The 2019 Hyundai Tucson might have been the infant in the South Korean automaker’s family if it weren’t for the arrival of the new 2018 Kona crossover.
Now that it’s firmly in the middle of the SUV lineup at home, the Tucson clamors for attention this year with a new engine offering, some new technology and safety gear, and an interior that cribs from its smaller sibling.
We haven’t driven it yet, but we think the upgraded Tucson will fare as well as last year’s version, which we rated at a rating of 6.8 out of 10–maybe even better.
The 2019 Tucson takes baby steps toward the new Hyundai styling themes in full flourish on the Kona. The front end dons a new grille and new headlights, while the rear slips on some new taillights and minor details are tweaked. It’s careful to change too much, too quickly—there’s a bigger 2019 Santa Fe in the works, one that bristles with all the change implied in the updated Tucson.
Inside, the Tucson’s dash adopts the shapes of the Kona, with a lower dash and a big touchscreen that rises from it, instead of nestling in it. In general, there’s a more horizontal emphasis to the lines, an emphasis that replaces the shield-shaped center stack on last year’s edition.
The entry-level Tucson still sports a 164-horsepower 4-cylinder and a 6-speed automatic, but Hyundai replaced the former turbo-4 in the Tucson with a non-turbo, 2.4-liter inline-4 with 181 hp. It’s also coupled to a 6-speed automatic. All-wheel drive remains an option.
In the past we’ve lighted on the Tucson for lifeless electric steering, but its ride and handling have damped out the worst road surfaces better than many small crossovers. This year’s addition of 18-inch wheels to the options list shouldn’t change that too much.
With no major change to its dimensions, the 2019 Tucson will remain a fair bit smaller than the packaging king, Honda’s CR-V. The Tucson still delivers ample space for four adults. Five—three adults in back—won’t be happy for long rides, but to be fair, when can five adults agree on anything?
The 2019 Tucson adopts the latest safety features in its quest to fend off not just the CR-V, but also SUVs like the new 2019 Subaru Forester. Forward-collision warnings are standard, along with active lane control. The Tucson can be ordered with a surround-view camera system and adaptive cruise control to go with its standard rearview camera. Since crash-test scores have been strong in the past, we expect this new model will fare well, but no IIHS or NHTSA scores are published.
Prices haven’t been set, but the 2019 Tucson goes on sale later this year in Value and SE versions with the 2.0-liter inline-4, and in SEL, Sport, and Limited models with the 2.4-liter inline-4.
For 2019, the Hyundai Tucson comes with the usual power features, Bluetooth, and touchscreen audio. The base screen now is a 7.0-inch unit, and the Tucson has standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Automatic headlights, a rear-seat USB port, and wireless smartphone charging are new options to go with the usual leather, sunroof, and navigation.