Overall, the 2009 Hyundai Tucson offers acceptable performance. There are a few nice touches, especially in the available AWD system.
The 2009 Hyundai Tucson offers two choices. Cars.com notes that "either a four-cylinder or V-6 engine can be installed." The four-cylinder option is a 2.0-liter engine that produces approximately 140 horsepower. The V-6 engine is 2.7 liters and generates 173 hp. According to ConsumerGuide, "the 4-cylinder engine is fine for commuting, but it lacks the power to give Tucson ... confident highway merging and passing ability." The V-6 is stronger, but it has "little power reserve for passing," says ConsumerGuide, and "acceleration is tepid," comments Edmunds, reporting that "power is not the Tucson's strong suit."
Similarly, the 2009 Hyundai Tucson offers two choices for transmissions. Cars.com explains that "a manual transmission is available for four-cylinder models." The other option is a Shiftronic four-speed automatic transmission. The V-6 engine is "offered only with the automatic," according to Cars.com. Car and Driver reports that the heavy Tucson fights "a constant battle against an optional four-speed automatic transmission that can never decide what gear to be in." The reviewer finds that "upshifts and downshifts occur almost randomly" and "you're never in the right gear—only a less wrong one."
Cars.com reports that "both versions [of the engine] can be equipped with front-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive." A nifty BorgWarner Electronic InterActive Torque Management system in the four-wheel-drive version "can divert up to 50 percent of available power to the rear wheels in response to changing road conditions or torque demand," according to Cars.com. Consumer Guide explains, "the AWD has a dashboard switch that locks in a 50/50 front/rear power split"—good for muddy or snowy conditions.
The 2009 Hyundai Tucson is "easy to drive and requires little correction on straightaways," observes Cars.com. The Tucson "leans toward the cushiony end of the ride and handling spectrum rather than the sporty side," notes Cars.com. Edmunds calls the handling of the Tucson "carlike." Car and Driver is not a fan of the Tucson's handling, remarking, "Throw the Tucson into a series of switchbacks, and its mass conspires to sap the fun from any great road." ConsumerGuide finds that "steering is a bit overassisted in the Tucson." The upshot is that "the ride is pleasantly smooth on most surfaces." Passengers will feel more bumpy surfaces, but ConsumerGuide comments that "ride quality is a Tucson ... asset." ConsumerGuide declares the ride quality "composed and comfortable around town and absorbent over all but sharp bumps at highway speeds." Car and Driver deems the ride "quiet" and "serene," with "excellent isolation from the rough stuff and a quiver-free structure. Overall, however, Kelley Blue Book reports that the Tucson is a "capable commuter in snow and rain and an off-road champ in mud or sand."