hyundai tucson 2022 review: highlander n line diesel awd long-term | part 4
Our Tucson has a turbo-diesel engine, but is it a better buy than the petrol and turbo-petrol? (image: Tung Nguyen)

Variety might be the spice of life, but too much choice can lead to confusion.

If it wasn’t bad enough trying to work out what you want in your burrito (chicken, beef, shredded pork, beans, fish, plant-based protein, tofu, etc), well, you also have a decision between three powertrains with the Hyundai Tucson.

As we’ve stated in previous reviews, the base engine is a 2.0-litre petrol with 115kW/192Nm, the mid-spec version is a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine with 132kW/265Nm, and our top-spec car comes with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel delivering 137kW/416Nm.

But aside from varying outputs, what are the tangible differences between the engines?

Luckily, I’ve spent some time in a base 2.0-litre car recently to see if the seat-of-the-pants feel is any different from the diesel, and whether you should stump up the extra cash for the oil burner.

The first thing you have to consider is that the 2.0-litre engine is available in front-wheel drive guise only, while the diesel offers up all-wheel drive traction. So, if the driven wheels are a deal-breaker for you, you can stop reading now (but you should probably keep going!)

However, the benefit of being front-drive is less kerb weight, with the petrol nearly 250kg lighter than the diesel.

hyundai tucson 2022 review: highlander n line diesel awd long-term | part 4
Variety might be the spice of life, but too much choice can lead to confusion. (image: Tung Nguyen)

This affords the Tucson with the 2.0-litre engine a similar power-to-weight ratio as the more potent and turbocharged diesel, at 75.3kW per tonne versus 77.3kW/T.

What’s all this mean in the real world? Well, the two engines perform much closer off-the-line than you might expect.

Both engines need to be worked at a bit to get them into their sweet spot, with the 2.0-litre working hard to make its peak power at 6200rpm, and the diesel needing to overcome its low-end gruffness and laggy turbo before providing you with a good shove.

This means both engines are a little gruff and unrefined when trying to come away from a set of traffic lights at speed, so keep that in mind. But when travelling at speeds below 60km/h in the inner-city during childcare drop off, the differences between both engines are negligible.

hyundai tucson 2022 review: highlander n line diesel awd long-term | part 4
The diesel is offered in Elite and Highlander variants only. (Elite pictured. Image: Tung Nguyen)

What is noticeable, however, is when you get out onto the freeway. And that’s because the petrol engine is fitted with a six-speed automatic, while the diesel has eight ratios to play with.

That means at 100km/h, the diesel is at a much lower RPM, and the cabin is quieter and more civilised.

That isn’t to say the petrol engine isn’t comfortable at freeway speeds, but the 2.0-litre definitely feels like it’s working harder.

This also has an effect on fuel economy, with the diesel returning a 6.3L/100km figure compared with the petrol’s 8.1L/100km stated claim for the combined cycle.

hyundai tucson 2022 review: highlander n line diesel awd long-term | part 4
At 100km/h, the diesel is at a much lower RPM, and the cabin is quieter and more civilised. (image: Tung Nguyen)

In the real world we achieved figures of 8.6 and 10.1L/100km for the diesel and petrol respectively.

And these numbers are definitely felt at the bowser, with diesel prices at the time of writing surpassing petrol.

In fact, this skews the cost equation of spending more up-front on a diesel to save more at the bowser.

Quick back of the envelope maths reveals that to recoup the $6000 price premium on the diesel engine, you would have to travel over 500,000km before the fuel savings in the oil-burner start to make sense.

hyundai tucson 2022 review: highlander n line diesel awd long-term | part 4
In the real world we achieved figures of 8.6 and 10.1L/100km for the diesel and petrol respectively. (image: Tung Nguyen)

And if it’s a factor of equipment level, well, the petrol can be had in base, unnamed Tucson form, Elite and Highlander, while the diesel is offered in Elite and Highlander variants only.

The sporty N Line upgrade pack is also available to all Tucsons, so gear will be comparable across both engines, as will aesthetics.

One final thing to consider is that diesels are quickly falling out of favour as the world transitions to an electric future.

It makes buying a new diesel-powered SUV in 2022 a bit of a hard recommendation, as the current (or soon to be current) crop of vehicles that are available now are likely to the last generation of vehicles offered with oil-burning power.

hyundai tucson 2022 review: highlander n line diesel awd long-term | part 4
The 2.0-litre engine is available in front-wheel drive guise only. (Elite pictured. Image: Tung Nguyen)

We’ve already seen the likes of the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander and Subaru Forester abandon diesel engines in recent years, so how much longer before the Hyundai Tucson joins their ranks?

