The 2019 Hyundai Tucson gets a midcycle makeover this year, streamlining its engine choices while offering more features that help it remain competitive. The Tucson’s aggressive good looks help it compete against similar sized SUVs like the Mazda CX-5 and the Ford Escape, although it is not as roomy on the inside as the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. What the Tucson lacks in size, however, it more than makes up for in features, offering no less than six different trim levels ranging from basic to near-luxury.
The Tucson is available with a choice of two fuel-efficient engines, optional all-wheel drive and a long list of features to meet just about any need. Although some in this class offer a bit more in terms of fuel economy, ride and handling, the Tucson can tout unique features like wireless cell phone charging, excellent resale values and impressive standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Yet while the Tucson has proven itself worthy on paved roads, it can’t really tackle off-road obstacles in the same manner as the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk or the Subaru Forester — something to consider if you do a lot of outdoor activities.
What’s New for 2019?
For 2019, the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is dropped, replaced by a 2.4-liter normally aspirated 4-cyinder. Heated side mirrors and rear USB ports are available on the SEL trim and up, while forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist and driver attention warning are now standard. New features include a wireless charging pad, adaptive cruise control, high beam assist and a surround view monitor. HID headlights are dropped in favor of the expanded LED headlight package. The Tucson’s CD player has gone the way of the cassette deck and the dodo bird. See the 2019 Hyundai Tucson models for sale near you
What We Like
Lots of features; a wide range of standard and optional safety equipment; a smooth ride; stylish interior and exterior; better pricing structure this year
What We Don’t
Somewhat generic driving experience; not much guts with the 2.0-liter engine; navigation option reserved for the most expensive trim; middle of the road fuel economy numbers
The Tucson offers two power plants. Base-level SE and Value use a 161-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive or AWD. FWD models return 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while opting for AWD drops gas mileage numbers to 22 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.
All other trims are powered by a 181-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. Fuel economy with this engine tops out at 22 mpg city/28 mpg hwy with FWD, 21 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with AWD.
Standard Features & Options
The Tucson is offered in six trim levels: SE, Value, SEL, Sport, Limited and Ultimate. All trims come standard with FWD, but can be outfitted with AWD.
The Tucson SE ($24,245, FWD) ($25,645, AWD) is fairly basic, though it includes a few useful convenience features. Standard equipment includes a backup camera, air conditioning, 17-in alloy wheels, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth, a 7-in touchscreen audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic headlights, USB port for an iPod — all items that are also included in most of the car’s rivals. Standard safety equipment includes forward-collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist and driver attention warning. The standard engine is the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder paired with a 6-speed automatic.
The Value ($25,695, FWD) ($27,095, AWD) adds blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, an 8-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar, heated side mirrors, proximity key entry, heated front seats and 3-year trial to Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics services.
The SEL ($26,645, FWD) ($28,045, AWD) adds the 2.4-liter engine, 18-in alloy wheels, rear seat vents, rear seat USB port and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The Sport ($28,745, FWD) ($30,145, AWD) adds LED headlights and taillights, Qi wireless phone charging, 19-in alloy wheels, a hands-free smart lift gate and a 315-watt, 8-speaker Infinity audio system.
The Limited ($29,945, FWD) ($31,345, AWD) gets 18-in alloy wheels, a surround view monitor, leather seats, a heated steering wheel, a power front passenger seat, side mirror turn signal indicators and auto high beams.
The Ultimate ($32,595, FWD) ($33,995, AWD) adds navigation, a panoramic sunroof, rain sensing wipers, collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop/go feature, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
The 2019 Hyundai Tucson offers virtually every modern high-tech safety feature you might expect from a car in this class. Standard features include side-curtain airbags, a backup camera, anti-lock brakes, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning and driver attention warning. Available assists include a blind spot monitoring system, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert and a surround view monitor.
In crash tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2019 Tucson its highest rating of 5 stars overall, with 5 stars in the front- and side-impact tests and 4 stars in the rollover test. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Tucson its highest rating of Good in all crash tests and Superior in the crash avoidance and mitigation test, earning the model a Top Safety Pick award.
Behind the Wheel
On the road, the Tucson is something of a mixed bag, though we suspect most crossover shoppers will appreciate the majority of what it has to offer. The Tucson touts a comfortable ride, predictable handling and, if you opt for the new 2.4-liter engine (as most drivers will), a tremendously smooth engine-and-transmission combination. In all, we think the Tucson offers one of the most pleasurable, supple rides in the compact-crossover segment.
Where the "mixed bag" remark comes in is for drivers who enjoy spending time behind the wheel. The Tucson isn’t especially fun to drive, as acceleration is mediocre with either engine, and steering — while suitable for the Tucson — isn’t exactly exciting. So while we think most drivers will appreciate the Tucson for its comfortable, smooth ride, those looking to have fun will probably want to consider another model with more power and improved handling.
As for visibility, interior room and cargo space, we found the Tucson to be roughly on par with other models in its segment: It’s not a standout, but it’s far from being the worst in its class.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Ford Escape — The Escape recently got a complete makeover, offering a choice of new turbocharged engines as well as an improved feature set. We think the Escape delivers a more dynamic driving experience but has a more cramped interior.
2019 Honda CR-V — The Honda CR-V offers a lot of technology and the same smooth, comfortable ride as the Tucson. We’d be sure to add it to our shopping list, too. Its turbocharged engine is standard on all but the base trim.
2019 Mazda CX-5 — If you like the Tucson’s equipment and fuel economy but want better handling and performance, the CX-5 is the way to go. It offers all the usual compact-crossover charm with an improved suspension and steering for a more enjoyable driving experience. There’s also a turbocharged engine option.
Used Hyundai Santa Fe Sport — Drivers who like the Tucson’s many attributes (including Hyundai’s excellent 10-year warranty) but need a little more interior space may want to consider the Santa Fe Sport, which offers everything we like about the Tucson in a larger package.
Although it’s a little pricey, the Tucson Limited is our favorite model in the lineup. It offers an impressive array of equipment teamed with a smooth engine and transmission, a high-quality interior and a supple ride. If the Limited is too much, go with the SEL. The 2.0-liter engine just isn’t very powerful and doesn’t work all that well in this car. Find a Hyundai Tucson for sale