2021 Hyundai Tucson

2021 Hyundai Tucson Review: Family Favorite

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.

2021 Hyundai Tucson Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 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The only changes that have been applied for the new model year are in the color palette where Black Noir Pearl has been replaced by Ash Black, Gemstone Red by Red Crimson, and Sage Brown by Coliseum Gray.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

Best Deals on Tucson

2021 Hyundai Tucson Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$23,700
Value
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$25,150
SEL
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$26,100
Sport
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$28,250
Limited
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$29,400

Tucson Exterior

Nothing changes for the exterior of the Tucson SUV; up front, all trims feature the signature large trapezoidal grille with its chrome surrounds and horizontal slats. That centerpiece is flanked by automatic projector headlights on the SE, Value, and SEL (with LED accent lighting included as of the Value), and LED headlights with daytime running functionality and front fog lights from the Sport trim up.

All models feature a shark fin antenna and a low-profile high-mounted rear spoiler, with black lower body cladding and window surrounds, except on the Ultimate, which gets chrome exterior trim. Black roof rails are included as of the Value. 17-inch alloy wheels are standard-fit on the SE and Value both of which also get a single exhaust outlet. The Sport rides atop 19-inch alloy wheels for a sportier spirit, while 18-inch alloy wheels prop up the SEL, Limited, and Ultimate, all of which feature dual exhaust outlets.

2021 Hyundai Tucson Front View Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Tucson Front View 1 Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Tucson Side View Hyundai
See All 2021 Hyundai Tucson Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Tucson's dimensions are typical for the compact class. It spans 176.4 inches in length, with 105.1 inches dedicated to the wheelbase. Total height comes in at either 64.8 or 65 inches, depending on whether the roof rails are fitted or not. Its body width of 72.8 inches makes it quite slim. Curb weights range from 3,309 pounds for the FWD SE trim to 3,732 lbs for the AWD Ultimate.

  • Length 176.4 in
  • Wheelbase 105.1 in
  • Height 64.8 in
  • Max Width 72.8 in
  • Front Width 63.3 in
  • Rear Width 63.8 in
  • Curb Weight 3,309.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

For 2021, the Hyundai Tucson receives three new hues for its exterior paint palette that replace three of the prior year's options, keeping the total selection at nine. Black Noir Pearl has been swapped out for Ash Black, Red Crimson replaces Gemstone Red, and Coliseum Gray takes the place of Sage Brown. Bringing diversity to the rest of the palette are Winter White, White Cream, Stellar Silver, Dusk Blue, Aqua Blue, and Magnetic Force Metallic. Every color is cost-inclusive and available across all trims, so you won't have to pay anything extra for the hue you want. The Tucson looks great in any of them, too, but if we had to recommend one, we'd go with the Dusk Blue.

  • White Cream
  • Dusk Blue
  • Aqua Blue, Build Out:10/01/2020
  • Black Noir Pearl
  • Winter White, Build Out:10/01/2020
  • Stellar Silver
  • Magnetic Force
  • Red Crimson

Tucson Performance

The Tucson's competitors offer a whole lot more in terms of performance purely because they're offered with turbocharged engines, while the Tucson is left to the devices of its naturally-aspirated four-cylinder power plants. The familiar 2.0-liter inline-four engine is the starting point in the lineup, and it produces a measly 161 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. The larger 2.4-liter inline-four mill produces only a little more, with 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of potential. According to independent testers, the Tucson will scurry from 0 to 60 mph in a gradual nine seconds or so with the more powerful engine. That's significantly slower than any of the Tucson's turbocharged competitors; the Honda CR-V, for instance, completes the run in around 7.5 seconds.

Every Tucson is equipped with a front-wheel-drive system by default with an all-wheel-drive setup optional across the board. Unfortunately, the Tucson doesn't really benefit from the AWD system as it's not particularly focused for any level of genuine off-roading. It can, however, tow up to 2,500 pounds, which is above the class average. The CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are capable of only 2,000 lbs, while the Toyota RAV4 is capable of up to 3,500 lbs.

2021 Hyundai Tucson Front View Driving Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Tucson In Motion Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Tucson Driving Action Hyundai

Engine and Transmission

Hyundai's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivers outputs of 161 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission to the Tucson's FWD or AWD system depending on the buyer's pick. The engine is fine for scooting around town and getting away from traffic lights and stop streets, but getting up to highway speeds and overtaking can be arduous. The stronger 2.4-liter unit is standard-fit as of the SEL trim, delivering 181 hp and 175 lb-ft; the upshot in power and torque don't do much for acceleration around town though power delivery does feel a little more effective at higher speeds, making the Tucson feel at least a bit more competent on the highway.

