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3/4 Front Glamour 2012 Hyundai Tucson

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Expert's Rating


MPG 20 City / 28 Highway
  • Well-designed exterior
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Refined interior
  • Spacious front seats
  • Limited cargo space
  • Could use more power
The Hyundai Tucson is a feature-laden compact crossover that combines modern exterior styling with key standard internal needs. It is a continuation of the 2012 model, which means that it still has great handling compared to the rest of the class. Unfortunately, there is no V6 option for those looking for more power, with a maximum of 176 horsepower in the four- cylinder. On the inside, all models have iPod and USB connectivity. Additionally, the interior is upmarket compared to some of its competitors, via soft-touch plastics and a modernized dual-hump dashboard design. It is a bit on the cramped side in the cargo area, so growing families should keep that in mind. On the other hand, the space has been used for creature comforts, with best-in-class rear legroom and some eight cup holders.


Passengers in the back also get their own power outlet, and those with allergies will appreciate the Hyundai Tucson’s air filter for pollen and dust. Windows, door locks and the deck lid are all powered features, though this is becoming increasingly common. Cabin storage includes door cubbyholes and space in the console, as well. Rather than use all five seats, four adults will enjoy the comfort of the seats, and rear passengers can take advantage of a fold-down armrest for longer drives.

In terms of the competition, the Subaru Forester has the best ground clearance of any compact crossover, great towing capacity and standard all-wheel drive. Fuel economy can suffer as a result, however. The Toyota Rav4 has better cargo volume, but doesn’t have as many standard features and worse fuel economy. The Nissan Rogue has a more striking exterior, but the continuously-variably transmission causes many headaches and hunts for gears.

What sticks out among compact crossovers is that the Tucson has both the features and the handling to match its handsome exterior lines.

Which Style To Buy?

2012 Hyundai Tucson
Starting price

2012 Hyundai Tucson GL

Recommended for: Young drivers who want handling but don't need all the frills

The Hyundai Tucson has an enviable feature set at one of the lowest price points. Even the GL gets power mirrors, windows and locks. It’s available with a manual, which some may actually like. Air conditioning with an air filter is standard as are numerous storage compartments and a USB-connected stereo. Safety features include electronic stability and traction control, as well as six standard airbags. The four-cylinder engine puts out about 170 HP, and is mated with a six-speed transmission powering the front wheels. It also gives the Tucson a 23/31 mileage split for city and highway driving from the 15.3 gallon tank.

2012 Hyundai Tucson
Starting price

2012 Hyundai Tucson GLS

Recommended for: Small families or those expecting children and road trippers for short jaunts

The GLS adds several features that could make it easier on families and other owners. For example, standard roof rails add the option of additional exterior storage. Satellite radio is standard, as is seatback storage. The Hyundai Tucson GLS joins the GL in having cloth seats, and as in the GL, the second row has a split bench seat. Power is slightly increased to 176 HP, while torque gets a boost to 168 ft.-lb. Yet, while the city MPG drops by one, the highway fuel economy actually improves to 32 MPG. Finally, protection is improved with a vehicle anti-theft alarm.

2012 Hyundai Tucson
Starting price

2012 Hyundai Tucson Limited

Recommended for: Owners who want to be spoiled without spending a ton of money

The Hyundai Tucson continues the GLS feature set, but replaces the cloth seats with leather. Other interior improvements include an automatic chromatic rearview mirror, and a universal garage door opener to reduce clutter. There is also a cargo area cover to reduce theft and protect groceries. Like the GLS, the Hyundai Tucson Limited also comes with available all-wheel drive, although the rest of the drivetrain is the same. In addition, it actually has a reduced payload due to the increased feature set, down more than 100 pounds.

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