Car Reviews

2019 Hyundai Tucson Review

Dean Mellor’s 2019 Hyundai Tucson Review With Pricing, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In A Nutshell Hot on the heels of the all-new Santa Fe, Hyundai has released a revised version of its popular Tucson Medium SUV, with a fresh new look, revised interior, boosted equipment levels and added safety features.

2019 Hyundai Tucson Specifications

Pricing From $28,150-$48,800 Warranty 5-years/unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months/10,000km (1.6 T-GDi); 15,000km 2.0 GDi and 2.0 CRDi Safety Five star Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder GDi petrol; 1.6-litre four-cylinder T-GDi turbo-petrol; 2.0-litre four-cylinder CRDi turbo-diesel Power 122kW at 6200rpm; 130kW at 5500rpm; 136kW at 4000rpm Torque 205Nm at 4000rpm; 265Nm at 1500-4500rpm; 400Nm at 1750-2750rpm Transmission 6-speed manual; 6-speed auto; 7-speed DCT; 8-speed auto Drive front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive Dimensions 4480mm (L); 1850mm (W); 1655-1660mm (H) Turning Circle 11m Ground Clearance 172mm Kerb Weight 1497-1820kg GVM 2070-2280kg Payload 460-573kg Cargo space 488/1478L Towing Capacity 750kg/1600kg Tyres 225/60R17 (Go and Active X); 225/55R18 (Elite); 245/45R19 (Highlander) Spare Full-size Fuel Tank 62L Thirst (combined) 7.8L/100km (2.0 GDi man); 7.9L/100km (2.0 GDi auto); 7.7L/100km (1.6 T-GDi); 6.4L/100km (2.0 CRDi)

With three engine options, four transmissions and four specification levels, Hyundai aims to give customers loads of choice when choosing a Tucson to suit their needs and budget.

What is the Hyundai Tucson?

The Tucson is Hyundai’s entrant in the hugely popular SUV Medium segment. While it has lost some market share over the past 12 months, it’s still the fourth most popular vehicle in the segment behind Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail. Hyundai no doubt hopes that this revised 2019 model will claw back some lost market share, which at the end of July 2018 stood at 11.3 per cent of the segment, down from 15.2 per cent for the same period the previous year.

The Tucson was awarded a five-star ANCAP rating in 2016.

The 2019 Tucson “nip and tuck”, as Hyundai Australia Senior Product Planning Manager Andrew Tuitahi describes it, includes the adoption of Hyundai’s signature cascading front grille, restyled headlights and the inclusion of daytime running lights. And while the side profile remains largely unchanged, the rear of the Tucson has had a tidy-up with a new bumper, sharper tailgate lines and new taillight signature. There are also new wheel designs across the range.

The Tucson was awarded a five-star ANCAP rating in 2016.

The interior has also undergone a styling makeover and all models have a redesigned dash incorporating the use of premium soft-touch materials and the inclusion of a new floating tablet-style multimedia system.

What’s the price and what’s in the range?

If it’s choice the consumer is after, then Hyundai delivers it in spades with Tucson. There are three engines to choose from, four transmissions, two- and all-wheel drive systems, and four specification levels, along with several options and safety packs on the lower grade specs.

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Only three per cent of Tucson buyers have opted for the six-speed manual gearbox so far in 2018, which is available exclusively with the front-wheel drive 2.0-litre petrol four in Go spec ($28,150) and Active X spec ($31,350). The six-speed auto option on these grades adds $2500. The Elite grade is also available with the 2.0-litre petrol four with six-speed auto for $37,850.

The punchier 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine is only available in all-wheel drive configuration and is mated exclusively to a seven-speed DCT transmission in Elite spec ($40,850) or Highlander spec ($46,500).

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine is also an all-wheel drive-only proposition and it’s mated to an inhouse-developed eight-speed auto transmission. This powertrain is available in all trim levels, starting at $35,950 for Go, $39,150 for Active X, $43,150 for Elite and topping out at $48,800 for Highlander.

Options include premium paint ($595), beige interior trim ($295 – not available on Go) and SmartSense safety pack ($2200 – on auto Go and Active X). The full suite of SmartSense safety equipment (not available on manual variants) is standard on Elite and Highlander models.

