Popular Tags Cars

2018 Hyundai Tucson

$22,550 - $30,825
Price Range (MSRP)
Hyundai Tucson

2018 Hyundai Tucson Review

by Roger Biermann

While we wouldn't want to win the Superbowl and drive off in a Tucson just yet, the third generation of Hyundai's compact SUV is becoming more and more compelling for family buyers. There's a lot to like, from the high available specification to the cavernous interior, and of course, Hyundai's mammoth drivetrain warranty that ought to last longer than you'll own the Tucson. Three years on from the launch of this third generation Tucson, it's a compelling offering, but faces tough competition from the likes of the Honda CR-V. For 2018 there are three engines available, with a base 164-horsepower 2.0-liter carrying over from last year, as is a 175-hp 1.6T, but new to the line-up is a 181-hp 2.4-liter. Engines are mated to either a six-speed automatic or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with front- or all-wheel drive available. Priced from $22,550 to $30,825 it undercuts many rivals with similar specification levels.

2018 Hyundai Tucson Changes: What’s the difference vs 2017 Tucson?

2018's major updates are really just a reshuffling of equipment and trim lines, with last year's SE Popular Equipment package becoming a trim line of its own under the SEL tag. What's more, is that all models besides the base SE get a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The SE Plus offering, introduced late last year has been renamed the SEL Plus, and what was last year's Sport trim has been renamed the Value instead and gains a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, and rear parking sensors. A new Tucson Sport introduced mid-way through 2018 features a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated motor with 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The Eco trim has been dropped altogether.

Pros and Cons

  • Huge rear cabin room
  • Quiet, comfortable ride
  • Extensive warranty
  • Impressive safety ratings
  • Strong acceleration from turbo 1.6
  • Jerky dual-clutch automatic transmission
  • Sub-par performance from base engine
  • Below average luggage space
  • Lower trim material quality is poor
  • Not engaging to drive

Tucson Exterior

The Tucson presents a familiar face, with a largely unchanged look since it first debuted a few years ago. Drawn back headlights with integrated daytime running lights feature from the SEL trim up. From the SEL, the Tucson also features front fog lights mounted wide on the front bumper. As you move up the trim ladder to Limited, the front gets exterior enhancements such as extra chrome trimmings on the lower front bumper, while headlights become LED clusters as standard, with the option to upgrade to adaptive xenons.

The base Tucson SE rides on 17-inch alloy wheels, as do the SEL and SEL Plus, with the upgrade to Sport, Value, and Limited trims adding 19-inch items to the mix. Body-colored side mirrors are standard on all models, while lower trims feature body-colored door handles that become chrome on higher trims.

2018 Hyundai Tucson Front View
2018 Hyundai Tucson Three Quarter Front Right Side View
2018 Hyundai Tucson Rear View
See All 2018 Hyundai Tucson Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The 2018 Tucson bears dimensions that place it squarely in the midsize crossover segment, with a length of 176-inches, a width of 72.8-inches, and a wheelbase of 105.1-inches. It measures 64.8-inches tall while carrying six-inches worth of ground clearance - average for a class in which no rival is genuinely offroad capable. Weight varies between trims and drivetrains, with the lightest curb weight around 3,300 lbs in front-wheel drive guise, rising to 3,686 lbs for all-wheel drive derivatives.

Exterior Colors

The Tucson's color palette has been cut from eight hues to seven for the 2018 model year, with Sedona Sunset cut from the range. The remaining seven colors are available across the range at no additional cost, with colors including Molten Silver, Ruby Wine, Caribean Blue, and Black Noir Pearl.

  • Black Noir Pearl
  • Coliseum Gray
  • Dusk Blue, Build Out:05/31/2018
  • Aqua Blue, Late Availability
  • Gemstone Red, Late Availability
  • Sedona Sunset, Build Out:10/31/2017
  • Caribbean Blue, Build Out:11/30/2017
  • Dazzling White
  • Molten Silver
  • Ruby Wine, Build Out:11/30/2017

Tucson Performance

At initial launch, just two engine options were available for the 2018 Tucson. The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder, equipped to the SE, SEL, and SEL Plus derivatives boasts outputs of 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque and is paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard with no option for a manual. Front-wheel drive is standard on the base model, but all-wheel drive is available on all trims. Introduced mid-way through the 2018 calendar year, a new Sport model introduces a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder motor producing 181 hp and 175 lb-ft. The 2.4's extra horsepower and displacement means better low down responses and eagerness than the other two engines, resulting in a 0-60 dash of nine seconds - quicker than both the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.

