- Turbocharged engine delivers peppy acceleration and good fuel economy
- Plenty of advanced safety and infotainment features are available
- Comfortable ride on rough roads
- Top safety scores
- Slow acceleration from the base trim's engine
- Clumsy low-speed shifting from the turbo engine's transmission
- Certain desirable items are offered only on the Limited
- Less total cargo space than top rivals
It's easy to understand the appeal of today's small crossover SUVs. These vehicles offer the admirable fuel economy and easy-to-drive demeanor you'd get from a similarly sized sedan but also have abundant cargo space and the availability of all-wheel drive to help out in wet conditions. The 2017 Hyundai Tucson is one of the small crossovers out there vying for your attention and has a number of traits that place it high on our list of recommended models.
Redesigned just last year, the Tucson grew in size and gained sharp, new styling and lots of modern technology. These upgrades, along with the new turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, made the Tucson much more competitive. With even more creature comforts and tech added this year, owning a Tuscon is even better. It's also worth mentioning that the Tucson, with its optional crash-avoidance technology fitted, received the highest possible safety ratings from both the government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Of course, the Tucson is one of many available options for a small crossover SUV. Three of the Tucson's chief rivals are the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4. They are all a bit roomier inside while offering excellent interior design and impressive fuel economy. Other options we recommend are the sporty Ford Escape and Kia Sportage, which offer similar equipment levels along with competitive pricing. And if you want a slightly smaller crossover, check out the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3. But overall, we like the stylish Tucson and see it as an ideal pick for a lot of crossover SUV shoppers.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2017
Following up on last year's full redesign, the 2017 Hyundai Tucson receives a few updates to technology and interior quality. Most notably, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration debuts on the Tucson's top trim levels.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2017 Hyundai Tucson is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV offered in six trim levels: SE, SE Plus, Eco, Sport, Night and Limited.
The base SE comes standard with a 2.0-liter engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, air-conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks with recline, Bluetooth connectivity, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 5-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB port, an auxiliary input jack and satellite radio. The optional Popular package adds a few extras including a power driver seat, LED headlight accents and daytime running lights.
The Eco has the above but essentially swaps out the 2.0-liter engine for a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine.
Step up to the Sport and you get 19-inch wheels, a hands-free power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded interior trim with additional soft-touch surfaces and a few upgraded safety technologies (see Safety section).
The new Night trim level primarily includes visual upgrades to the Sport, including black 19-inch wheels, black side mirrors and matte black side sills. It also comes with the panoramic sunroof, aluminum sport pedals and a sportier-looking, perforated-leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The SE Plus (2.0-liter engine) and Limited (1.6-liter engine) throws in LED headlights and taillights, leather upholstery, an eight-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, HD radio and an eight-speaker audio system.
Offered exclusively on the Limited is an Ultimate package that includes adaptive xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, an upgraded gauge cluster display, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, lane departure warning, and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
On the inside, Hyundai has given the 2017 Tucson a simple and generally attractive look. The dashboard design is logical with all the basic controls within arm's reach. Materials quality isn't quite the same story, though, with a lot of hard plastics in the cabin, especially on the base trim. If you upgrade to the Limited trim level, you'll get a lot more in the way of interior livability with a padded dashboard and door inserts with accents.
Also available on the Limited and SE Plus trims is the 8-inch touchscreen. It's more capable and better looking than the standard 5-inch display, but both systems are user-friendly thanks to readily accessible virtual buttons and an intuitive layout. Unfortunately, only these two trims offer the 8-inch screen or the optional eight-speaker stereo. On the bright side, USB connectivity, Bluetooth and satellite radio come standard on every Tucson, so there's no shortage of musical fun to be had.
The front seats are comfortable, and the Tucson is distinctive in its availability of a power front passenger seat (Limited and SE Plus only). The rear seat doesn't slide fore and aft, which strikes us as a missed opportunity in this segment, but can now accommodate a couple of 6-footers without issue.
On the spec sheet, the Tucson posts up to 31 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks and 61.9 cubes with those seatbacks folded down, which is less than some other top crossovers (the CR-V is at 35.2 and 70.9 cubes, respectively). Sweetening the deal is the hands-free power liftgate that comes standard on the Sport and Limited. Unlike the Ford Escape's version of this technology, which works via a foot sensor that you need to kick at, the Tucson employs a proximity sensor that opens the liftgate automatically if it senses you're standing in the vicinity with the key in your pocket. In any event, the Tucson has plenty of storage nooks for your stuff, particularly for front passengers.
Standard safety items on the 2017 Hyundai Tucson include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, hill-hold assist and hill descent control.
In Edmunds brake testing, a FWD Tucson came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, an average stopping distance for a compact crossover.
All trims provide a rearview camera as standard, while the SE Plus and Sport get standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The Limited features all of those items, plus a couple optional items via the Ultimate package (lane departure warning and a forward collision warning and mitigation system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection).
The Blue Link telematics suite is standard on the Limited but unavailable on the other trims. It includes emergency safety assistance and other smartphone-based features via the Blue Link mobile app. If you upgrade to the Remote package, you also get stolen vehicle recovery, a car finder and electronic parameter settings (geo-fencing, speed/curfew alerts and valet alert) and remote ignition and accessory operation via a smartphone or even smartwatch.
In government crash tests, the 2017 Hyundai Tucson received five stars (out of a possible five) for overall crash protection, as well as five stars in front and side crash protection. Both the all-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive versions of the Tucson received those top scores.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Tucson its top score of Good in the small-overlap front-impact, moderate-overlap front-impact and side-impact crash tests. The Tucson also received the top score of Good in the IIHS' roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests, plus the highest rating of Superior for the car's optional forward collision mitigation system.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The 2017 Hyundai Tucson SE and SE Plus are equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway) with FWD and 23 mpg combined (21 city/26 highway) with AWD.
All other Tucson trim levels (Eco, Sport, Night and Limited) are powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that generates 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The 1.6-liter engine is paired to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission that works like a regular automatic. In Edmunds performance testing, a FWD Tucson Limited made the sprint from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, which is respectably quick for this class of vehicle.
As for fuel economy, the Eco checks in at 28 mpg combined (26 city/32 highway) with FWD and 27 mpg combined (25 city/30 highway) with AWD. The bigger wheels and tires on the Sport and Limited knock those estimates down to 27 mpg combined (25 city/30 highway) with FWD and 25 mpg combined (24 city/28 highway) with AWD. Most other top small crossovers post similar fuel economy estimates.
f you decide to buy a Tucson, we recommend going with the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine. Yes, the price is lower on the 2.0-liter equipped trims, but the larger engine is less refined and just doesn't feel powerful enough for a vehicle of this size. The smaller turbocharged engine is peppy, smooth and respectably fuel-efficient. You might notice some rough upshifts from its transmission or even some hesitation when moving from a stop, though.
The 2017 Hyundai Tucson's ride quality strikes a good balance between sporty and comfortable. It's composed and somewhat enjoyable around corners, but it's also relatively quiet and smooth over bumpy city roads. The base and Eco predictably have a more composed ride with their 17-inch wheels, but the 19-inch wheels (standard on Sport, Night and Limited) are totally livable too. And though it might not be able to fit as much cargo as some of its compact rivals, the Tucson is small enough on the outside that it's a breeze to park and maneuver in tight spaces.
Following up on last year's full redesign, the 2017 Hyundai Tucson receives a few updates to technology and interior quality. Most notably, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration debuts on the Tucson's top trim levels. There's also a new SE Plus trim this year.