NEW FOR 2018
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now available on the 7.0-inch center display and heated seats and a heated steering wheel are offered on more trims. When equipped, Blue Link Connected Care, Remote Services and Guidance is now free for three years.
The Tucson is positioned above the new subcompact Kona crossover and below the larger and more expensive two-row Santa Fe Sport and three-row Santa Fe crossover.
2018 Tucson SE: The Base SE trim comes standard with a 2.0-liter I-4 engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, a 5.0-inch center touchscreen, a 3.5-inch LCD driver’s instrument panel display, and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with audio, cruise, and phone controls.
2018 Tucson SEL: The SEL trim adds quite a bit more equipment including a 7.0-inch center touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM satellite radio, heated front seats, a drive mode selector, roof rails, LED daytime running lights, and eight-way power driver’s seat.
2018 Tucson Value: The Value trim replaces the 2.0-liter with a 1.6-liter turbo-four engine, and adds 19-inch wheels, a hands-free power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, LED map lights, rear parking sensors, proximity key with push-button ignition, blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, lane change assist, premium front and rear fascias, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and dual automatic climate control.
2018 Tucson SEL Plus: Building off the SEL’s features, the SEL Plus adds a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, leather upholstery, an eight-way power passenger’s seat, an Infinity premium audio system, rear-seat air vents, Blue Link Connected Car system (including Guidance for navigation), auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a premium instrument panel, door panels, and window switches. The SEL Plus utilizes the 2.0-liter I-4 engine.
2018 Tucson Limited: The top Limited trim packs the 1.6-liter turbo-four and adds LED headlights and tail lights, a heated steering wheel, and a chrome grille and exterior door handles.
The Ultimate package offered on the Limited trim adds luxury and safety with steering-responsive HID headlights, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, rear parking sensors, a panoramic moonroof, a 4.2-inch driver’s instrument panel display, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.
PERFORMANCE AND FUEL ECONOMY
The 2018 Tucson’s base engine is a 164-hp, 151-lb-ft of torque 2.0-liter I-4 that delivers an EPA-rated 23/30 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 21/26 mpg with all-wheel drive. The upgraded 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4 engine produces 175 hp and 195-lb-ft of and is rated at 25/30 mpg with FWD and 24/28 mpg with AWD. The 2.0-liter is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission and the 1.6-liter turbo-four gets paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. In Motor Trend testing, the Tucson Limited with AWD hit 60 mph in a respectable 7.9 seconds and stopped from 60 mph in 120 feet.
The 2018 Hyundai Tucson received the highest five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. The Tucson is also considered a 2018 Top Safety Pick from the IIHS because the crossover received the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests and the highest rating of Superior for the front crash prevention test for avoiding both a 12- and 25-mph frontal collision thanks to the optional automatic emergency braking system found in the Ultimate package for the Limited model. Blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert and keep assist are standard on the SEL Plus, Value, and Limited trims and the aforementioned Ultimate package also consists of lane departure warning.
UTILITY (CARGO SPACE AND INTERIOR ROOM)
The Hyundai Tucson can hold up to 31.0 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 61.9 with the rear seats folded down. The Ford Escape tops the Tucson with 34.0 and 68.0 cubic feet, respectively. Legroom for the front passengers measures at 41.5 inches and 38.2 inches for the rear passengers.
The base Tucson is equipped with a 5.0-inch center touchscreen and a 3.5-inch LCD driver’s instrument panel display. The SEL trim adds more tech with a drive mode selector, a larger 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, and HD radio. In the SEL Plus, the screen size is increased to 8.0 inches and an Infinity premium audio system is added. The Blue Link Connected Car package offers services like automatic collision notification, SOS emergency assistance, and a vehicle monthly health report. The Remote package uses an app that can remote start your car (and adjust climate control), lock/unlock doors, honk the horn, find your vehicle in a parking lot, and several other services.
WHAT WE THINK
In a Big Test comparison among nine compact crossovers, the Tucson Limited AWD fared well and earned third place. Keeping it from first place was the powertrain’s slow throttle response, the high price tag, a small backseat, and a somewhat harsh ride. We said, “Our first podium finisher is the Hyundai Tucson. We all liked its upscale cabin, its around-town road manners, and its solid safety scores, but all that doesn’t quite justify the high Tucson’s high price.” “With a little refinement in that powertrain, we’d have had a much harder time picking our top two.”
In a First Test review of the base SE trim and the top Limited trim, we liked the acceleration of the Limited model but not the slow acceleration of the base model with the 2.0-liter engine. Both engines have the same slow throttle response issue. The crossover offers a stiff ride but handles corners well. Inside, the Limited “is nicely appointed with a laundry list of standard features. Its 8-inch BlueLink information and entertainment screen is intuitive and responsive with crisp graphics. The materials are good quality, and the vehicle feels worthy of its price tag.”
On the other hand, “the SE, on the other hand, feels like the cheapest SUV option at the rental counter. All of the fancier safety features are options, just like the conveniences. The monotone coloring, cheap-feeling materials, and dearth of features were disappointments. The rough plastic steering wheel drew considerable rebuke.” Regardless, both vehicles are quiet inside, comfortable, and have good visibility. We concluded by saying, “The new Tucson offers a nice upgrade with more space and some of the best styling in the class from the outgoing model. Should you be willing to pay for it, you can add more features than most competitors while maintaining class-competitive fuel economy and performance. In terms of how it drives, we find the new Tucson to be average, but if that matters less to you than features and style, you’ll find plenty to like.”