2018 Hyundai Tucson Three Quarter Front Right Side View
2018 Hyundai Tucson Three Quarter Rear Right Side View
2018 Hyundai Tucson Rim

Engine and Transmission

The standard engine on the Hyundai Tucson is a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder developing 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. This motor is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and is standard on SE, SEL, and SEL Plus trims. It's got enough power to shuffle around town, but performance is lackluster and the 2.0-liter doesn't cope with the Tucson's bulk too well.

On the Value and Limited trims, a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder develops 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The extra power and hefty amounts of torque make this motor the best performer, and the snappy shifts from the dual-clutch gearbox make for rapid acceleration, but the gearbox suffers from pronounced turbo-lag, which combines with inefficiencies of the dual-clutch at low speeds to create a laggy, jerky driving experience that doesn't suit traffic or parking lot navigation.

Meanwhile, the Sport trim introduced midway through 2018 includes a new 2.4-liter naturally aspirated motor. It offers more power than both the other engines, with 181 hp, but less torque than the turbocharged engine with just 175 lb-ft. It is, however, mated to the six-speed automatic gearbox, making it smoother than the drive of the turbo motor, while giving you the power that the base engine lacks. There is no manual offering, and the gearbox choice is fixed to the engine you opt for.

  • Engines
    1.6-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas, 2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The standard engine on the Hyundai Tucson is a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder developing 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. This motor is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and is standard on SE, SEL, and SEL Plus trims. It's got enough power to shuffle around town, but performance is lackluster and the 2.0-liter doesn't cope with the Tucson's bulk too well.

On the Value and Limited trims, a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder develops 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The extra power and hefty amounts of torque make this motor the best performer, and the snappy shifts from the dual-clutch gearbox make for rapid acceleration, but the gearbox suffers from pronounced turbo-lag, which combines with inefficiencies of the dual-clutch at low speeds to create a laggy, jerky driving experience that doesn't suit traffic or parking lot navigation.

Meanwhile, the Sport trim introduced midway through 2018 includes a new 2.4-liter naturally aspirated motor. It offers more power than both the other engines, with 181 hp, but less torque than the turbocharged engine with just 175 lb-ft. It is, however, mated to the six-speed automatic gearbox, making it smoother than the drive of the turbo motor, while giving you the power that the base engine lacks. There is no manual offering, and the gearbox choice is fixed to the engine you opt for.

Tucson Gas Mileage

Of the three engines available on the Tucson, none of them are particularly fuel efficient. The base 2.0-liter provides consumption estimates of 23/30/26 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles when mated to the front-wheel drive drivetrain, with all-wheel drive dropping those estimates to 21/26/23 miles per gallon on the same cycles. The 1.6T motor is marginally more efficient, with FWD estimates of 25/30/27 mpg, while the all-wheel drive derivative estimates drop to 24/28/25 mpg. The least economical offering is the 2.4-liter engine in the Sport model, with estimates of 21/28/24 mpg for the FWD model and 21/25/22 mpg for the AWD equipped Tucson Sport.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/26 mpg
* 2018 Hyundai Tucson SE AWD

Tucson Interior

Lower trims on the 2018 Hyundai Tucson offer sub-par materials and scratchy plastics in a segment where many provide premium-feel interiors, but the build feels solid and panels don't tend to shake and rattle. Ingress and egress is easy for the most part, with loads of interior room for both front and rear occupants where tall adults can easily get comfortable. The seats are supportive and the driver's seat offers standard six-way adjustment with good forward visibility and easy reach of all controls. As you move up the trim ladder, heated seats, ventilated seats, and leather upholstery all become standard, as does power adjustment for both front seats. The rear seats feature two full sets of LATCH anchors and the spacious interior means child seats can be fitted forward or rear-facing.

2018 Hyundai Tucson Aux And 12V Usb Charging Ports
2018 Hyundai Tucson Infotainment System
2018 Hyundai Tucson Infotainment System
See All 2018 Hyundai Tucson Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Hyundai Tucson will seat five occupants in more space and comfort than almost all other options in the compact SUV segment, with rear headroom and legroom being particularly generous and enough to keep tall adults comfortable for long periods of time. The seats are firm but supportive and are comfortable for long journeys, while the standard six-way adjustment of the driver's seat and tilt and telescopic adjustment of the steering wheel means it's easy to find a good driving position. Forward visibility is excellent, but rearward visibility is hampered by smaller rear windows. A rearview camera is standard on all trims, with the top Limited model getting available rear park sensors.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The Hyundai Tucson is available with two different surface coverings with a color palette of just three options. The SE, SEL, Sport, and Value trims all feature cloth upholstery available in either beige, black, or grey, with colors options limited based on the exterior paint color. The lower dash and door panels are color-coded to correspond with the upholstery color, but the plastics are notably cheap in feel. The SEL Plus and Limited models get higher quality trim on the doors that feels more premium, and the seating surfaces get upgraded to leather, available in either beige or black, once again coinciding with dash and door trim colors. The Sport model gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel that also features on the SEL Plus and Limited models.

