2021 Hyundai Tucson

2021 Hyundai Tucson
2021 Hyundai Tucson Side View
2021 Hyundai Tucson Dashboard

2021 Hyundai Tucson Review: Family Favorite

by Aiden Eksteen

The USA loves the Hyundai Tucson, a prevailing compact SUV that's been around since 2004. It may be somewhat of a vanilla offering but Americans see nothing wrong with the tried and tested flavor. And there's a good reason for it: the 2021 Hyundai Tucson packages balanced performance and a commodious, featureful cabin with top-notch safety ratings and proven reliability standards. It's an ideal family runabout and vacation trooper that anyone interested in purchasing a modern SUV would do well opting for. The only drawback comes from both its engines, two four-cylinder units that just don't feel up to the task with a maximum of only 181 horsepower on tap; while turbo variants of rivals like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are more than willing to be both quick and frugal. The Tucson is, nevertheless, one of the better SUVs available for sale in the US, and one well worth considering in the compact segment.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 6 /10
  • Fuel Economy 6 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2021 Hyundai Tucson Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2020 Tucson?

Because the Tucson has been scheduled for a complete remodeling for 2022, Hyundai has kept enhancements and alterations for the SUV to a minimum for 2021. In fact, The only changes that have been applied for the new model year are in the color palette where Black Noir Pearl has been replaced by Ash Black, Gemstone Red by Red Crimson, and Sage Brown by Coliseum Gray. Otherwise, all trim levels carry over from the previous year unchanged.

Pros and Cons

  • Balanced ride quality
  • Liberal but attractive exterior styling
  • Plenty standard and available features
  • Diverse trim lineup
  • Spacious, high-quality interior
  • Four-cylinder engines are underpowered
  • Subpar fuel economy for the segment
  • Not as practical as other SUVs

What's the Price of the 2021 Hyundai Tucson?

Prices for the newest Hyundai Tucson models have gone up from last year but only by a slight margin. For 2021, the SE comes in at an MSRP of $23,700, which is just $150 more than the 2020 iteration. The Value comes next with a sticker price of $25,150, followed by the SEL at $26,100. If you're looking to opt for the 2.4-liter-equipped Tucson's, the Sport comes in at $28,250, followed by the more luxurious Limited at $29,400, and then the top-of-the-line Ultimate at $32,050. The optional HTRAC AWD system will cost an extra $1,400 on any of the trims. As with most of the United States' cars, prices for the Hyundai Tucson are exclusive of any tax, registration, and licensing fees, and a $1,175 destination charge.

Best Deals on 2021 Hyundai Tucson

2021 Hyundai Tucson Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2021 Hyundai Tucson Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

When it comes to the Tucson's ride, it's clear that it's been tuned to deliver an unassuming and civil experience. Comfort is the core focus here rather than performance, so while it can be rather boring to commute around, it is easy to drive on a daily basis, and it remains pleasantly composed and soft most of the time. Hyundai's HTRAC AWD system is more for casual, everyday driving in inclement weather than bonafide off-roading, which makes sense considering the Tucson's urban-centric approach. Everyday road undulations and minor abrasions are taken in the suspension's stride, though the Sport trims 19-inch wheels do make things a little bumpier.

Despite its tall height, the Tucson feels sturdy and controlled around bends even if they're taken a little quicker than intended. Its steering does feel a little too loose, however, and could supply the driver with more feedback, even in the Sport driving mode, which supposedly adjusts the steering's sensitivity and the throttle responses. The braking feel is exceptionally well balanced, not weak or overly grippy, but rather firm and well-modulated, and stopping power is more than appropriate.

Verdict: Is the 2021 Hyundai Tucson A Good SUV?

The Hyundai Tucson is an exceptional family vehicle and a leading compact SUV. As standard, the little cruiser boasts class-leading safety and reliability ratings and comes equipped with a comprehensive consignment of protective measures. It's rich in value no matter which trim you opt for, with loads of creature comforts and conveniences included right from the starter model. Its ride quality is exemplary for an urban runabout, too, and any driver will have little to complain about when it comes to living with the Tucson on a daily basis. If anything, the Tucson could do with a better selection of engines, however, either more powerful or imbued with turbocharging to match the standards set by competitors. While the Tucson will never be as athletic or as enjoyable to drive as its competitors, it's perfectly fine as a casual everyday transporter. Its cabin is spacious and well-arranged, offering the driver and passengers plenty of comfort and convenience. The trunk and flat-folding rear seats offer a decent level of versatility and practicality, solidifying its purpose. Plus, with a complete remodel scheduled for 2021, this year's Tucson may sell at a very good deal, so be sure to keep your eyes open for dealer specials.

What Hyundai Tucson Model Should I Buy?

When it comes to getting the most for your money in terms of performance and features, the SEL is the optimal trim. It comes equipped with the larger 2.4-liter inline-four engine, which feels a little more capable of powering the SUV, especially at highway speeds. It's also upgraded with SiriusXM and HD Radio connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, and rear passengers are generously accommodated with AC vents and a USB charge port for their devices. The SEL, with those added luxuries, is also only $2,400 more than the base trim, which is worth it considering what you get for the money. Unless it's really necessary, we'd steer clear of the optional AWD system as it lowers fuel economy slightly and does little to benefit performance.

Check out other Hyundai Tucson Styles

2021 Hyundai Tucson Comparisons

Hyundai Santa Fe Hyundai
Kia Sportage Kia

2021 Hyundai Tucson vs Hyundai Santa Fe

The latest Sante Fe rides into the new year with a comprehensive selection of enhancements and reshuffled features, so it is a little more up-to-date than the Tucson, which is scheduled for a complete remodeling next year. The Sante Fe is larger than the Tucson, and, as such, it features a more powerful base engine and a frugal turbocharged 2.0-liter unit for the two top-tier trims. It is also a little pricier than the Tucson, and for that extra money, buyers only really get more trunk space, a whole four cubic feet more to be exact, which may not be worthwhile to some considering that passenger room remains almost identical to that of the Tucson. Both nameplates otherwise offer the same in-cabin quality, features, and safety and reliability, so if anything, we'd suggest holding off buying either and wait to see what the all-new 2022 Tucson will offer.

See Hyundai Santa Fe Review

2021 Hyundai Tucson vs Kia Sportage

The Tucson has a lot in common vs the Kia Sportage; as its corporate cousin, they share many similarities in terms of their design, ethos, and spec sheets. Performance-wise, the Sportage takes the cake; both its engine options, one of which gets a turbo and outputs of 240 hp, feel a lot more competent and both prove to be a little more frugal at the same time. The Tucson carries a more sophisticated look on the outside and in its cabin design. It's the more practical SUV, too, offering a little more passenger room and a larger trunk. Both essentially offer the same value when it comes to features and quality overall, but the Sportage wins our favor purely for its better-performing engines.

See Kia Sportage Review
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