The six-speed automatic transmission performs as warranted, it's nicely synced with the motor and its responses are adequate, but it's nothing to write home about. It's fitting for the Tucson's conservative demeanor. The Tucson's saving grace is its heft, or rather lack thereof; without AWD equipped, it's appropriately light for the class, meaning the underpowered engines don't have to strain too hard.

  • Engines
    2.0L Inline-4 Gas, 2.4L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

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.

Tucson Gas Mileage

The Hyundai Tucson SUV delivers oodles of value for its price and specs, but when it comes to fuel consumption, it does fall a bit behind its rivals. With the base powertrain, drivers can expect EPA mileage figures of 23/28/25 mpg city/highway/combined. With the AWD system installed, gas mileage takes a bit of hit, dropping to 22/25/23 mpg. With the 2.4-liter engine, FWD variants return 22/28/25 mpg and AWD variants 21/26/23 mpg. Despite its use of regular-type gas, the Tucson will always cost more to run than the more frugal CR-V and CX-5. The most fuel-efficient Tucson, with its 16.4-gallon gas tank filled to the brim, should provide around 410 miles of range.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 23/28 mpg
* 2021 Hyundai Tucson SE FWD

Tucson Interior

The inside of the Tucson is where its value really shines through. The driver and all passengers are welcomed by a commodious, featureful, and finely laid out interior that exudes a focus on contemporary styling and comfort. It's surprisingly spacious, too, and the material quality, fit, and finish are all spot on. The seats, regardless of what upholstery they're covered in, are comfortable and supportive, and they remain so throughout prolonged excursions. The layout is ergonomic, and the way the infotainment touchscreen is designed integrates nicely into the dash and with the rest of the cabin's design.

2021 Hyundai Tucson Dashboard Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Tucson Infotainment System Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Tucson Steering Wheel Controls Hyundai
See All 2021 Hyundai Tucson Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Five passengers will fit comfortably in the interior of the Hyundai Tucson, though three adults in the rear seats wouldn't be ideal. The center rear seat would be best reserved for children. Headroom and legroom are ample throughout the cabin and tall adults should be satisfied with space even for long journeys. Legroom in the rear is particularly generous, with the Tucson rivaling the best in the segment for rear-seat stretch room. The available sunroof does, however, occupy a few inches in the rear. Both the front seats feature plenty of directional adjustability, even at the base level, so locating an optimal driving and seating position is as easy as 1-2-3. Outward visibility for the driver is unhindered, and there are no blind spots whatsoever. Ingress and egress are effortless thanks to the Tucson's large front and rear doors.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.5 in
  • Front Head Room 39.6 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.2 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.2 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Every Tucson features a dual-tone cabin color scheme prominent in the dash and door panels, the colors and the materials vary depending on the model, but the design is attractive in all of them. Regular cloth seating upholstery is standard in the SE, Value, SEL, and Sport, available in either Black, Beige, or Gray, depending on the exterior hue chosen. Style and comfort are enhanced in the Limited and Ultimate models, with leather seating upholstery coming standard in either Black or Beige, depending once again on the exterior hue chosen.

Tucson Trunk and Cargo Space

The amount of trunk space proffered by the Hyundai Tucson is decent but nowhere near the level offered by some of its direct competitors. There's 31 cubic feet of usable space behind the rearmost seats; that's enough room for any daily essentials or two medium-sized pet carriers. If more room is required, the rear seats do fold down flat in a 60/40 split to expand cargo space to 61.9 cubic feet. The CR-V is much more utilitarian, offering 39.2 cu-ft. of trunk space behind the rear seats, which expands to a massive 75.8 cu-ft. with the seats folded down.

As for in-cabin storage solutions, there's a center console with a small-item storage bin, dual cupholders, and a large console storage box with a removable tray. The door side pockets are rather narrow but do have slots for large bottles. The passenger-side glove box is spacious, and there are dual cupholders in the center rear seat backrest.

2021 Hyundai Tucson Trunk Space with Seat Folded Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Tucson Luggage Space Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Tucson Second Seats Down Hyundai

Tucson Infotainment and Features

Features

Hyundai pours value into the spec sheet of every Hyundai vehicle, even in its budget-friendly offerings. With the SE and Value trims, there's tilt-and-telescoping steering wheels, a six-way manually-adjustable driver's seat, and manual air conditioning. Standard driver assistance measures include a rearview camera, lane-keep assist, forward collision avoidance, and a driver attention system. The driver's seat in the Value trim is upgraded with eight-way power-adjustability, both front seats get heating, and keyless ignition is installed. The safety suite is bolstered with a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. In the SEL trim, dual-zone automatic climate control and rear AC vents are standard. The Sport gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and a hands-free power liftgate. The steering wheel in the Limited model gets heating, and the passenger seat gets eight-way power-adjustability. A 360-degree camera is added to the safety consignment. The Ultimate boasts front seat ventilation, a wireless phone charger, and a panoramic sunroof.

