By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/7/2011
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.You'll Like This Car If...
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.You May Not Like This Car If...
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.What's New for 2012
For 2012, the Tucson receives a larger gas tank to extend your driving range.Driving It 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.Favorite Features
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.Notable Standard Equipment
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.Notable Optional Equipment
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)
The 2012 Hyundai Tucson starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,145 for the entry-level GL and tops out at around $29,245 for the high-level Limited with all-wheel drive and the Premium Package. Similarly equipped competitors such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 not only cost more than the Tucson, but they do not have Hyundai's longer warranties. The Tucson excels in the 2012 Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards beating out historical favorites like the CR-V and RAV4. A look at the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com shows what others are paying for the Hyundai Tucson in your area, so be sure to check it out before you buy.