Hyundai says that every 2019 Tucson has more standard equipment than the preceding model. The base-spec Go features Hyundai Auto Link, one-touch turn signals (three, five or seven flashes), steering wheel controls for audio, phone, cruise control and trip computer, rake and reach adjustable steering, rear-view camera, seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, six-speaker sound system with Aux/USB input and Bluetooth, height adjustable driver’s seat, 3.5-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster, manual air conditioning, rear floor vents, retractable cargo cover, roof rails, tailgate spoiler, fog lights, LED DRLs, dusk-sensing headlights and 17-inch steel wheels with hubcaps.

In addition to features on Go, the Active X has adjustable Drive Mode with Eco, Comfort and Sport settings (1.6 T-GDi and 2.0 CRDi only), an eight-inch touchscreen, satnav with live traffic updates, rear park assist system, Infinity eight-speaker sound system with DAB+, leather trim, two-way driver’s seat lumbar support, rear USB port, heated external mirrors, tyre pressure monitoring system and 17-inch alloy wheels.

2019 Hyundai Tucson Highlander Review by

The Elite also comes standard with Hyundai SmartSense (see ‘What safety features does it get?’), electronic parking brake with auto hold function, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry/start, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, rear privacy glass, climate control air conditioning, rear console vents, glovebox cooling, LED courtesy and puddle lights, a luggage net and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The fully-loaded top-spec Highlander adds Hyundai Auto Link Premium, front park assist, heated and ventilated front seats, eight-way power-adjustable passenger’s seat, heated steering wheel, an extra 12V power outlet on the console, wireless charging pad, panoramic glass sunroof, solar control glass, hands-free power tailgate, a 4.2-inch TFT colour LCD instrument cluster, static bending LED lights, a matte grey skid plate, dual chrome exhaust tips and 19-inch alloy wheels.

What’s the interior and practicality like?

The Tucson’s revised dash, premium materials and new floating touchscreen certainly tidy up the look of the interior. Even on the base-spec Go, there’s an air of refinement and quality, so you won’t be left with that ‘poverty-pack’ feeling. The dash has a clean look and simple, well laid-out switchgear, and attractive alloy-effect trim around the vents. Even the harder plastics are good quality and look like they will prove relatively scratch-resistant over time.

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The standard perforated leather trim on Active X and above models not only looks great but provides good comfort and breathability. The double stitching on the seats, centre console armrest and upper dash is a nice touch, as is the feel of the leather trim on the steering wheel and gear knob. The optional beige interior on Active X, Elite and Highlander models lightens up the interior and gives it an airier feeling than the standard dark grey, but it will not be to everyone’s tastes.

2019 Hyundai Tucson Highlander Review by

There’s plenty of fore/aft and height adjustment for drivers of all shapes and sizes, and the reach and rake adjustable steering makes it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. Shorter people will rue the lack of height adjustment on the passenger seat on all but the Highlander model, but they too are provided with plenty of fore/aft adjustment.

2019 Hyundai Tucson Highlander Review by

The rear offers reasonable width and you’d easily fit three tweens or smaller-framed teens/adults across the 60/40 split seat. Leg room is adequate, too, and even the centre position isn’t uncomfortable, at least for shorter trips. The two outboard seats have a comfortable shape and offer good support, but the window-line is quite high, and some smaller kids might not be happy with that. There’s a centre fold-down armrest with a couple of cupholders as well as decent-size door pockets with cupholders.

The cargo area has a low load height and offers a flat floor with the rear seats folded. There’s a bag hook, a cargo cover, under-floor storage recess and cargo tie-down points. The spare tyre is located under the floor and all model grades get a matching (steel on Go and alloy on other grades) full-size spare.

What are the controls and infotainment like?

Tucson offers a 7.0-inch and 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system depending on the model you go for. All are available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the system, as we’ve found in other Hyundais, works well with enough functionality. The screens are resistant to glare and/or showing finger print smudges.

2019 Hyundai Tucson Highlander Review by

Hyundai offers Auto Link which connects the Tucson to an owner’s mobile phone via Bluetooth, and it provides a real-time overview of vehicle data such as diagnostics, tyre pressure monitoring, driving history statistics, parking management, easy service scheduling and automatic access to roadside assistance. Auto Link Premium, which is standard on the Highlander, allows users to control vehicle features from their phone such as engine start and stop, door lock and unlock, hazard, hazard and horn, cabin temperature and defroster. There is an annual subscription fee for Auto Link Premium, which is included in the servicing cost so long as the Tucson is serviced at a Hyundai dealer.

