Stylish Hyundai Tucson proves to be a competitive cute-ute
By Christopher A. Randazzo
When the Hyundai Tucson was launched back in 2004, it appeared to me as the ugly-duckling in the Hyundai lineup – it just was not an attractive SUV. Things got better five years later when the second-generation Tucson came out – as the Tucson started to look more attractive and appealing. Then in 2015, the current Tucson debuted – and I said it was one of the best-looking small SUV’s around. For 2019, the little Tucson gets a mid-cycle makeover that keeps it competitive as well as looking sharp.
The 2019 Hyundai Tucson receives some new styling changes upfront where it gets an updated grille and headlamps. There are also some new wheel designs along with a few new exterior colors to choose from. Inside, the cabin gets a new dashboard design, incorporating the new “iPad glued to the dash” look.
Under the hood, the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder is gone. The base engine (found in the SE and Value models) continues to be a 2.0 liter four-cylinder that makes 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Replacing the turbo engine is a 2.4 liter four-cylinder that makes 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Horsepower is up from the turbo engine (175 to 181), but torque falls (from 195 to 175).
Step inside the Tucson and a spacious cabin hosts a very nice, yet simple interior. The iPad-looking display is 7-inches except on the top-of-the-line Limited model where an 8-inch display is used. Also standard on every Tucson is Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Smartphone integration. Getting comfortable in the Tucson is easy as passenger seating in both front and back is very spacious – with the back seats being able to accommodate 6-footers with ease.
When put to work, the Tucson can carry 31 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats. Fold the rear seats down, and that space increases to almost 62 cubic feet. Not bad, but still behind the bench-mark Honda CR-V than can handle 39 cubic feet behind the back seat and 75 cubic feet when the back seat is down.
The test car that I was in was decked out in the top-of-the-line Ultimate trim level. Being the Ultimate, the Tucson was fitted with a panoramic sunroof, vented front seats, adaptive cruise control along with the larger engine and a few other high-tech luxury features. It carried a price tag of just $32,730.
On the road, the Tucson proved that its good looks are not for waste. The Tucson is a fine driving machine. The drivetrain is assertive despite the small size and the Tucson feels and handles nicely. Power is adequate – the torque from last year’s turbocharged engine is missed – but it’s not a deal breaker. Taking it through the paces, I found the Tucson to be quiet and comfortable, delivering a composed, sporty drive without being the least bit uncomfortable. Besides the shortage of power, the only other drawback I experienced with the Tucson with the below average fuel economy it delivers. Rated at 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, the Tucson isn’t as fuel efficient as one would expect.
Still, with its stylish exterior, touched off by some sharp 18” wheels, the looks of the Tucson continue to be its greatest asset. Likewise, the cabin is equally inviting and a great place to be. Add in the fact that the Tucson easily undercuts its rivals in price and offers the longest powertrain warranty in the business, and it’s easy to see why the Tucson remains a very popular and attractive compact SUV.
By The Numbers:
2019 Hyundai Tucson Limited FWD
Base Price: $31,550.00
Price as Tested: $32,730.00
Layout: front-engine / front-wheel drive
Engine: 2.4 liter four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Horsepower: 181 hp
Torque: 175 ft-lbs
EPA Fuel Economy: 22 city / 28 highway mpg
[Visit me at www.carsbycar.blogspot.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org]