If Hyundai serves up a hybrid version of the Tucson locally – whether that is with a series-parallel like Toyota’s RAV4 or a plug-in hybrid like the Mitsubishi Outlander – that would easily be the go-to for the 2023 Tucson range.

But as it stands, we reckon the figures don’t quite stack up for the diesel-powered Tucson, and you should opt for petrol. Either the base 2.0-litre, if FWD will do you, or the 1.6-litre turbo if you absolutely must have AWD.

The only advantage the diesel engine affords is the prodigious driving range, superior torque figure and a better braked towing capacity. But in everyday scenarios, we’d pick a petrol Tucson.

hyundai tucson 2022 review: highlander n line diesel awd long-term | part 4
Buying a new diesel-powered SUV in 2022 a bit of a hard recommendation. (image: Tung Nguyen)

Acquired: March 2022

Distance travelled this month: 764km

Odometer: 5937km

Average fuel consumption for July: 8.6L/100 (measured at the pump)

MOTOR'S NEWS RELATED

Join Road & Track and Car and Driver on Our Annual Car of the Year Tests

Check out today's coolest new cars alongside editors at Performance Car of the Year, Lightning Lap, and 10Best Awards.

View more: Join Road & Track and Car and Driver on Our Annual Car of the Year Tests

Satisfying Subaru SUVs That People Love Driving and Owning

Satisfying Subaru SUVs that people love driving include the 2022 Crosstrek The 2022 Forester is another Satisfying Subaru SUV that people love Don’t overlook the 2022 Outback for a stress-free driving experience Subaru makes a reliable and safe sport utility vehicle, but that’s not all. These Satisfying Subaru SUVs ...

View more: Satisfying Subaru SUVs That People Love Driving and Owning

Holiday Rambler Eclipse RV Debuts With Theater Seats, Drop-Down Loft

It’s available with three different floor plans.

View more: Holiday Rambler Eclipse RV Debuts With Theater Seats, Drop-Down Loft

Genesis prices 2023 G80 electric car at $81,000, expands EVs to more states

Genesis on Thursday expanded the breadth and availability of its electric car lineup on its path to becoming a fully electric automaker by 2030. The luxury brand’s newest car, the 2023 Electrified Genesis G80, will cost $80,920 (including a $1,095 destination fee) when it goes on sale in September. The ...

View more: Genesis prices 2023 G80 electric car at $81,000, expands EVs to more states

This C5 Corvette Turned Off-Roader Could be Yours For Small Bucks

Photo: Caleb Hodshire/Facebook Fans of the Chevrolet Corvette and off-road vehicles now have a golden opportunity to combine their two passions for a small amount of money. A tuning enthusiast in Illinois, who specializes in Corvette conversions, is selling on Marketplace a fifth-generation (C5) 1999 Corvette built to venture ...

View more: This C5 Corvette Turned Off-Roader Could be Yours For Small Bucks

Audi heads to F1, 2025 Cadillac Celestiq, 2023 Electrified Genesis G80: Today's Car News

Audi confirmed it will enter F1 for the 2026 season. The automaker will team with a thus far unknown chassis partner to provide power units that will be built in Germany and run on synthetic fuel. Alfa Rome announced it will split with Sauber, and all points sign to Audi ...

View more: Audi heads to F1, 2025 Cadillac Celestiq, 2023 Electrified Genesis G80: Today's Car News

Genesis expands GV60, an electric SUV, availability to four more US states

Where is the Genesis GV60 available to buy Electrek’s Take Now might be your chance if you’ve been waiting to buy the Genesis GV60 EV SUV. The Korean luxury automaker announced Tuesday that its flagship electric SUV, the GV60, will be available in four more US states starting in ...

View more: Genesis expands GV60, an electric SUV, availability to four more US states

Our Long-Term 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Is off to an Unforgettable Start

With our 668-hp, six-speed-manual sports sedan, the highs are high, and the lows are low.

View more: Our Long-Term 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Is off to an Unforgettable Start

Dodge goes electric in style | Autoblog Podcast #744

Tested: Best Car Vacuums for 2022

China: Power to the people or to the carmakers?

Tesla premium connectivity through Starlink V2 confirmed

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning strapped to dyno despite challenges

1983 DeLorean DMC-12 with 5,397 miles for sale

Numbers of Koenigsegg CC850s increase to 70 due to high demand

Tech Deep Dive: What Makes the New Porsche GT3 RS the Most Extreme 911 Ever

4 Terrible 2022 Subcompact SUVs That Consumer Reports Predicts Owners Will Hate

Xiaomi in talks with BAIC to produce electric cars, says Bloomberg

Audi Has Decided to Enter Formula 1 in 2026 After Much Speculation

North Dakota Swing Ahead For WoO: What To Watch For

OTHER MOTO NEWS