2024 Hyundai Tucson Review: Sensible shoes with wild clothes


Pros: All-star hybrid powertrain; excellent tech; huge cargo area; strong safety credentials; high-quality cabin

Cons: Sad sack base engine; some weird interior controls; a bit blah to drive

The 2024 Hyundai Tucson has all the makings of a sensible, uber-practical compact SUV choice. It’s really big, with one of the most voluminous cargo areas around. It gets good fuel economy, including the surprisingly powerful and very-much-recommended Tucson Hybrid. The interior is well put together and features user-friendly technology. The safety credentials are top notch in terms of equipment and crash ratings. Add it all up and you have a very sound choice.

Thing is, words like “sensible” and “uber-practical” are usually attached to bland, anonymous SUVs that practically disappear in a parking lot. People almost expect them to be boring. “Oh yeah? Watch this!” That’s what we imagine Hyundai designers saying as they went about putting together the explosion of creases, odd bulges and kitchen-sink details that is the Tucson. The smiling grille lights up on its edges like a Vegas marquee; the wheel arches are angular rather than actual arches; there are diamond shapes in the rear bumper; the LED taillights drop down into the liftgate like quadruple Dracula fangs. It’s a lot. Maybe too much, so if you like all of the above sensible stuff but would rather a different look, consider the mechanically related Kia Sportage. We also recommend the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-50. Not that any of the above are that boring any more, but none make quite the statement of the 2024 Tucson.

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it’s like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What’s new for 2024?

The Tucson gets an infusion of safety equipment for 2024. Rear seat side airbags, rear outboard seatbelt pre-tensioners, seatbelt reminders for all seats, and haptic steering wheel feedback for the lane-keeping and blind-spot warning systems are not only now available, but standard. There are other feature enhancements as well. The 10.25-inch touchscreen is now added to more trim levels, including the SEL Convenience and all hybrids; dual-zone climate control is now standard on all but the base trim; and the ambient lighting color selection goes from 10 to 64.  The N-Line trim level is also now powered by the hybrid, which is a good thing.

What are the Tucson interior and in-car technology like?

The Tucson’s cabin is stylish, tech-focused and premium in terms of both appearance and quality. We especially like the dash-width vents and cloth trim. There are some key differences based on trim level, however. Besides upholstery and color choices, the center stack controls actually differ. The SE and SEL come with an 8-inch touchscreen, while an upgrade 10.25-inch widescreen unit is standard on everything else. Their basic user interface is similar, but the bigger screen increases functionality.  Frustratingly, only the 8-inch screen is compatible with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; the larger unit requires a wired connection. This is true of every Hyundai or Kia with the 10.25-inch screen.

With either, Hyundai ditched a traditional volume knob and other physical controls, which is a downgrade. The 8-inch screen is paired with scroll wheels for volume and tuning (below with Apple CarPlay on the screen), which is technically better than the tap-tap-tapping you have to do with the all-touch controls paired with the 10.25-inch unit (below with black screen), but they’re still strange. Touch-sensitive controls have also historically been difficult to find and successfully press while driving, and these are no different. All that piano black trim also means lots and lots of fingerprints.

How big is the Tucson?

For something dubbed a “compact SUV,” the answer is “very big.” It’s almost exactly the same size as a Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and its mechanically related Kia Sportage cousin, making it one of the largest in the segment. Besides offering plenty of room for adults, we could easily fit a rear-facing child seat while maintaining plenty of space up front for driver and passenger.

Behind the raised back seat, Hyundai claims 38.7 cubic feet of rear cargo room, which puts it just shy of the Sportage and the non-hybrid CR-V for segment-best. That was largely confirmed in our Tucson luggage test, where it managed to easily swallow all six of our standard bags plus an extra duffle and a 38-quart cooler with plenty of room leftover. Only the Sportage has managed to perform better, with a key reason being its hybrid trim still includes a spare tire. So does the RAV4 Hybrid. The Tucson Hybrid does not.

What are the Tucson fuel economy and performance specs?

The Tucson comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline-four that produces an adequate but uninspiring 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration tests from various publications have shown a 0-60 “sprint” takes more than 9 seconds, making it one of the slowest vehicles in the segment. EPA fuel economy estimates are 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined with standard front-wheel drive and 23/29/25 mpg with optional all-wheel drive.

The 2024 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is a substantially better choice than the base engine as it represents both a fuel economy and performance upgrade. Its combination of 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four, electric motor and six-speed automatic transmission produces a total output of 226 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That’s a huge jump and one you’ll notice behind the wheel. All-wheel drive is standard, and unlike the Toyota RAV4, it is an actual mechanical AWD system rather than a “through-the-road” system that uses an additional electric motor to power the rear wheels. Fuel economy estimates standard at 38 mpg in 37/36/37 for most trim levels, and 38 mpg in all cycles for the basic Blue trim.

