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Range Finder: 2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV!

2022-11-16

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Author: David Booth - www.driving.ca

Almost universally, when automakers choose to engineer a plug-in hybrid, they combine electric powertrain -- battery and motor -- with an Atkinson-cycle internal combustion engine. Without getting too technical, the Atkinson-cycle is just a plain ole internal combustion engine that holds the intake valve open longer, with some of the incoming fuel/air mixture actually reversing course and heading back to the intake manifold. As you can imagine, that reduces power somewhat.

But it is significantly more efficient. The combination of electric motors and Atkinson-cycle would seem obvious. Despite its paucity of power, the Atkinson is the most fuel efficient of internal combustion engines and, of course, an electric motor consumes no gasoline at all. And, since the whole point of a PHEV is maximum economy and minimal emissions, the twinning of the two is the best one can get and still have pistons whirring about. Like I said, a seemingly obvious combination. Not to Hyundai it would seem.

The odd couple
Its latest PHEV, the compact 2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV, is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre inline four. It's a perky little beast and, perhaps more importantly, a more pleasant powertrain. Where an Atkinson cycle four -- like the 2.5-litre jobbies in Toyota's RAV4 Prime and Ford's Escape plug-in hybrid -- are loud, raucous teenage kegger-like affairs in their raucous engines, the Hyundai's little turbocharged four is a gentile dinner party in comparison. Indeed, I often struggled to perceive when the 1.6-litre was taking over propulsion duties from the electric motor so quiet is its valvetrain. Compared with the cacophony that is a big Atkinson-cycled four, Hyundai's 1.6L is positively, well, electric. Throw in a conventional six speed automatic rather than the standard-for-hybrids CVT and you have an SUV that feels completely 'normal' despite plugging it in every night.

The numbers, man, the numbers
Of its own accord, the 1.6T produces some 180 horsepower. Mated to a 66.9-kilowatt electric motor, the whole shoot-and-shebang is good for 261-hp and 258 pound-feet of torque, decent numbers both. However, they pale in comparison to the aforementioned RAV4 Prime. For the Toyota, the combination of 2.5L four and two electric motors is, at 302-hp, decidedly more powerful. The RAV4 Prime is also the quickest accelerating vehicle in its lineup -- save the Supra which is built by BMW -- accelerating to 100 kilometres an hour in about six seconds, a full second or more faster than the plug-in Tucson. More pleasant the Tucson may be, but the RAV4 is a powerhouse.

But we don't buy PHEVs for their performance!
True dat. Here, the Tucson does a fair job of offsetting the high cost of gasoline, though, again not quite as good a job as the RAV4 Primes. For the record, the Tucson's battery holds 13.8 kilowatt hours of go-juice which Hyundai says is good for 53 kilometres of electric driving. By way of comparison, the RAV4 Prime's 18.1 kilowatt-hours is rated for 68 kilometres.

Continue reading HERE!

Source: https://driving.ca/reviews/road-test/range-finder-2022-hyundai-tucson-phev

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