$17,589 - $23,374

2018 Hyundai Tucson Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.8

Performance options for the 2018 Hyundai Tucson include a pair of powertrains and the choice between front- and all-wheel drive. In any iteration, the Tucson is comfortable, quiet, and smooth. Fuel economy is about average for the class.

  • "The Tucson is one of the more comfortable-riding models among the small SUV class, a segment that's not exactly brimming with plush riders. Equipped with either the 17-inch wheels on the SE … or the more stylish 19-inch ones on any other trim of the Tucson, it rides well. That said, the SE adds a measure of pliancy that gives it a small edge in comfort. Either way, the suspension proves absorbent and resilient. It effectively manages to buffer and mute any bump, blister, rut, or ridge. Ride motions are slow and controlled, making the Tucson feel steady and composed." -- Consumer Reports
  • 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 1.6-liter turbocharged 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." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "Once underway you'll be impressed by the Tucson's quiet and refined ride quality, something Hyundai representatives told us was a specific focus for the new crossover." -- Forbes (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The standard Tucson powertrain is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It feels polished and gets decent fuel economy (23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway). The base engine is slow to accelerate, and while many will have no issue with this, spirited drivers will likely prefer the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Mounted in the Tucson Value and Tucson Limited trims, this engine is a bit peppier and comes with a silky smooth seven-speed automatic transmission. It gets the same gas mileage as the base engine on the highway and improves fuel economy in the city by 2 mpg.

  • The base SE comes with a 2.0-liter engine that … delivers unobtrusive and predictable acceleration but feels underpowered. Requiring nearly 11 seconds to complete the 0-60 mph dash, the tardy Tucson dallies behind competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester by two seconds, a long lag. … Any Tucson that's not the base SE trim gets a 1.6-liter turbo linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual. Despite the small displacement, with the turbo's help, this engine breathes much more easily than the 2.0-liter and supplies quicker, more effortless motivation that doesn't require frequent revving." -- Consumer Reports
  • If you decide to buy a Tucson, we recommend going with the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine. Yes, the price is lower on the 2.0-liter equipped SE, but this engine is less refined and just doesn't feel powerful enough for a vehicle of this size. The turbocharged engine is peppy, smooth and respectably fuel-efficient. You might notice some rough upshifts from its transmission or even some hesitation when moving from a stop, but those are small issues that are worth overcoming for the engine upgrade." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "In virtually all circumstances, we were impressed with the Tucson's turbocharged powertrain, which offered smooth acceleration and very hushed noise levels. But what impressed us most was the standard 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. [It] … touts incredibly smooth shifting at virtually all engine speeds -- so smooth, in fact, that we think this transmission might just be the way of the future for compact crossovers and mainstream cars alike." -- Autotrader (2016)

Handling and Braking

Every Tucson comes standard with front-wheel drive and the option to add all-wheel drive. Praised for its comfortable, easygoing nature, this crossover SUV feels composed on the highway, but driving enthusiasts may find its dynamics too laid back.

  • "The Tucson is quite responsive and agile. It may not be as sporty as a Mazda CX-5 or Ford Escape, but it answers the helm promptly. Body lean is well contained." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The 2017 Hyundai Tucson's ride quality strikes a good balance between sporty and comfortable. It's composed and somewhat enjoyable around corners, but it's also relatively quiet and smooth over bumpy city roads. The base [trim] … predictably [has] a more composed ride with their 17-inch wheels, but the 19-inch wheels … are totally livable too. And though it might not be able to fit as much cargo as some of its compact rivals, the Tucson is small enough on the outside that it's a breeze to park and maneuver in tight spaces." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • The Tucson's ride and handling are to be commended too. Hyundai gave us a route that took us over broken pavement, gravel roads and questionably maintained stretches of Minnesota country highways and byways. The Tucson never put a foot wrong. It lacks the CX-5's harder edge and may not be the equal of the RAV4 or CR-V in compliance, but not so much that you miss it. It's quiet and comfortable, but capable of hustling when called upon to do so." -- Left Lane News (2016)

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