Value proposition. Hyundai vehicles have always offered a strong value proposition, and the 2019 Hyundai Tucson is no different. And while no option packages are available, the Korean automaker more than makes up for this oversight by offering the Tucson in six trim levels.
Even the base SE is hardly a stripper, with a list of standard equipment that includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic projector headlights, heated outside mirrors, keyless entry, and a 7-inch color touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto capabilities.
Top Ultimate models offer leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a heated steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a panoramic sunroof, a hands-free tailgate, keyless push button start, wireless charging, and a surround-view camera system. While these features are quickly becoming normal, all are available at less than $33,000.
The Tucson also offers buyers a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty that's the best in the business. While it isn't entirely transferable to the second owner (if sold within the original coverage period, owner No. 2 still receives five years or 60,000 miles of coverage), it does mean that the original buyer won't have to worry about certain repair bills for nearly a decade. Compared to the industry norm of three years/36,000 miles, Hyundai's warranty seems to go on forever.
Advanced safety technology. Every Hyundai Tucson comes standard with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning, while additional driver safety features like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are added by stepping up to the Value trim. Sport models and up receive LED headlights and taillights.
At the same time, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams are only offered on the Ultimate trim, but these features are standard on all Toyota RAV4 models.
Engine and powertrain lineup. Last year's up-level offering, a 175-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine has been eighty-sixed for a more powerful but less efficient 181-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder.
The old engine earned an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon combined, but this one only achieves 25 mpg combined. The bigger engine also doesn’t offer the low-end punch of the turbo and features adequate, but not particularly impressive, acceleration.
The base engine remains the same: a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder. With only 164 hp, it certainly doesn't make the Tucson feel sporty, but it does fine for those who don't jump at the chance when presented with an open on-ramp.
Both engines are matched with a six-speed automatic transmission that's mid-pack compared to the competition. The Honda CR-V has a continuously variable transmission, while the RAV4 features a more advanced eight-speed automatic.
The same goes for its optional all-wheel-drive system, which is similar in function to most other front-wheel-based systems aside from the more advanced units found on the RAV4 Adventure and Limited models.
Decent interior space. The CR-V and RAV4 may have it beat in total interior space, but the Tucson is competitive with 61.9 cubic feet of space with the rear seats down.
Additionally, with 38.2 inches of leg room in the back, slightly ahead of the RAV4’s 37.8, there's easily room for four adults to travel in all-day comfort. Three adults in the back may be a bit cramped though, so we'd recommend only having three friends if you plan on road tripping.
Additionally, the Tucson offers quite a few creature comforts for passengers in back, especially at higher trim levels. The SEL trim gets rear air conditioning vents and USB ports, while the Ultimate model offers heated rear outboard seats. Most non-luxury vehicles tend to forget those in back, so these features could make the Tucson a compelling case for families with children who have graduated from car seats.
Final thoughts. Anyone shopping for a compact crossover should include the 2019 Hyundai Tucson on their list. It comes with a long list of desirable features, an excellent warranty, and offers as much or more room than many in its class.
At the same time, those seeking a more engaging driving experience would be better served with the Mazda CX-5. The Tucson’s worst offense is numb steering. In addition, despite more power, the bigger new engine is still no match for some rivals – in particular, the Ford Escape with its 2.0-liter turbo-four that puts out 245 hp.
Finally, buyers concerned with fuel economy may want to consider the all-wheel-drive Toyota RAV4 Hybrid with its 40 mpg combined.