2023 Hyundai SUV road-trip ready

Tucson Hybrid stands out as stylish, comfortable.

Horse and buggies. Cows in the road. Dirt roads. That’s what this week’s tester had to contend with as I took the 2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid on a road trip to Ohio’s Amish country.

On a romantic getaway with my girlfriend, we loaded up the Tucson for a long weekend to central Ohio where we enjoyed the peace and tranquility of Ohio’s Amish country. Between the clip clop of the Amish-driven horse and buggies and the rolling hills, the Tucson was put to a good test. Not to mention the detours on alleged “county roads” that were muddy, non-paved roads. Not to mention dodging runaway cows that were in the road.

Nevertheless, the Tucson Hybrid came out unscathed and was truly the ideal vehicle for this trip. And that hybrid powerplant was good to keep our fuel costs down, which is great as gas stations in Amish country are few and far between.

For the 2023 model year, there’s very little changed from the ‘22 model. The front end is well-designed with distinctive elements like the meshy grille with winged-like shape. The LED headlights are seamlessly integrated into this shape and part of the standout styling of this SUV. The hood indentations are another attractive element.

On the C-Pillar, there’s a design element that gives a floating roofline look that also complements the aesthetics of this SUV. Arrowhead-shaped taillights complete the look of one of the best-looking SUVs on the road. With so many of today’s five-passenger SUVs lacking distinction, the Tucson has plenty.

The Tucson Hybrid, treated totally different from the non-hybrid version, has two engine options: a standard hybrid with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), which also has a small electric motor that can be plugged in and provide small EV-only range of 33 miles. My tester was the straight hybrid, which has 226 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. I still could outperform the one-horsepower Amish buggies on the road.

All joking aside, this SUV was amply powered and with all-wheel drive it handled some navigation missteps — along with the dirt-road detours we made. It also rained a lot and the SUV handled muddy, uncertain terrain confidently. The six-speed automatic transmission actually didn’t disappoint even though I came in wanting to dislike it.

We put over 500 miles on our long weekend trip, which included a stop in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It required one fill up of gasoline total with an average of 36 mpg. That’s the benefit of having hybrids. While some may be leery of them, shake off those concerns and enjoy a properly powered SUV that gives you better fuel economy.

My tester had an EPA rating of 37 mpg/city and 36 mpg/highway. Who wouldn’t take that?

The interior was comfortable with enough soft touchpoints to open my girlfriend’s eyes to this being in contention for her next vehicle. The integration with Apple CarPlay and my phone was great. Allowing for music playlists and Waze to work together and giving me an outstanding experience.

The seats were comfortable. The back seat will fit three adults comfortably, making this a legitimate five-person SUV. Note, I would probably not drag three adults in the back seat for a longer trip like the one we were on, but around town the comfort would be fine. Otherwise, for longer trips, keep the occupancy to four adults.

Sometimes hybrid vehicles have to forego cargo room to make space for their battery pack. That’s not the case with the Tucson Hybrid, which has impressive cargo room behind the rear seats. There’s 38.7 cubic feet of space, which gave us so much room for our bags and also allowed us to put more stuff from the Amish markets we stopped by. Had we folded the rear seats down, it would’ve yielded 74.5 cubic feet of space. But alas, we didn’t buy that much Amish baked goods to need that kind of cargo room. But it’s nice to know it’s there if you need it.

My tester was the Tucson Limited with a base price of $38,660. With some added packages, the price went just north of $40,000.

All in all, the 2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid proved to be an ideal companion on this trip. Through beautiful landscapes, twisty turns and rolling hills, the Tucson held its own and provided comfort and technology. I’m just glad we saw the cows in the road far enough in advance, otherwise this road trip might’ve ended differently. As such it was a great time!

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

Price/As tested price................................................ $38,660/$41,310

Mileage.......................................... 37 mpg/city; 36 mpg/hwy

Engine............................................. 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder hybrid

Horsepower................................. 226 hp/258 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. Six-speed automatic

Drive Wheels................ All-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ Montgomery, AL

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