Infotainment

A seven-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard in every Tucson model barring the top-tier Ultimate, which features an eight-inch replacement. Every model comes inclusive of full smartphone integration, which includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, and, barring the SE, also with full radio connectivity that includes SiriusXM satellite radio and HD Radio. In the SE, Value, and SEL, it's tethered to a six-speaker audio layout. From the Sport and upward, a premium eight-speaker Infinity surround-sound system is installed. The Ultimate additionally features a built-in navigation system, which may never get used, considering the inclusion of both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Tucson Problems and Reliability

Hyundai's cars, the Tucson included, are renowned for both their top-notch safety standards and high dependability ratings. J.D. Power availed the 2020 Tucson with an above-average reliability rating of 83/100, and if that doesn't convince you, the fact that the Tucson has only been subject to a single recall for the 2021 model year, for a faulty ABS unit, is also a true testament to its quality. Furthermore, Hyundai's ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty is the best in the industry, something automakers usually only apply to their hybrid or fuel cell nameplates. That's accompanied by a more typical five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, and three years of complimentary maintenance.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Tucson Safety

The NHTSA's review of the Tucson resulted in a five-star overall safety rating, the best possible scoring from the authority. The results from the IIHS's review of the car were also exceptional, with the nameplate returning top scores of Good for six specified tests. Furthermore, Tucson variants fitted with the LED headlights were granted the Top Safety Pick title for 2020.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Hyundai didn't hold back when formulating the safety suite for the Tucson; the SE starts things off with a driver-attention warning system, forward collision avoidance, lane-keep assist, and a rearview camera. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is introduced as of the Value. The Limited and Ultimate feature a 360-degree camera, and the Ultimate alone gets adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality. In terms of passive protection measures, every trim comes outfitted with six airbags (dual front, front side, and side curtain) and all the essentials such as ABS, stability and traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

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'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.

2021 Hyundai Tucson Models

Like last year, the 2021 lineup consists of six trims: SE, Value, SEL, Sport, Limited, and Ultimate. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder motor is relegated to the SE and Value models, with every other model is equipped with a slightly more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed automatic gearbox is standard across the board, along with an FWD system. AWD is available for all.

In terms of exterior features, the SE starts things off automatic halogen headlights and 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, there's a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a six-way manual driver's seat, and cloth upholstery. For infotainment, a seven-inch touchscreen display is provided with a six-speaker sound system and full smartphone integration.

In the Value, the driver's seat gets eight-way power-adjustability, both front seats feature heating, and the safety suite is expanded with a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. SiriusXM and HD Radio are also equipped.

18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, and rear AC vents are equipped to the SEL, which is the first model in the lineup to get the bigger engine. A USB charging port is also installed for rear occupants.

Propping up the Sport are 19-inch alloy wheels. It's also fitted with LED headlights and taillights, LED DRLS, and front fog lights, while for convenience, it gets a hands-free power liftgate. It gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter. There's also wireless charging, and the infotainment system has been upgraded with a premium eight-speaker Infinity sound system.

The steering wheel and front seats in the Limited receive heating functionality. The passenger seat is upgraded with power adjustability, and leather seating comes standard. The safety suite is bolstered with a 360-degree camera.

For the ultimate in luxury, the top-of-the-line Ultimate equips the front seats with ventilation while the rear seats are heated. For infotainment, an eight-inch infotainment with built-in navigation takes center stage. It's also installed with high-beam assist, smart cruise control, pedestrian detection, and a panoramic sunroof.

See All 2021 Hyundai Tucson Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

With a total of six trims on offer, Hyundai doesn't provide any packages with which to increase the base cost of the Hyundai Tucson. There are, in fact, only a handful of standalone options offered, including an auto-dimming rearview mirror advertised at $295 for trims that don't get it as standard. There is also a tow-hitch available for $350, all-weather floor mats and mud flaps for $250, and a selection of cargo area elements including a first aid kit, a cargo tray, and a cargo net for $195.

🚗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
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Hyundai Tucson187 hp26/33 mpg$24,950
Hyundai Santa Fe 185 hp22/29 mpg$26,275
Kia Sportage 181 hp23/30 mpg$24,090

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

Hyundai Tucson Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Hyundai Tucson:

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