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2021 Hyundai Tucson Review

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson ranks in the middle of the compact SUV class. The Tucson has user-friendly features, a comfortable interior, composed handling, and an above-average predicted reliability rating, but lackluster engine performance and middling fuel economy hold it back.

Pros & Cons

  • Balanced ride and handling
  • Many standard features
  • Long warranty
  • Sluggish acceleration

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson's #9 ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Hyundai Tucson has a score of 7.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 29 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 6.5
Interior: 6.9
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.8 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Hyundai Tucson?

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Is the Hyundai Tucson a Good SUV?

Yes, the 2021 Hyundai Tucson is a good SUV. The Tucson has a five-seat interior with nicely contoured seats, an easy-to-use infotainment system, and lots of standard tech and safety features. It’s comfortable and relaxing to drive day to day, and there’s a decent amount of cargo space. The Tucson also rates above average for predicted reliability, and it’s backed by Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, so you can worry less about repairs down the road.

That said, engine performance is one of the few areas where the Tucson could stand to improve. Neither of its four-cylinder engine options are particularly muscular or fuel-efficient, though they are up to the task of everyday driving.

Why You Can Trust Us: 29 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 29 Hyundai Tucson reviews, as well as data points like reliability ratings and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

This 2021 Tucson review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2016.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Hyundai Tucson?

You should definitely consider the 2021 Hyundai Tucson if you’re shopping for a compact SUV, especially if you have a tighter budget. The Tucson’s $23,700 starting price makes it a relative bargain in this jam-packed segment. On the other hand, there’s no shortage of great alternatives to pick from. You may also want to check out the well-rounded Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Mazda CX-5.

Compare the Tucson, CR-V, and RAV4 »

2020 vs. 2021 Hyundai Tucson: What's the Difference?

There aren’t any major differences between the 2020 and 2021 Tucson models.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Tucson »

Here are the key changes for the Hyundai Tucson over the last few years:

  • 2016: fully redesigned (start of third generation) with updated styling, more passenger and cargo space, updated infotainment system, and more standard safety features
  • 2017: gained available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 2018: features shuffled between trims
  • 2019: turbocharged engine discontinued; updated dashboard design; Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and forward collision warning added to standard features list
  • 2020: no notable changes
  • 2021: no notable changes (final model year before full redesign)

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Tucson, 2019 Tucson, and 2020 Tucson reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Hyundai Tucson Cost?

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson has a $23,700 starting price, which is lower than average for the compact SUV class. The price rises to $32,050 for the range-topping Ultimate trim level.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

Hyundai Tucson Versus the Competition

Hyundai Tucson vs. Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage has a lot in common with the Tucson. Both of these compact SUVs are similarly sized and priced, and they are packed with many of the same tech and safety features. Both also provide composed handling, a comfortable ride, and the same lengthy warranty coverage. The Sportage emerges as the favorite though. It has nicer cabin materials than the Tucson, as well as a zesty turbocharged engine option, something the Tucson could really benefit from. We’d suggest checking out the Kia first.

Compare the Tucson and Sportage »

Hyundai Tucson vs. Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize SUV, and it sits just above the Tucson in the brand’s lineup. The Santa Fe has five seats, similar interior styling, the same excellent infotainment system, and well-rounded driving dynamics. Unlike the Tucson, however, the Santa Fe boasts a brawnier turbocharged engine option, a larger cargo area, and a heftier tow rating. The trade-off is that the Santa Fe has a higher starting price by $2,500. Opt for the Santa Fe if that extra practicality is worth it to you. Otherwise, the Tucson is still a good pick.

Compare the Tucson and Santa Fe »

Compare the Tucson, Sportage, and Santa Fe »

Tucson Interior: No Nonsense

Tucson Cargo Space

The Hyundai Tucson has 31 cubic feet of cargo space with its rear seats upright and 61.9 cubic feet with those seats folded. That’s a bit below average for a compact SUV. The Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, and Volkswagen Tiguan offer the most cargo capacity in this class.

How Many People Does the Tucson Seat?

The Hyundai Tucson is a two-row SUV with five seats. The front seats are soft and supportive, and there’s adequate headroom and legroom for most occupants. The rear seats aren’t as cushy, but they are still spacious enough for two adults or three kids to sit comfortably on short trips. The Tucson’s cabin muffles most road and wind noise, resulting in a hushed and relaxing ride. Outward visibility is good to the front and sides of the SUV, but the roof pillars limit visibility at the rear.

Cloth upholstery and manually adjustable front seats are standard. Leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

Tucson and Child Car Seats

The Tucson has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

Tucson Interior Quality

The Tucson takes some flak for its plain interior styling and numerous hard plastics. That said, the cabin feels well put together, and the overall material quality is on par with most competitors. It may not dazzle your passengers, but, for the price, it doesn’t disappoint.

Tucson Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Hyundai Tucson earns high praise for its infotainment system. The Tucson SE and Value trims are equipped with a 7-inch touch screen, while all other trims get an 8-inch touch screen. These displays are mounted high on the dashboard and within reach, making them easy to see and use while driving. Both displays have simple menus and respond promptly to inputs. There are additional buttons and knobs for the audio and climate controls as well, so you don’t have to rely on tapping the screen for every function. Better still, popular features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard in all trim levels.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, and six speakers
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, satellite radio, eight speakers, wireless device charging, and an additional USB port
  • Additional standard features: remote keyless entry
  • Other available features: proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic sunroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Tucson Performance: Slow Ride … Take It Easy

Tucson Engine

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson is offered with two engine options: a 161-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a larger 181-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is available.