What’s the performance like?

Depending on powertrain and equipment level, some Tucsons are better than others, but even the base-spec Go with the 2.0 GDi engine and six-speed auto (there were no manual variants to sample on the launch drive) is a good thing. Sure, with a modest 122kW and 205Nm at its disposal, performance is hardly scintillating, but so long as you’re not in a mad rush, or fully loaded with passengers and luggage, it gets along at a decent clip. To deliver its best, however, it needs to be revved, and it can sound a bit coarse under load and in the upper half of the rev range, and the six-speed auto can be a little indecisive in undulating terrain, often hunting for the right ratio, but at least the shifts are smooth.

The 1.6 T-GDi is a much stronger performer with a great spread of torque across the rev range (peak torque of 265Nm is available from as low as 1500rpm all the way to 4500rpm), but as it’s only available in AWD Elite and Highlander variants, the $40k-plus price tag won’t be for everyone. This engine is also smoother than the 2.0 GDi, and mates nicely with the seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission (DCT). Gearshifts are not quite auto smooth, but that’s simply not the characteristic of a DCT, and once you’re used to the way it operates it’s quite satisfying, working well on the open road, holding on to taller gears when you want it to and shifting down quickly when needed.

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The pick of the powertrains is the AWD 2.0 CRDi with the eight-speed auto… and the fact it’s available across all trim levels is a bonus. The engine makes shedloads of torque from low in the rev range, it’s refined and quiet for a diesel, it has a relatively strong top-end and the eight-speed auto is superb, offering a ratio for every occasion and super-smooth shift quality.

The selectable drive modes work well on both the 1.6 T-GDi and 2.0 CRDi variants, with the power mode noticeably sharpening throttle response and providing more enthusiastic gear shifting for press-on driving conditions. If you’re not in a hurry, the Comfort mode is the best choice; Eco slows down gearshifts a little too much, especially in hilly terrain. The drive mode switch is awkwardly located, however, set back on the centre console just in front of the armrest, so you sometimes have to take your eyes off the road to find it.

What’s it like on the road?

As with all Hyundais (except vans), the Tucson has undergone extensive local suspension tuning… and it shows. The launch drive-route incorporated plenty of bumpy and wet secondary roads around the Marysville area in Victoria, as well as a few corrugated gravel road sections, and all model variants performed exceptionally well, soaking up bumps and cornering with confidence. Ride quality is definitely a Tucson strength, even on the Highlander model fitted with 19-inch rims wearing 245/45R19 rubber.

2019 Hyundai Tucson Highlander Review by

The steering is nice and light when manoeuvring around carparks but weights up nicely on the open roads, offering good feel and feedback. For 2019 the Tucson’s steering ratio has been tweaked for slightly fewer turns lock-to-lock. 

2019 Hyundai Tucson Highlander Review by

The AWD models are obviously the best choice for those who intend to drive on gravel or take regular trips to the snow, and the centre diff lock switch ensures an even distribution of torque between front and rear axles on slippery surfaces.

What about ownership?

The Tucson comes with a five-year fixed-price servicing plan with different pricing and servicing intervals depending on the engine spec.

What safety features does it get?

The Tucson was awarded a five-star ANCAP rating in 2016 and this refreshed model carries over that rating. Standard safety features on the Tucson Go include six airbags, ABS, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Downhill Brake Control, Hill-Start Assist Control, Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Management, Emergency Stop Signal, rear-view camera with dynamic guide lines, two ISOFIX anchors and three top tether child-seat anchors.

The optional $2200 Hyundai SmartSense package for auto Go and Active X models, which is standard on Elite and Highlander but not available at all on manual-transmission models, includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) System, Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW) and High Beam Assist (HBA).

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Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the controls and infotainment?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate safety?
Practical Motoring Says: There’s no doubt the 2019 Hyundai Tucson is a great vehicle, especially when equipped with either the 1.6 T-GDi or 2.0 CRDi engines and their respective self-shifters, but it will be interesting to see if the market thinks a ‘nip and tuck’ is enough to reinvigorate sales over the next 12 months.

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Dean Mellor

Dean Mellor