It has a 2755 mm wheelbase, is 4630 mm long, 1865 mm wide, and 1665 mm in height. However, Hyundai does offer a short wheelbase version that's 2680 mm long. For 2022, the vehicle also received a very clean interior update and has a large 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display and a digital instrument cluster.

Power for 2022 Tucson models that aren't electrified comes from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel-drive versions have a combined fuel economy rating of 28 MPG and utilize an eight-speed automatic. All-wheel-drive versions will have slightly less fuel economy.

While the XRT version is only available with the non-electrified powertrain, Hyundai does have a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid Tucson. The hybrid version utilizes a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, making 177 horsepower and 198 pound-feet of torque. That gas motor is paired with a 44.2 kWh electric motor and a battery for a combined output of 226 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

The plug-in hybrid version uses a larger 13.8 kWh battery and is level-2 charge capable with an all-electric driving range of 28 miles. Plug-in hybrid versions of the Tucson utilize a six-speed automatic, while the standard hybrid uses a CVT. Another version of the Tucson, called the N Line, offers sportier styling and performance.

The Tucson N Line uses a 2.5-liter turbo-four making 290 horsepower with 310 pound-feet of torque. While pricing on that version hasn't been announced at this time, the vehicle is expected to land next spring.

The Competition

Hyundai isn't the only automaker offering SUVs and crossovers with a more rugged exterior appearance. For 2022, SUVs with off-road styling are becoming more common. One automaker that has ruggedized several of its popular vehicle models is Subaru. Subaru has revealed the 2022 Outback Wilderness and the 2022 Forrester Wilderness models.

While no one will mistake a Subaru as a true off-road vehicle, they do bring rugged style and additional performance for those who just want to be able to get down rutted dirt roads but don't want to join the Jeep club climbing the sides of mountains. We had an opportunity to review the 2022 Outback Wilderness in September. The vehicle had numerous pros, including various extras that do make the vehicle more off-road-oriented and attractive. Notably, the Outback Wilderness has the chunky black body cladding automakers love to throw on their more rugged vehicles.

The 2022 Forrester Wilderness has similar exterior features as the Outback Wilderness with blocky black exterior trim and black wheels with more off-road-oriented tires. Both of the Subaru Wilderness models also get a ruggedized interior but are essentially the same as all other models underneath.

For 2022, Ford ruggedized its popular full-size SUV with the reveal of the 2022 Expedition Timberline series. Ford hailed the Expedition Timberline as the most off-road capable Expedition it's ever made. While some of the other SUVs that fall into this ruggedized segment are only trim packages, Ford made the Expedition off-road capable with 10.6-inches of ground clearance and a two-speed transfer case.

It also gets a performance-tuned version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, producing 440 horsepower and 510 pound-foot of torque. The full-size SUV features a 10-speed automatic transmission, a two-speed transfer case (meaning it has a low range), and a limited-slip rear differential. To make it easier to drive a full-size SUV down the trails, the vehicle features seven drive modes, including some settings specific for off-road and a special Trail Turn Assist feature to make it easier to turn around when the trails get too rough.