Tucson Trunk and Cargo Space

The huge amounts of rear passenger volume in the Tucson are the result of compromised cargo volume. While the 31 cubic feet behind the rear seats isn't necessarily poor in the segment, it's well below the class-leading Honda CR-V. The cargo area features a dual-level load floor that allows some objects to be stored below the main cargo area, or that alternatively adds extra depth to the loading area. The rear seats fold in a 60/40 split to increase storage to 61.9 cubic feet, which is again average for the class but well below the CR-V's class-leading 75.8 cubic feet of storage. The load bay is wide and easy to load, and an available hands-free tailgate on higher trims opens without any dangerous one-legged foot waving antics which is a big plus compared to rivals.

The cabin offers numerous storage areas, including decently sized front cupholders, bottle holders molded into the relatively deep door pockets, and smaller storage items in the center console. The center armrest also houses a storage bin, while the main front bin is large enough to keep a modern smartphone inside quite easily.

2018 Hyundai Tucson Full Luggage Space
2018 Hyundai Tucson Luggage Space With Cover
2018 Hyundai Tucson Full Luggage Space

Tucson Infotainment and Features

Features

Hyundai's unique selling point has become high levels of specification, and the Tucson is no different, with all six trims well equipped. On lower trims, you'll find air conditioning, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, and driver's seat height adjustment, while moving up the ranks adds power adjustment, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, keyless entry, and dual-zone climate control. A panoramic sunroof is equipped from the Value model, while the range-topping Limited equips LED headlights, lane departure warning, rear park sensors, and ventilated seats as part of an available options pack.

Infotainment

The standard offering in the entry-level Tucson SE is a basic five-inch touchscreen infotainment system paired with a six-speaker sound system. The AM/FM radio system is MP3 compatible and features CD, auxiliary, USB, and Bluetooth inputs with media streaming and hands-free telephony, and the screen doubles up as a display for the standard rearview camera. SEL, Sport, and Value trims get a seven-inch touchscreen system that adds SiriusXM satellite radio functionality and is fully compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard. SEL Plus and Limited trims get an eight-inch touchscreen system that features standard navigation and is linked to an Infinity eight-speaker sound system including a subwoofer. Hyundai's Blue Link connected car services are also equipped on the SEL Plus and Limited models.

Tucson Problems and Reliability

Despite some plastics on lower trims feeling of a poor quality, everything seems solidly screwed together inside the Tucson. J.D. Power and Associates have rated the 2018 Tucson's predicted reliability at four out of five, which is better than the industry average score of three, but several rivals in the compact SUV segment score similarly. J.D Power also gave it the highest overall quality rating among all its segment peers. To date, there have been no major issues with the Hyundai Tucson in its current generation, with only one recall pertaining to a minor electrical fault on previous year models. We encountered no issues with the Tucson.

Tucson Safety

The IIHS has awarded the 2018 Hyundai Tucson as a Top Safety Pick due to the available safety features on the top trims, while the NHTSA gave the Tucson an overall score of five out of five stars with top results in almost all tests.

Key Safety Features

While there are ample safety features equipped from the Sport trim upwards, the best safety features are unfortunately reserved for an options package only available on the top-spec Limited trim. The Ultimate package equips adaptive xenon headlights, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, and rear parking sensors to the top trim, which comes standard with a reverse camera, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Verdict: Is the 2018 Hyundai Tucson a good SUV?

While it may be down on cargo volume compared to class-leading rivals, the Tucson still pairs usable cargo volumes with the biggest passenger cabin of the lost, prioritizing passenger comfort. The trait carries through to the comfortable yet capable suspension setup and impressive levels of insulation from the outside environment. It's an impressive package, particularly in higher trims that improve the interior quality, but it lacks the premium feel of the Honda CR-V or the driving enjoyment of the Mazda CX-5. But it strikes a good balance between those two rivals, and the Sport model offers a good engine to complement the rest of the package.

What's the Price of the 2018 Hyundai Tucson?

