A midcycle freshening for 2019 didn’t go far enough to make the Tucson a stronger contender among the more competitive compact SUVs. It has a more modern interior and remains a fundamentally well-rounded compact SUV, but overall it trails the top vehicles in the class.
The best news is that the previous uplevel 1.6-liter turbo engine and clunky, trouble-prone dual-clutch transmission were replaced with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic transmission. The SUV now takes off from a stop without hesitation, and the shifts are smooth. Still, the Tucson’s 22 mpg overall is lackluster, with many competitors getting 25 mpg or better. The base 2.0-liter engine is buzzy and saddled with poky acceleration and an underwhelming 24 mpg overall that’s matched by other, quicker competitors.
The Tucson is a responsive handler with controlled body lean through turns, giving drivers confidence that it will hold the road well. The ride is mostly comfortable and settled, but it can feel a bit stiff at times. Several competitors absorb bumps better. Road and wind noise are noticeable, as is the case with most small SUVs, but the Tucson’s larger 2.4-liter engine isn’t as boisterous as what’s under the hood in many rivals.