Eco-friendly mid-size SUVs not coming to Australia, thanks to European production that would drive up prices.
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The 2022 Hyundai Tucson hybrid and plug-in hybrid won't come to Australia, the brand has confirmed – despite rapidly-growing sales of its closest rival, the strong-selling Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

A Hyundai Australia spokesperson told CarAdvice both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of the new Tucson mid-size SUV won't be offered in Australia, thanks to European-only right-hand-drive production that would make them exceedingly expensive versus their rivals Down Under.

"We aren’t selling Tucson Hybrid because the vehicle is currently built only in the Czech Republic. The Tucsons we will be selling in Australia are built in Ulsan, South Korea," said a Hyundai Australia representative.

"Although we have sourced models from the Czech Republic in the past – including ix35 – currently the exchange rate works against us heavily, as do the shipping costs, and these factors make the business case unviable.

"We always look at the possibilities of importing vehicles from a variety of plants – we currently source i30 N from the Czech Republic and will soon be taking i20 N from Turkey. But with the Tucson we can’t make the numbers work."

Top and below: US-market Hyundai Tucson plug-in hybrid. Above: European-market Hyundai Tucson Hybrid.

While the Tucson Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid are off the table for now, Hyundai Australia suggests that should exchange rates and other costs tip in our favour, the eco-friendly Tucson models could make their way to Australia.

"The vehicle will be a fantastic performer and would be a strong player in this market against its key rivals, but at this point we won’t be taking either the hybrid or the plug-in hybrid," the spokesperson concluded.

Ensuring competitive pricing is key to success in the mid-size hybrid SUV category in Australia, given an entry-level Toyota RAV4 Hybrid can be had locally for as little as $37,070 before on-road costs (or around $41,000 drive-away, depending on state) – just $2375 more than its petrol-only, front-wheel-drive equivalent.

On the plug-in hybrid front, pricing for the MG HS Plug-in Hybrid starts from $46,990 drive-away, with the Chinese SUV available locally in a sole, fully-loaded variant, comparable on features to the range-topping Tucson Highlander.

Other electrified mid-size SUV competitors range from the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Subaru Forester Hybrid, to the upcoming Ford Escape and Peugeot 3008 plug-in hybrids due in early 2022 and the second half of 2021 respectively.

Hyundai will import a hybrid version of the larger Santa Fe to Australia later this year, likely thanks to the availability of right-hand-drive production alongside its standard counterpart in South Korea.

Powering the Tucson Hybrid is a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine paired to a 44kW electric motor, sending 169kW to the front or all wheels for combined fuel economy of 5.7L/100km – 0.1L/100km less than a flagship, front-wheel-drive Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, according to stricter European WLTP testing measurements.

Meanwhile, the Tucson Plug-in Hybrid mates an uprated 67kW/304Nm electric motor and a 13.8kWh battery to the 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine to produce 195kW, sent to all wheels as standard through a six-speed automatic transmission (shared with the Hybrid).

Hyundai claims an all-electric driving range on the WLTP test cycle of 56 kilometres. Combined fuel economy figures for the PHEV have yet to be confirmed.

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is on sale now in Australia in petrol-only guise. Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest on the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models.