The 2018 Hyundai Tucson deserves some kind of trophy beyond the usual participation hardware. It doesn’t do anything great in our usual rated categories, but if had one for quiet dependability, it’d be rated highly.
With the Tucson, Hyundai doesn’t dazzle us with vast interior space or zippy hardware. It simply does the job of a small crossover SUV well, without stepping on its own toes, with the bonus of a big warranty safety net strung beneath it.
Priced from the mid-$20,000s, the Tucson comes in SE, SEL, Value, Eco, and Limited trim. The mid-range models being the best compromise, we give the Tucson lineup a rating of 6.8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
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p dir=”ltr”>The Tucson wears a well-tailored sheet metal suit, one without any cheap flaws or awkward lines. The grille’s a dead ringer for the front ends of other Hyundai crossovers, and from the side it’s a downsized clone of the long three-row Santa Fe. Inside, the carefully formatted cabin puts on hard plastic in base versions, but most others soften the trim, which brings out the design’s best curves and surfaces.
Base Tucson crossovers have a 164-horsepower 4-cylinder and a 6-speed automatic, but it’s not the more desirable or even the more thrifty choice. Aim instead for the upsell powertrain, Hyundai’s 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4 and its 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. It’s reasonably smooth and has a rational amount of power for its intended use, though a full load of people and cargo pushes it to its VO2 max. All-wheel drive is an option. All Tucsons have lifeless electric steering, but the suspension and tires are tuned and selected for a well-damped ride, notable on a car that’s significantly smaller than some of its biggest competition.
On that angle, the Tucson doesn’t have the big cargo space of a CR-V, but it acquits itself well in seating four passengers. There’s enough space for that number, but a fifth passenger will be unwelcome unless they’re rail-thin. The Tucson’s rear seats recline and fold down, which helps boost the available cargo space.
Every Tucson has a rearview camera, and crash-test scores have been good, but the latest safety touches are walled off in Limited models. All Tucsons have Bluetooth, touchscreen audio, and power features. Hyundai bundles other features in trim levels, so a panoramic roof, leather, navigation, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are offered–just not as options.