2020 Hyundai Tucson

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
August 26, 2019

Buying tip

With active safety features standard, you don’t have to spend top dollar for the safest Tucson.

What the 2020 Hyundai Tucson lacks in distinctiveness, it makes up for in value, safety, and features.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson does all the things a swell-selling crossover SUV should do, though it doesn’t look as trendsetting as it might. Its great value, strong safety record, and impressive standard features stand out for buyers, even if its styling doesn’t. We give the Tucson 6.5 out of 10 overall, behind favorites such as the Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

For 2020, the Tucson gets no changes minus the replacement (or rather, re-naming) of four paint colors.

Available from value-oriented to fully-loaded models—SE, SEL, Ultimate, and Limited–the 2020 Tucson features recently-updated styling that echoes the rest of the Hyundai lineup, and while the angular LED running lights and new grille do work on this crossover body, it fails to stand out with either elegance (like the CX-5) or toughness (like the RAV4). The interior is similarly forgettable, though material quality is good and standard features are impressive.

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A 2.0-liter inline-4 is the base engine while a more powerful 2.4-liter version is available, and the Tucson can be had with all-wheel drive across the range, while front-wheel drive comes standard. Neither engine is particularly powerful nor efficient, losing on both fronts to the more modern turbocharged offerings from competitors. Steering is near lifeless, but the Tucson does sport a comfortable ride quality that stands out among competitors.

Slightly smaller than its competition, the 2020 Tucson doesn’t have as much passenger or cargo space as rivals like the Honda CR-V but does sit four adults comfortably, and features 30 cubic feet of storage space in the rear.

With the 2020 Tucson, Hyundai includes standard features like a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Tucson also offers a full suite of active safety tech right out of the box. With great crash test scores and a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS last year, the Tucson is a safe bet for a family SUV.

5

2020 Hyundai Tucson

Styling

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is both handsome and uninteresting at the same time, like a daytime soap opera star.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is handsome by any account, but it fails to stand out among more distinctive rivals. The interior design is even less inspiring. We give it 5 out of 10 for styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Wearing updated styling to match the rest of the Hyundai lineup, the Santa Fe wears somewhat angular LED running lights and an upright grille. The overall design is generically handsome. Subtle plastic body cladding is less adventure-aspiring than other rivals, but it’s also not as elegant as the likes of the Mazda CX-5.

Inside, the cabin is simple to the point of being boring, but we’ve got no qualms with the material quality or functionality. A standard touchscreen infotainment system is front and center, flanked by useful buttons and knobs and featuring clear displays throughout.

Finished in a sea of black and gray trim, there’s not much visual intrigue to speak of on any trim level of the Tucson, so if you’re looking for a more impressive or brighter interior design, turn elsewhere. If functionality and simplicity is key, Hyundai has the crossover for you.

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5

2020 Hyundai Tucson

Performance

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is down on power but delivers on ride quality.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson says “no thank you” to the growing wave of turbocharged crossovers with mixed results. We give it 5 out of 10 for its paltry acceleration but great ride quality. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on the Tucson, as is the case with almost all compact crossovers. A 2.0-liter inline-4 is standard, as well as a 6-speed automatic transmission, but with just 161 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, acceleration and fuel economy are both thoroughly average.

A 2.4-liter inline-4 is available on the top trim and includes 181 hp and 175 lb-ft, but despite the increase in power, it’s not much sprightlier than the base engine. 

Thankfully, the Tucson does boast impressive ride quality even in base trim, and while the handling characteristics are unlikely to inspire, this small SUV excels at long road trips over some rivals. A drive mode selector allows for sport mode that stiffens the steering and increases the timing of downshifts, which would be our choice for the way the Tucson should be set up as default.

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7

2020 Hyundai Tucson

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is not as spacious as rivals but features good material quality and comfort.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is smaller than rivals but includes decent passenger and cargo space regardless. With good material quality and a quiet cabin, we give it 7 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

While ringing in shorter than most of its primary rivals, the Tucson sits almost directly in between the smaller Kona and the larger Santa Fe. Six-way adjustable front seats are comfortable and supportive, while 8-way power adjustment for both front chairs is available.
In the rear, two adults will fit comfortably once they’ve reclined the back cushion slightly. Shoulder space is in short supply, but knee and head room are better than expected.

Behind the rear seats, the Tucson features 30.1 cubic feet of cargo space, whic grows to 61.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat.

Fit and finish is impressive as is the case with all Hyundais these days, featuring plenty of buttons and switches with clear displays. Hard plastics can be found throughout but are inoffensive, and the top-tier Limited model features leather upholstery and upgraded trim pieces.

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8

2020 Hyundai Tucson

Safety

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson features some standard active safety features and great crash test scores.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson gets good crash test scores and standard active safety equipment, making it one of the safest compact crossovers. We give it 8 out of 10 as such. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

For 2020, the Tucson’s five-star safety rating is renewed from the NHTSA, and while updated figures aren’t available from the IIHS, the new model hasn’t changed, so we expect it to receive the Top Safety Pick+ award yet again. 

Starting with last year’s model, the Tucson offers standard automatic emergency braking and active lane control. Sport and Ultimate models get pedestrian detection, while the Limited model comes with adaptive cruise control with stop and go. All Tucsons but the base SE feature standard blind-spot monitors as well, and a surround-view camera is available on the Limited and Ultimate models at a higher cost. Outward vision isn’t great to the rear, but the Tucson’s not alone in that regard.

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2020 Hyundai Tucson

Features

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is well-equipped in mid-level trims, but gets expensive when fully loaded.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson has no shortage of trim levels in lieu of multiple options packages. We give it 9 out of 10 with consideration for its value in many versions. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All Tucsons come with Hyundai’s excellent 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty as well as 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage

In base SE form, the Tucson includes the less powerful 2.0-liter inline-4, cloth upholstery, air conditioning, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, and automatic emergency braking as well as active lane control. That’s not much for over $24,000, so we recommend starting with the Tucson Value trim, which adds heated front seats, satellite and HD radio, blind spot monitors, keyless ignition, and an 8-way power driver’s seat for about $1,500 more. It’s our pick in the lineup.

The Tucson SEL model includes the larger and more powerful 2.4-liter engine, as well as automatic climate control and extra USB charging ports among other features. The Sport model rings in at near $29,000, but with its 8-speaker Infinity audio system, LED headlights, wireless phone charging, and styling flourishes, we’re not sure it’s worth the cost of entry. It’s a similar story with the near-$30,000 Limited model, which includes power front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, and classier styling elements.

If you do decide to go all-in on a Tucson, the Ultimate model gets cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and an upgraded 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation. Adaptive cruise control is also standard, and a surround-view camera system is optional.

All-wheel drive is optional across the range for $1,400, while front-wheel drive is standard.

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5

2020 Hyundai Tucson

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson manages only average fuel economy despite being down on power and turbochargers compared to rivals.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson makes use of less powerful 4-cylinder engines but sees no benefit from a fuel-economy standpoint. We give it 5 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The base 2.0-liter inline-4 manages figures of 23 mpg city, 28 highway, 25 combined with front-wheel drive and 22/25/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. That’s significantly less than competitors with both larger-displacement and turbocharged engine options like the Honda CR-V, and we’re not quite sure why.

The more powerful 2.4-liter inline-4 that’s standard on the SEL trim and above makes very similar numbers, managing 22/28/25 mpg in front-wheel-drive form, while all-wheel-drive models get 21/26/23 mpg.

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6.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 8
Features 9
Fuel Economy 5
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