Now in its third generation, Hyundai’s compact crossover, the Tucson, is attractive and affordable. For 2017, it adds some additional technology, although those features are available only on upper trim levels.

Pricing and Equipment

Starting at $23,595 (destination charge included) for the base SE model, Tucson also comes in SE Plus, Eco, Sport, and Limited trim. The SE relies on a 2.0-liter inline-four that makes 164 horsepower, mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. Upper models use a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 175 hp and 195 pound-feet of torque, driving a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front-drive is standard, and all-wheel drive adds $1,400 to any Tucson.

The Tucson SE comes with:

  • 2.0-liter engine and six-speed automatic
  • Rearview camera
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Satellite radio
  • Air conditioning
  • Automatic headlights
  • Five-inch touchscreen
  • Tilt/telescopic steering wheel
  • Odor/stain-resistant cloth upholstery

Stepping up to Eco trim ($25,045) adds the turbocharged engine. Sport adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Performance Pros

  • Passengers should enjoy refined ride comfort.
  • Turbocharged engine, standard in all but SE trim, not only offers more power for greater driving confidence, but is more fuel-efficient than the base four-cylinder.

Performance Cons

  • Overall performance is disappointing, especially with the base engine. Even the turbo may feel a bit sluggish in urban driving, or when the Tucson is fully loaded.
  • Ride and handling fall short of sporty. Steering is competent and predictable, if lacking in road feel. Poor pavement stretches can turn the ride harsh, or even jarring.
  • Marginal fuel economy with base (SE) engine. Turbo engine is more thrifty, delivering an EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway in Eco trim with front-drive. Turbo Sport and Limited models are less frugal.

Interior Pros

Hyundai Tucson
  • Four adults can travel in comfort. Those in back gets good leg space, as well as a reclining seatback. Front seats are comfortable and supportive.
  • Dashboard focuses on functionality and logical layout, not flashiness, in a quiet cabin that emphasizes elegant simplicity. Analog instruments and actual buttons blend with a digital screen that employs simple graphics.
  • Comparatively slim windshield pillars help provide excellent visibility for the driver.

Interior Cons

  • SE and Eco cabins look somewhat cut-rate – with considerable hard plastic interior trim in the base SE version.
  • Dashboard switches are similar in size, making it a bit difficult to tell which is which.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Although Tucson doesn’t provide as much cargo space as some rivals, it offers an interesting innovation. The cargo floor may be lowered by 2 inches, to ease loading of heavier items. Top trim levels also get an automatic power liftgate.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Though some active safety features are available, Hyundai offers them only on upper trim levels. Even the Limited needs an option group for features like automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning.

The Bottom Line

Carefully assembled and sensibly designed, the Tucson carries on Hyundai’s reputation for value and overall economy. Even the base SE model is reasonably well-equipped. Still, such extras as navigation and emergency braking add considerably to the prices of upper trim levels.