The 2018 model year may have started off with five trims for the Hyundai Tucson, but it ends the year with six trims and six different basic price points, while all-wheel drive is available on all models at an extra fee of $1,400. The range kicks off with the SE model with a base MSRP of $22.550 for the front-wheel drive setup. The SEL is priced at $23,800 while the Sport, added mid-way through 2018, retails for $25,150. On the more expensive side of things, the Tucson Value carries an MSRP of $26,550, the SEL Plus is priced from $26,700, while the Limited is the top trim from $29,425.

2018 Hyundai Tucson Models

The Tucson started off 2018 with five trims available, though a sixth was added midway through the year. Trims available include SE, SEL, Sport, Value, SEL Plus, and Limited.

The SE is the cheapest Tucson, equipped with the 164-hp 2.0-liter motor and six-speed automatic gearbox. The SE features 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, six-way manual driver's seat adjustment, cloth upholstery, and a five-inch touchscreen system with six speakers, one USB port, a CD player, and Bluetooth connectivity and hands-free functionality.

The SEL replaces last year's SE Popular Equipment package and features LED daytime running lights, foglights, roof rails, power adjustment for the driver's seat, heated front seats, and a seven-inch infotainment system with SiriusXM satellite radio and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay functionality.

The Sport is the only model to feature the 181-horsepower 2.4-liter engine. It also includes 19-inch wheels, exterior styling enhancements, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, keyless entry with push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and rear air vents.

Upgrading to the Tucson Value gets you the 175-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter motor with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Also equipped are 19-inch alloys, a hands-free liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, and specialized exterior trimming.

The SEL Plus is similarly equipped to the Sport model, but with the SEL's 2.0-liter engine and 17-inch alloys. It features power adjustment for the front passenger seat, a sliding front armrest, leather upholstery, upgraded door trim, Blue Link connected services, and the upgraded infotainment system with the eight-speaker Infinity stereo system and an eight-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation.

Those features carry over to the top-of-the-line Tucson Limited, but the upgrade includes the turbocharged motor, eight-inch infotainment system with navigation, hands-free liftgate, LED headlights and taillights, and chrome exterior trimmings.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$22,550
SEL
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$23,800
Sport
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$25,150
Value
1.6-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$26,550
SEL Plus
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$26,700
See All 2018 Hyundai Tucson Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

While most of the available upgrades for the 2018 Hyundai Tucson are built in to individual trim levels, like last year's SE Popular Equipment package which is now the Tucson SEL, the Korean manufacturer has left one options package available for the top-of-the-range Limited trim.

The Ultimate Package for the Limited model adds adaptive xenon headlights in place of fixed LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, an upgraded driver information display, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats. The Ultimate package also includes numerous safety features, including lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and rear parking sensors.

What Hyundai Tucson Model Should I Buy?

Introduced midway through 2018, the Tucson Sport is the pick of the lot, combining a potent engine with decent levels of specification for a great price mid-way through the offering. It gets a range of stylish exterior enhancements but also equips additional safety features like blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane keeping assist. Keyless entry, push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control all add to the allure of the Sport trim.

Check out other Hyundai Tucson Styles?

2018 Hyundai Tucson Comparisons

2018 Hyundai Tucson
2018 Hyundai Tucson

2018 Hyundai Tucson vs Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V consistently ranks at the top of its segment, and with good reason. It caters to copious interior volumes, offering more headroom and legroom than the Tucson, while it also packs greater volumes behind the rear seats. It boasts a high-quality interior with great levels of standard specification and high amounts of driver assistance features. The Tucson, however, has the better infotainment setup on higher trims, with the CR-V's lack of a volume knob a continuous frustration. The CR-V boasts better gas mileage estimates and the real world driving experience is vastly better too, particularly with its own turbocharged engine. The CR-V is more expensive when it comes to higher trims, but it's worth the extra money and is superior to the Tucson.

See Honda CR-V Review

2018 Hyundai Tucson vs Mazda CX-5

Mazda only offers the CX-5 with one engine, but it's livelier than those in the Tucson and bags better mileage estimates too. On top of this, the CX-5 has a better chassis, rides with more composure, and communicates better with a driver - particularly one who enjoys throwing the CX-5 around like a hot hatch. But the Tucson has a greater interior volume, particularly for rear passengers, while the CX-5 feels a little cramped. Both cater to around the same amount of cargo, but elsewhere in the interior, the CX-5 feels more premium. The Tucson's infotainment system is more intuitive, but its a weak consolation as the CX-5 is more fun to drive and makes you feel like you've spent more than you really did.

See Mazda CX-5 Review

Hyundai Tucson Popular Comparisons

See All 30 Comparisons