Road Test: 2019 Hyundai Tucson

The 2019 Hyundai Tucson enters the highly competitive compact CUV market with upgrades inside and out. Refreshed in all the right areas for this year, it includes a new cascading grille, center stack design, more technology, and advanced safety features.

Hyundai provided us with a 2019 Tucson Ultimate AWD in Coliseum Gray to experience just how competitive the Tucson is in the crowded market.

Starting on the outside, we love the new approach Hyundai is taking with their designs and especially, lighting. The Tucson looks sleek and modern from every angle. The LED illumination all around makes a styling statement, and at night the headlights are bright, illuminating the road ahead beautifully.

Under the hood, Tucson comes with a 2.4-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder engine producing 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft. of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual shifting mode, it includes an overdrive lock-up torque converter for better fuel economy at highway speeds.

We found acceleration, passing power, and efficiency to all be perfect. The transmission doesn’t hunt for gears, and allows the engine to sound good unlike many CVTs that rev at high RPM. Efficiency is rated 21 mpg city, 26 highway, 23 combined, and we averaged 25 easily in our mixed driving.

The ride is what really sets the Tucson apart. It’s one of the most comfortable we’ve experience in a compact crossover, being very balanced in sportiness, while retaining a comfortable ride that soaks up bumps and ruts.

Inside, Hyundai is stepping up the luxury game big time. This Tucson feels straight out of the Genesis brand, with stitching and materials that are unexpected. The massive panoramic sunroof also helps brighten the cabin.

The seats have multiple power adjustments, heating and ventilation within, and even heating for the rear outboard seats. Every seat is comfortable and supportive, with good lumbar support.

Tech is a high note with wireless charging, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, second-row USB charging, and Surround View Monitor. CarPlay works beautifully using the large 8-inch touchscreen.

The level of assisted driving tech is impressive with Smart Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, turning traffic-filled commutes into a much more relaxed reality. Lane Keeping Assist works incredibly well too, responding more proactively.

High Beam Assist switches the LED lights from low to high, and back automatically. An electric parking brake is also new and includes a Hold function so the driver can take their foot of the brake at traffic lights.

Rainy weather is also easier thanks to rain-sensing wipes that adjust their speed based on rain intensity hitting the windshield.

Hyundai is big on tech so their innovative Blue Link Connected Car System with three years of complimentary Blue Link services continues to impress.

Services include enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and voice guidance services, remote start with climate control, unlocking and locking, car finder, enhanced roadside and stolen vehicle recover.

Best of all, Blue Link features can be accessed from virtually anywhere: via buttons on the rearview mirror, the web portal, the MyHyundai with Blue Link smartphone app, the Amazon Alexa Blue Link skill and the Blue Link Google Assistant app. Some features can also be controlled via Android Wear and Apple Watch.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling9
Powertrain and Fuel Economy8
Interior Fit and Finish9
Gauges and Controls10
Total Score91

Make: Hyundai
Model: Tucson
Trim Level: Ultimate
Engine: 2.4L 4-Cylinder
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Options: None

Base Price: $32,950
As-Tested Price: $33,995

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