By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
The 2012 Hyundai Tucson competes in the crowded compact SUV segment that includes such well-established nameplates as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4. Available in both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD), the Hyundai Tucson distinguishes itself with eye-catching style and value. For 2012, the Tucson secured the #2 spot on Kelley Blue Book's Best Resale Value Awards list in the "Best Compact SUV" category, besting the stalwart CR-V and RAV4. The battleground heats up in 2012 as the Tucson faces fully-redesigned segment sales leaders Ford Escape and Honda CR-V, and the introduction of the all-new Mazda CX-5.
The sculpted exterior of the 2012 Hyundai Tucson's design looks fresh and stands out among its boxy competitors. All Tucsons come well-equipped, so there is no confusing options list. Hyundai's legendary 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage beats the competition and gives you additional peace of mind.
The 2012 Tucson's sloping roofline and small rear windows compromise visibility and reduce rear cargo capacity. If you need a third row seat to carry seven passengers, consider the Toyota RAV4. If you want a V6 engine, look at the Ford Escape or RAV4. Navigation and a rearview camera are available only on the high-end Limited trim.
For 2012, the Tucson receives a larger gas tank to extend your driving range.
Driving Impressions You'll feel confident driving the 2012 Hyundai Tucson with its secure and responsive handling. The Tucson's maneuverability in parking lots and tight spaces is a big plus. Acceleration from the...170-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is on par with the RAV4s, Escapes and Chevy Equinoxes in its class. The responsive 6-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The engine revs rather loudly when accelerating to freeway speeds or when passing other vehicles making it difficult to hear passenger conversations. The Hyundai's ride is a bit stiff and nervous so you feel even the small bumps, and, unfortunately, the little SUV's handling doesn't pay this off. Use extra caution when changing lanes as rear visibility is hampered by the Tucson's sloping roofline and small rear windows.
Value For The Money
Hyundai continues its "value-pricing" philosophy with the 2012 Hyundai Tucson, offering well-equipped vehicles for less money than the competition, as well as an ability to maintain its value over time.
The 2012 Tucson's sculpted exterior shape still looks fresh after three years on the market and stands out among the crowd.
Five passengers will find convenient access to the Tucson with its wide doors and low floor height. The dashboard and interior panels, although mainly hard plastic, are nicely textured. The controls are within easy reach, feel substantial - the beveled window switches are especially nice – and operate smoothly. Drivers will appreciate nicely shaped (and almost supportive) 6-way adjustable seat (8-way power in the Limited). Second-row passengers may feel a bit claustrophobic due to the low seat cushion height, sloping roof, and high beltline. The 60/40-split seatbacks do not recline and may be too erect for some passengers. Foot room, however, is abundant due to the nearly flat floor in the rear.Exterior
What distinguishes the 2012 Hyundai Tucson from the competition is its European sculpted styling. Although the Tucson is a utility vehicle, its shape is not boxy, but rather fresh and athletic. Up front, the Hyundai SUV sports a sculpted hood, aggressive 2-tier grille, and wrap-around headlights. From the side, the vehicle's aerodynamic shape includes a steeply raked windshield and sloping roofline with rear spoiler. On GLS and Limited models, the silver roof rails do double duty: They help accentuate the flowing lines of the vehicle and also carry cargo. Like most vehicles in this category, a large 1-piece rear liftgate allows easy access to the cargo area.
All 2012 Hyundai Tucsons come well-equipped. The base Tucson GL has standard air conditioning, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, three 12-volt outlets for all your electronics, trip computer, iPod/USB and MP3 auxiliary input jacks. Moving up to the GLS adds a larger 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with slightly more power, a 6-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, and silver roof rails. The GLS also adds heated mirrors, cruise control, heated front seats (AWD), and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with integrated audio, cruise control, and Bluetooth hands-free phone controls. The top-of-the-line Limited brings 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seating, power 8-way driver seat with power lumbar support, heated front seats, automatic dual temperature controls, automatic headlights, and front fog lights. All Tucsons have a safety/security roster that includes six airbags, stability and traction control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, downhill brake control, and hill-start assist.
Few options are available as all Hyundai Tucsons come generously equipped. An automatic transmission is $1,000 on the base GL trim. All-wheel drive is an option on the GLS ($1,650) and Limited ($1,500) models, providing extra security on wet roads. The Tucson SUV, however, is not meant for serious off-roading. The $2,850 Premium Package on the high-line Limited includes a panoramic sunroof, navigation system, rearview camera, and premium audio system for the driver who wants it all.
