New 2018 Hyundai Tucson SUV New 2018
Hyundai Tucson SUV

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

Once unrivaled at offering numerous features at a great price, Hyundai suddenly finds itself scrambling to make the 2018 Hyundai Tucson the unbeatable bargain it once was. The changes come as a sea of newer and equally well-equipped competitors hit the market, including compact-crossover-SUV favorites like the Subaru Crosstrek, Nissan Rogue and the Jeep Compass. To its credit, Hyundai has created a stylish and sporty compact SUV, offering numerous technology features, a choice of normally aspirated or turbocharged 4-cylinder engines and such high-end options as a panoramic sunroof and Infinity premium audio system. Also along for the ride is Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

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You'll Like This SUV If...

If you’re seeking a compact-crossover SUV and don’t require rugged off-road credentials, the 2018 Hyundai Tucson offers style, features and safety, all at a great price. The Tucson’s optional turbocharged engine delivers good performance with decent fuel economy.

You May Not Like This SUV If...

If you’re looking for maximum cargo and rear-seat space, a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Outback makes a better choice. You’ll find more power in the Kia Sportage SX and better handling from the Mazda CX-5.

What's New for 2018

2018 sees a reordering of the Tucson’s trim lines to five models: SE, SEL, SEL Plus, Value and Limited. SEL and higher trims gain heated front seats, SiriusXM, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The SEL Plus gets an 8-inch touch screen and Infinity audio, while the Limited gains a heated steering wheel.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

For a small-crossover SUV, the 2018 Hyundai Tucson is remarkably quiet inside. Wind, road and engine noise are impressively contained and the well-sorted suspension delivers a composed ride even over unpaved roads. The comfort level varies widely, however, depending on wheel size. Feedback from the electric-assisted power steering still feels a bit vague at times, but it’s better than previous iterations. The optional 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is strong off the line, but then seems to fade just when we need it to shine, namely during passing and merging maneuvers. Placing the drive-mode select into Sport mode makes the engine, throttle and transmission more responsive, but not more powerful. We found much to like in the Tucson’s 7-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission that delivered quick, smooth shifts and helped our test vehicle achieve a respectable 30 mpg on the highway.

Favorite Features

SMART POWER TAILGATE
No flailing arms or legs required to activate the Tucson’s power tailgate. Simply approach the vehicle with the fob in hand (or pocket), stand behind the vehicle for a few seconds and the tailgate automatically opens.

YES ESSENTIALS STAIN PROTECTION
Spills and mishaps are a fact of family car life, which is why Hyundai adds stain-resistant YES Essentials technology to Tucson models with cloth seats. Beyond its ability to minimize stains, the fabric also deters odors and reduces static discharge.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The base Hyundai Tucson SE offers a 6-way-manual seat, but skip that and move up to the SEL or SEL Plus, both of which come with an 8-way-power seat and lumbar support. The sensible dash offers big vents, simple instrumentation, and buttons and knobs for climate and audio controls. At night, the controls are backlit in soft blue lighting. Simplicity extends to the digital display between the gauges, which doesn't overload the driver with info. Even if it's not best-in-class roomy, the comfortable rear seat works just fine, and the cargo area's adjustable floor also includes storage for the cargo cover.

Exterior

There's no question the 2018 Tucson is a sharp-looking compact SUV. The big grille, flowing lines and LED-accented headlights bring it into the same fold as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport -- very good company. The front end's styling centers on that trapezoidal grille, with lines flowing over the hood and across the fenders to the rear, blending into the taillights. Under the pretty styling is a chassis that uses more than 50-percent high-strength steel, providing a strength that makes the Hyundai Tucson safe and stable. 

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson SE is the least expensive, and offers what we consider the basics on a modern vehicle: rearview camera, Bluetooth- and USB-equipped audio system, 17-inch alloy wheels, and an automatic transmission for the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. But it's better to step up to the SEL model, where you'll get heated front seats, an 8-way-power driver's seat, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A half-step up from that is the SEL Plus, which adds blind-spot monitoring, proximity key, leather seating and an 8-inch navigation touch screen with Infinity audio. Top-line Limited models get a heated steering wheel, the 1.6-liter turbo engine (also standard on the Value trim) and an 8-way-power passenger seat.

Notable Optional Equipment

All-wheel drive is available on every trim level, but optional equipment doesn’t show up until you reach the Limited trim’s Ultimate package. When so equipped, the Limited becomes the ultimate Tucson, with ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, lane-departure warning, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Oddly, the Value model offers the better 1.6-liter turbo engine but not the SEL Plus’ 8-inch navigation system or Infinity audio.

Under the Hood

Base Tucson SE, SEL and SEL Plus models get a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission, which is a bit of a dog. Choose Value or Limited to get the much better 1.6-liter turbo-4 and 7-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available with either engine in lieu of the standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) setup. AWD Tucson models offer a "lock" feature, ensuring up to a 50/50 torque split between the front and rear wheels for better grip in low-traction situations. And don't equate "turbo" with "speed"; instead, the upgrade engine successfully concentrates on fuel economy, getting up to 30 mpg on regular-unleaded gas.

2.0-liter inline-4
164 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD), 21/26 mpg (AWD)

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
175 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/30 mpg (FWD), 24/28 mpg (AWD)

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Pricing Notes

You can get a 2018 Hyundai Tucson SE with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $23,500, but we suggest skipping that and heading to the better-equipped SEL models, which start at a bit more than $24,750 and $27,650, respectively. The Value trim kicks off at about $27,500, while the top-line Limited will run about $30,400. All-wheel drive adds $1,400 to any Tucson's starting price. If you opt for the Ultimate package on the 2018 Tucson Limited, you'll be looking at about $35,000 worth of compact SUV. That's pretty favorable next to the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue, and is nearly identical to the Ford Escape. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Tucson. Residual values for the Tucson are about on par with the rest of the compact-SUV class.

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