Neither engine is particularly inspiring. The base 2.0-liter engine struggles to heave the Tucson up to speed and provides meager passing power on the highway. The 2.4-liter engine, found in the SEL, Sport, Limited, and Ultimate trims, delivers snappier acceleration around town, but it still feels out of breath at higher speeds. On the plus side, the six-speed transmission operates smoothly and provides quick, well-timed gear changes.

Tucson Gas Mileage

The Hyundai Tucson gets an EPA-rated 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with its base 2.0-liter engine. Models with the 2.4-liter engine gets a slightly lower 22/28 mpg city/highway. Both ratings are below average for the compact SUV class.

Tucson Ride and Handling

The Hyundai Tucson stands out as one of the most comfortable vehicles to drive in the class. Its suspension does a great job of soaking up bumps and dips in the road while still keeping the SUV stable and composed around turns. The steering feels light and direct, and the Tucson is easy to park and weave through tight city streets. It’s not especially fun to drive like the Mazda CX-5 or Ford Escape, but it is very well-mannered for everyday commuting.

Tucson Towing Capacity

The Hyundai Tucson can tow up to 2,000 pounds when equipped with its 2.4-liter engine. Tucson models with the 2.0-liter engine are rated to tow 1,500 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Tucson Reliability

Is the Hyundai Tucson Reliable?

The 2021 Tucson has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Hyundai Tucson Warranty

Hyundai covers the Tucson with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Tucson Safety

Tucson Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Hyundai Tucson an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The Tucson earned five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not tested the 2021 Tucson. However, the organization gave the nearly identical 2020 model excellent ratings across the board.

Tucson Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Driver drowsiness monitoring
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist

Available advanced safety features:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Pedestrian detection

Read more about safety »

Tucson Dimensions and Weight

The Tucson is 14.7 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,309 to 3,732 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Hyundai Tucson Built?

Hyundai builds the 2021 Tucson in South Korea.

Which Hyundai Tucson Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson is available in six trim levels: SE, Value, SEL, Sport, Limited, and Ultimate. We think the entry-level Tucson SE is a good starting point for most shoppers. It’s well-equipped with standard features like a touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and forward collision warning, and its low starting price undercuts most rivals by hundreds of dollars.

Hyundai Tucson SE

The base model Tucson SE has a $23,700 starting price, and it’s outfitted with a 161-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is a $1,400 option. Standard features include a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, projector headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, driver drowsiness monitoring, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.

Hyundai Tucson Value

The Tucson Value trim starts at $25,150 and adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated side mirrors, HD Radio, satellite radio, and proximity keyless entry.

Hyundai Tucson SEL

The Tucson SEL trim has a starting MSRP of $26,100. It comes with a 181-horsepower four-cylinder engine and adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a second-row USB port, and 18-inch wheels.

Hyundai Tucson Sport

The Tucson Sport trim starts at $28,250, and it adds wireless device charging, eight speakers, a hands-free power liftgate, LED headlights, and 19-inch wheels.

Hyundai Tucson Limited

The Tucson Limited trim retails for $29,400, and it gains leather upholstery, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view parking camera system, and a chrome grille, but it swaps the 19-inch wheels for the 18-inch.

Hyundai Tucson Ultimate

The Tucson Ultimate trim has a $32,050 starting price, and it adds an 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

See 2021 Hyundai Tucson specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson does many things well. It’s comfortable to drive and loaded with standard features, and its infotainment system is among the easiest to use on the market. There’s sufficient seating space for adults in both rows and a decent amount of cargo room in back. The Tucson’s low starting price also makes it a relative bargain in the compact SUV class. While tepid engine performance and mediocre fuel economy are drawbacks, they aren’t enough to spoil the Tucson’s overall appeal.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Hyundai Tucson ... easily gets overlooked compared to the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. But it's a viable alternative that earns high marks for its excellent infotainment system, comfortable ride and roomy interior. It also costs thousands of dollars less than similarly equipped rivals, ensuring you can get a competitive small SUV at a budget-friendly price. The Tucson doesn't have many downsides, though both of its available engines are lackluster in terms of fuel economy and acceleration." -- Edmunds
  • "We would never call the Tucson the most dynamic or fun-to-drive crossover, but it does offer up a handy bit of utility and comfort at a relatively low price point." -- Autoblog (2020)
  • "The … Hyundai Tucson is a compact-crossover SUV, vying for the same buyers as the ever-popular Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, and the highly rated Mazda CX-5. Where the Tucson makes its case is with a generous amount of standard equipment and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 8, 2020

Tepid Sales: Like many cars and SUVs, Hyundai Tucson sales aren’t surging this year. To date in 2020, dealerships have moved 11.4 percent fewer Tucson models than during the same period in 2019. The Tucson is selling in the middle of the compact SUV class, with segment-leading Toyota RAV4 outselling it about 3 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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