The 2012 Hyundai Tucson offers two 4-cylinder engine choices: a 165-hp 2.0-liter in the base GL and a 176-hp (for ULEV states), 170-hp (for PZEV states) 2.4-liter on the mid-level GLS and top-level Limited models. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on the GL, while a 6-speed automatic is standard on the GLS and Limited. Drivers can opt for all-wheel drive on the Tucson GLS or Limited.
Hyundai Tucson GL
2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder
165 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
146 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (manual transmission), 22/29 mpg (automatic)
Hyundai Tucson GLS, Limited
2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder
176 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
168 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm
170 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
163 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (FWD), 20/27 mpg (AWD)
By hawks1st on Friday, July 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,100overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Cons: "very poor value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Very noisy, poor ride, no auto release/close on tailgate gas tank too small, very limited distance per tank of gas manual slide to show moon roof"
By drchuckss on Monday, June 30, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: I could afford to
Pros: "I liked it."
Cons: "See comments above."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"The clutch was a "bit touchy." I have driven a manual trans. car for over 50 years. Nonetheless, I would stall this car every so often. That shouldn't happen to an experienced driver, but it did. I had three Honda Civic's prior and never had that problem. Conclusion: it wasn't the fault of the driver."
8 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Jonathan on Thursday, June 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "very good price, great gas mileage"
Cons: "there are no ashtrays or lighters"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned over ten vehicles in the past years that included AWD and 4WD. None of which have been a "car," but were either a SUV or like the Hyundai Tucson which is able to hold a lot more than the normal vehicle. I have yet to have a problem with the vehicle. Whether it be rain or snow, the Hyundai Tucson has driven perfectly through the seasons. I do not get the sense of "top-heaviness- that I have from other makes such us as Nissan or Toyota in the similar categories. What surprises me is the gas mileage. I receive better gas mileage with my 2.4L engine than my neighbor's 2.0L engine bought the same year. That allows me a little extra money in my pocket that the Mrs. does not need to know about *laugh*. I love this car so much because I had bought this car and within 30 minutes I was slammed into by an 18-wheeler on the interstate. The 18-wheeler must have been going close to 70 mph and I went over an embankment, finally landed, and proceeded to roll at least six times. I am alive today because of this car. I sustained scratches and bruises from the accident, but the majority of my injuries came from the air bags protecting my life. I was able to walk away from the scene of that accident without broken bones or needing stitches. I will always purchase a Hyundai from now on."
12 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Emmett on Sunday, May 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Super value, repair free!"
Cons: "Front seat a tad stiff and a bit uncomfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This being my second Hyundai this Tuscan has performed extremely well. No issues other than tires and brake on either vehicle. The Sonata I owned prior was an amazing car and after 140k I traded it in for the Tuscan"
7 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Howard on Thursday, February 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, comfort, fun, driveability, value"
Cons: "A bit noisy at highway speeds, rear seats not flat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own the 2012 Limited Edition with all the bells and whistles. I got a great deal and needed a new vehicle to replace my old CR-V. I have had absolutely no issues at all, just oil changes. Great looks, reasonable gas mileage, spacious --even more so with the panoramic roof--."
11 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By JB on Saturday, January 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Appearance, interior, drive/handling, style, fun!"
Cons: "Lower MPG than advertised, TINY gas tank"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have leased this vehicle for 3 years and 36k miles and I can say it is a great value! It is loaded with a bunch of extra cost features that Hyundai includes in their base vehicle, including Bluetooth phone and garage door opener, etc. I have the GLS upgraded model and still get complements on the outside looks after 3 years. The reliability is 100%, the fit and finish is great. It drives and handles like a sporty small car, not at all like a SUV. Leather seats are great and seat heaters very nice, even in Florida! Actually holds a lot of stuff with rear seats down. Only negatives are the inside materials (i.e. plastic rear sides, etc.) get marked up very easily when you carry things and the marks do not come off. The electronic dash data screen is blue, very small and very hard to read especially in bright sunlight. The largest complaint I have is about gas mileage versus the "EPA Estimates". Window sticker said 24/31 for this vehicle and it is one of the reasons I selected it. Could never get even close to the 31 highway MPG. With 2 passengers and small luggage I get 25-26 at best. Nothing wrong with that but I really wanted the advertised mileage. Last complaint - the gas tank is TINY and the low fuel system tells me to fill up when it will hold all of 12-13 gallons max! Overall the other features out weight these complaints and they may have been corrected in newer models. Really a great vehicle and I would certainly recommend it!!"
13 people out of 13 found this review helpful