While the Hyundai IONIQ 5 is proving to be very popular if you’re not ready for a pure electric vehicle then the Tuscon PHEV may be an alternative you want to consider. With an EPA rated EV range of 33 miles, the Tucson PHEV is capable of covering many daily commutes purely on electric power. When it comes to towing, the Tucson PHEV is rated at 2,000 lbs which is competitive. The Tucson PHEV also offers mechanical AWD (HTRAC).
Key Hyundai Tucson PHEV Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 2,000 lbs
- Availability – Now
- Price – Starting $34,900 (SEL)
- EPA – 33 miles pure electric range
- Combined (city/highway) – 80 MPGe and 35 MPG
- Maximum Charge Rate – 3.5kW and 7kW
Hyundai Tucson PHEV HP & Torque
- AWD: Combined output of 261 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque
- 1.6L Turbo Gas Engine: 180 HP and 195 lb-ft of torque
- Electric Motor: 90 HP and 224 lb-ft of torque
Hyundai Tuscon Towing Capabilities
When it comes to electric tow cars, there is the BEV vs PHEV debate. As my attached article discusses, when it comes to towing there are pros and cons on both sides, and no a PHEV is not the ‘best of both worlds‘.
The reason I bring that up is that in this vehicle class Hyundai now sells both a BEV (IONIQ 5) and a PHEV the Tuscon. Besides, the various pros and cons of EV range reductions while towing and the reduced efficiency of a PHEV while towing on an empty battery, let’s discuss towing capacity.
Well, before I went back onto the Hyundai website to research the Tuscon PHEV I was under the impression that the IONIQ 5 after reading their press releases was rated to tow at 2,000 lbs. However, checking the Hyundai website now it appears the IONIQ 5 has been downrated (again) to tow just 1,650 lbs.
Hence, I was all ready to discuss how the Tuscan PHEV and the IONIQ 5 get the same 2,000 lb towing capacity and now that’s not the case. Therefore, if you want the more practical towing capacity from a Hyundai at this vehicle size you’ll find it from the Tuscan PHEV.
Lower Efficiency vs Mechanical All Wheel Drive
If you look at the competition for the Hyundai Tuscan PHEV, the Toyota RAV4 Prime is obviously in the conversation. However, it should be noted the RAV4 Prime is more expensive by several thousand dollars, then again it has more power (300 HP), more EV range (42 miles) and a higher towing capacity (2,500 lbs).
But what I wanted to discuss is another notable difference between the two vehicles, while the RAV4 Prime does have AWD, its purely via a separate rear electric motor rated at around 53 HP. The Hyundai Tuscan PHEV is different, it has a mechanical AWD system (HTRAC).
With the HTRAC system, up to 90% of the power can be sent to the rear axle to suit the driving conditions. Therefore, the Tuscan can send considerable more power to the rear axle than the RAV4 Prime. Depending on where you live and if you depend on AWD a lot the mechanical AWD may sway you towards the Tucson PHEV.
The downside of this mechanical AWD approach is lower efficiency figures for the Tuscon PHEV at a combined MPG figure of 35 miles compared to 38 miles in the RAV4 Prime. Though I don’t think that difference is purely down to the HTRAC system, I think its also partly down to the turbo engine found in the Tuscon vs the Atkinson cycle engine found in the RAV4 Prime.
Sufficient EV Power and Acceleration?
The Tucson PHEV is fitted with a single electric motor rated at 90HP mated to the automatic transmission. Now, if you have read my article on the Ford Escape PHEV you will know I’m not impressed with the power output of that electric motor for acceleration and its higher at 118HP.
Therefore, am I going to imply the Tuscon PHEV is also underpowered when it comes to its electric motor? Well no actually, because in the case of the Tuscon PHEV the motor makes up for its HP limitations with a decent amount of torque, 224 lb-ft to be specific.
The Ford Escape PHEV electric motor generates just 129 lb-ft of torque which results in a 0-60 time in electric power alone of around 15 seconds (seriously). Now, you cannot run the Tuscon PHEV in a pure EV mode, if you put your foot flat down, it will start the engine for a 0-60 of just under 8 seconds.
However, my point is I think the electric motor in the Tuscon PHEV is generating sufficient torque that when in EV mode and not putting your foot to the floor it should be possible to stay in EV mode most of the time until the 13.8kWh battery is depleted.
Hyundai Tucson PHEV Review
I’ve included a general review of the Tucson PHEV below by the Motormouth channel. The drivetrain and mechanical AWD of the Tucson PHEV are praised along with the host of standard features for the price point. However, what’s also discussed disappointingly is the biggest challenge at the moment, delivery delays.
My Thoughts On The Hyundai Tucson PHEV…
While the pure EV range of the Tucson PHEV is not class-leading at 33 miles, it should be sufficient for many people’s daily commutes. Furthermore, as I’ve discussed above more power from the electric motor would be nice but the motor’s torque figure is impressive.
When it comes to the towing capacity at 2,000 lbs the Tucson PHEV offers more than the Ford Escape PHEV (1,500 lbs) but less than the RAV4 Prime (2,500 lbs). Therefore, again, while not class-leading I think the Tuscon PHEV is offering reasonable capabilities for its price point.
Where the Tucson PHEV is offering something different though is with its mechanical AWD system, the Ford Escape is only FWD and while the RAV4 Prime is AWD it can only provide 54HP to the rear axle via a separate electric motor. Maybe that mechanical AWD setup in the Tucson PHEV is its key selling point.