Three years into its new skin, the Hyundai Tucson is seeing its round of fresh changes for 2019. While Hyundai has been focusing the majority of their attention on the new Sonata and Venue, the Tucson hasn’t been forgotten with significant updates to this latest model year.
The realm of compact crossovers has never been more popular than it is right now and with the Hyundai Tucson being one of the originals that started this never ending trend back in 2004, it’s time for some generational apprises. The world is changing faster than the car companies can keep up, the noteworthy changes made to the Tucson help keep it right in line with its competition.
With minor exterior updates, the Tucson sees a new facial expression with an updated grille, headlight & daylight running light design as well as rear modifications to the trunk lid and taillights. After dropping the adaptive HID lighting system on the previous Tucson, starting from the Sport trim up to the range topping Ultimate, the revamped LED headlights is now standard. Prices start at $23,200 for the entry base SE and carries through to the top tiered $31,550 Ultimate. Due to its popularity, the valued packaged Sport with a black mesh grille and 19-inch wheels makes a comeback at $27,700 and new for 2019 the Tucson Night edition with a black appearance package, upgraded 19-inch BBS wheels, and three unique colors pushes close to the Ultimate at $30,650. The Ultimate loses its 19-inch wheels for a smoother ride quality on 18-inch alloys.
After heavy consideration, Hyundai drops their 1.6-liter turbo and 7-speed dual-clutch for their 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder that was found in the previous Sport model. Developing 181-horsepower the Tucson demonstrates slight performance elevations with a smooth responding six-speed automatic. Both lower grade SE and Value trimmed Tucson’s stick with the previous 2.0-liter, 161-horsepower engine. Our featured Ultimate handles itself fiercely with confidence and road movements. Its performance felt adequate for its size as the transmission seemed always on call. Despite their being a Sport mode that nobody will ever use, the transmission and throttle mapping get reorganized for a more rapid driving style.
Keeping to its sporty characteristics, the Tucson is sort of fun to drive. It handles smoothly with boosted electric steering and evenly distributed body control. Due to having new 18-inch wheels, our Tucson Ultimate rode a little smother than the previous Ultimate with 19-inch wheels which also keeps road noise to a minimum. Unfortunately fuel economy is down with the more powerful engine with EPA rated at 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
The interior received the largest update with a completely new dash design to fit more in line with the Hyundai lineup. Incorporating a more current design scheme, there is a streamline appeal to its enterprise following the trend of pop central 8-inch touch screen display encompassing Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity. With the Tucson Ultimate being highly packaged, it features more than just the average heated leather seats – with ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a massive panoramic sunroof and surround view 360-degree camera, the Tucson separates itself from the pack with premium features and technology.
Safety has been a huge upgrade to the Tucson as it now features Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go capabilities, forward collision alert with automatic emergency breaking, steering assist with lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. Interior comfort on the other hand remains competent as it strolls into this mid-cycle update. Rear occupants find substantial space with a high mounted seat that easily occupies taller passengers.
As the crossover segment rapidly changes, this mid-cycle refresh keeps the Tucson feeling fresh offering a valued packaged crossover at a valued price point.
Model: 2019 HYUNDAI TUCSON
Starting Price: $23,200
As Tested: $32,595 – ULTIMATE TRIM
Engine: 2.4-LITER FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 181-HORSEPOWER / 175 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE (ALL-WHEEL DRIVE AVAILABLE AT $1400)
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 22-CITY / 28-HWY / 25-COMBINED
Fuel Range: 390 MILES