2018 Hyundai Tucson Performance

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

Despite the availability of three engines, a 164-horsepower 2.0-liter, a 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo, and a new 181-hp 2.4-liter, none of the Tucson derivatives is a particularly hot SUV option. While handling is more than ample, and the steering is keen, the Tucson is devoid of driver involvement offered by the Mazda CX-5 and leaves the pilot feeling numb. But it has the supernatural ability of ensuring supreme comfort and relaxation, with exceptional insulation from the outside world without the compromise of poor handling or shoddy ride quality. It’s easily maneuverable at low speeds, with the exception of the seven-speed dual-clutch equipped models that are jerky and delayed at low speeds, despite offering better economy than the traditional automatic which is only equipped to naturally aspirated engines in the line-up. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is optional with all engines, which not all rivals offer.

2018 Hyundai Tucson 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.

Hyundai Tucson
2.0-liter Gas Engine
Honda CR-V
2.4-liter Gas Engine
Hyundai Santa Fe
3.3-liter Gas Engine
Horsepower 164 @ 6200 184 @ 6400 290 @ 6400
Torque 151 @ 4000 180 @ 3900 252 @ 5200
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic with SHIFTRONIC Continuously Variable with Sport Mode 6-Speed Automatic with SHIFTRONIC

Drivetrain

Hyundai offers the Tucson with two available drivetrains for the 2018 model year. Front-wheel drive is the default application with all engines and transmissions and is the more efficient drivetrain. Only the turbocharged engine offers enough power to overwhelm the front wheels, but the FWD system is still the best broad-spectrum option if you live in a warmer climate where rain is the predominant precipitation. Available on all trims and with all engine/gearbox combinations, all-wheel drive is available for $1,400. The system is heavier on fuel and doesn’t afford any noticeable differences in day-to-day driving, but for colder climates where snow and ice are prevalent, the availability of all-wheel drive is a valuable option that isn’t offered by all competitors in the segment.

MPG

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.

Hyundai Tucson
2.0-liter Gas Engine
Honda CR-V
2.4-liter Gas Engine
Hyundai Santa Fe
3.3-liter Gas Engine
Combined 26 mpg 28 mpg 21 mpg
City 23 mpg 26 mpg 18 mpg
Highway 30 mpg 32 mpg 25 mpg
Fuel Tank Capacity 16 gallons 14 gallons 18 gallons