The Hyundai Tucson sticks to the brand’s modern-day playbook by providing a strong value with premium features, a long warranty, and looks that often exceed its price tag. However, in this hotly contested segment, this Hyundai needs to extend its focus to include power and overall refinement in order to rise to the top.
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2018 Hyundai Tucson Overview
What's New for 2018
While there are no significant mechanical or styling updates, Hyundai has updated its trim hierarchy and feature content for the Tucson. The SE with Popular Equipment Package becomes the SEL, while the SE Plus becomes the SEL Plus. The Value and Limited nomenclatures remain, while the Eco, Sport, and Night trims have been discontinued for 2018.
Choosing Your Hyundai Tucson
Depending on the trim, Hyundai equips the Tucson with one of two powertrains while all-wheel drive is available on all trims for $1,400.
The base SE, mid-level SEL, and SEL Plus trims feature a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, and a traditional six-speed automatic transmission.
The Value and Limited trims come standard with a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This combo develops 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.
The EPA estimates the 2.0-liter with standard front-wheel drive achieves 23 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway, and 26 combined. The all-wheel-drive system lowers these estimates to 21 mpg city, 26 highway, and 23 combined, which is a significant penalty when compared to its competitors. The more powerful and efficient 1.6 liter turbo model achieves 25 mpg city, 30 highway, and 27 combined while AWD reduces these EPA estimates to 24 mpg, 28, and 25 combined.
Hyundai has reconfigured the trim levels and has built in some price and feature overlap between the mid-range SEL Plus and the Value packages - meaning, the turbocharged engine doesn’t necessarily correspond with the more luxuriously equipped vehicle.
There are no factory options available on any trim, except for the top-tier Limited trim.
The Value trim is the least expensive trim available with basic active safety features. In fact, stepping up to this trim brings a fairly comprehensive feature list including the the upgraded powertrain. The Value trim, is indeed, the best in all around value - acting in the true sense of the word.
2018 Hyundai Tucson Review
Compact SUVs usually offer an ideal combination of passenger room, utility and towing capabilities. Hyundai’s Tucson represents this segment well, delivering a simple but appealing look, a comfortable ride and three four-cylinder engine choices.
The 2018 Hyundai Tucson is one of nearly a dozen models in its segment, delivering five separate grades covering a range of prices from budget-friendly to surprisingly well equipped. The Tucson SE serves as the base, while the SEL, SEL Plus, Value, and Limited round things out.
Our pick here is the Value edition as it offers, you guessed it, excellent value — not just for the Tucson, but for all small SUVs. The Tucson Value Edition offers the same 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in the top-of-the-line Limited and brings in a panoramic sunroof, a very convenient hands-free tailgate, and rear parking sensors. That’s in addition to the features offered in lower trims, including LED daytime running lights, heated front seats, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert. We'd pass on the $1,400 all-wheel-drive system unless you live in place where winter happens, as it saps two miles per gallon on the highway.
- Model: 2018 Hyundai Tucson Value
- Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
- Output: 175 hp/195 lb-ft
- Transmission:Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
- MPG: 25 city/30 highway
- Options: : All-wheel drive ($1,400)
- Base Price: $27,500
- Best Value Price:$26,500
The Tucson’s 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder delivers ample low-range power, steadily increasing as you reach highway speeds. That’s better than the base engine, which feels sluggish. The dual-clutch transmission shifts without hesitation and does so smoothly too. The powertrain is also very quiet, particularly at idle.
Steering and handling are not this model’s strong suit. Then again, small SUVs are usually not especially sporty unless you pay for it. On the other hand, ride comfort is fairly firm, yet comfortable.
In its current form, the Hyundai Tucson offers a more relaxed canvas, leaving behind the busy surfaces of the previous model. The curves are handsome, not overwrought, and impart a look that is at once sporty as it is elegant.
The Tucson borrows its design cues from the larger Santa Fe. The six-sided grille is ideally proportioned and the headlamps with LED accent lights complete its beautiful expression. This model has 19-inch sport alloy wheels, power-operated side mirrors and approach lights.
Inside, the Tucson offers two rows of seating and can fit five, although four is best. The rear seat sits upright, but a reclining feature supplies a more comfortable seating position and environment. Even tall passengers can sit in the back, although watch your head while getting in or out. Cargo space measures 30.1 cubic feet, but that’s smaller than most of the Tucson’s rivals.
Above the base SE model, the cabin offers an expected level of plastics along with soft-touch materials. The leather seats lend an upscale touch. We aren’t especially keen on the interior controls as the button and knobs look alike and that can be distracting while driving. The quiet cabin is another plus for this compact SUV.
The Best and Worst Things
Hyundai’s generous warranties, including a five-year, 60,000-mile new vehicle and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty set this brand apart from most others.
Top tech features such as dynamic bending lights and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection are restricted to the Limited trim and only as part of an optional $2,500 package.
Buyers wanting a well-equipped model without busting the bank. Small SUV models continue to grow in popularity and price, but the Value edition demonstrates that affordability is possible without sacrificing amenities.
Consumers needing maximum standard cargo space. The Tucson’s roomy rear seat comes at a price to utility space.
The Bottom Line
In the Tucson, Hyundai delivers all the right features in an affordable package and combines that with excellent warranties few rivals can match. It is a winning combination and may be enough to pull this model apart from the pack.
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