The Tucson Plug-In Hybrid basically adds a substantially larger battery pack and a more powerful electric motor to the Tucson Hybrid powertrain. This results in an increase to 261 hp and the same 258 lb-ft of torque, but also allows for 33 miles of all-electric range and a rating of 80 MPG-e from the EPA (2023 figures as those for 2024 were not available at the time of this writing). That isn’t quite as thrifty as the Toyota RAV4 Prime and Ford Escape PHEV, but if your commute and daily errands fall within that 33 miles (a strong possibility), you’re still going to be rarely filling up.

What’s the Tucson like to drive?

We described the base engine as “adequate but uninspiring” above, which is probably a bit generous. Its sluggish throttle response and reliance on downshifting to maintain speed makes it frustrating to drive in traffic as the eight-speed automatic hunts for gears. More succinctly, it’s just slow, even for a segment where swift acceleration isn’t expected. We’re happy the sporty N-Line trim level is no longer stuck with it.

Instead, it comes only with the hybrid powertrain, which is what we recommend regardless of trim level. Not only does it have a better powertrain than the base engine, it’s one of the best options in the entire segment (the Kia Sportage has the same setup). Theconventional transmission and turbocharged engine provide a quieter and more normal driving experience than that of other hybrid SUVs, while the turbo-plus-electric-motor combo makes it feel notably gutsier around town and when merging onto the highway. The Tucson PHEV, meanwhile, effectively adds even more smooth, effortless electric power to the Hybrid driving experience along with all-electric range.

As for the driving experience beyond the engines, well … it’s not particularly memorable. Body motions are well-controlled, the steering is precise enough, and although the ride may be too firm for some, it doesn’t venture into the land of uncomfortable. Frankly, this is rather par for the course with Hyundais. Basically, you’re not going to buy the Tucson for the way it drives (OK, beyond the sweet turbocharged hybrid powertrain), but it also won’t put you off unless you really want something with verve. If so, one of the Toyota RAV4’s SE trim levels, including the Prime, as well as the Mazda CX-50 would be good calls. 

What other Hyundai Tucson reviews can I read?

2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV First Drive Review

Complete driving impressions and details about the plug-in hybrid Tucson.

 

2022 Hyundai Tucson First Drive Review

We spent some time with both the 2.5-liter and hybrid models. 

 

2022 Hyundai Tucson driveway and infotainment test

The lack of a volume knob is disappointing, but the loaded-up Tucson’s infotainment is still quite good. 

 

2022 Hyundai Tucson Luggage Test

We find out that the Tucson can haul more luggage than any other compact SUV we’ve tested. It may or may not come with a spare tire, though.

What is the 2024 Tucson price?

Pricing starts at $28,585, including the $1,335 destination charge, for the base SE with the 2.5-liter engine. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option. The cheapest hybrid is the Blue at $33,660, while the cheapest plug-in hybrid is the SEL at $39,810. Both hybrids are only all-wheel-drive.

As for trim levels, the base SE is only available with the gas engine. The Hybrid’s Blue trim is comparable to the SEL, while the Plug-In Hybrid is offered only as the SEL and Limited. For the most part, these trim levels represent the usual ladder format of more comfort and convenience equipment being added with each rung.

The N Line and XRT are different, however. The hybrid-only N Line has a sporty look (pictured below in gray), with intricate 19-inch wheels, blacked out grille and badge, different lower fascia, body-colored fender flares, a special shift knob and leather sport seats with cloth inserts. The Tucson XRT (pictured below in silver) is a quasi-rugged offering and only available with the base engine. It gets burlier matte-finish fender flares, slightly different front and rear fascias, its own 19-inch wheels, crossbars mounted to the Tucson’s standard flush side rails, and a trailer hitch (probably for something like a bike rack or Yakima’s Exo system rather than actually towing). Curiously, it also includes running boards. Considering the XRT has no ground clearance increase, those actually hurt its capability off-road.  

All prices below include the $1,335 destination charge. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 for the non-hybrid trims.

SE: $28,585
SEL: $30,735
XRT: $35,410 
Limited: $37,845

Hybrid Blue: $33,660
Hybrid SEL Convenience: $36,240
Hybrid N Line: $37,740
Hybrid Limited: $40,800

PHEV SEL: $39,810
PHEV Limited: $46,535

2024 Hyundai Tucson N Line

What are the Tucson safety ratings and driver assistance features?

Every 2024 Tucson includes forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking (with pedestrian and cyclist detection), blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, lane-keeping assist, a driver inattention warning system, safe-exit warning to prevent opening doors into cars or cyclists, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability. Rear seat side airbags are also standard, which is rare. The Limited adds reverse automatic braking, front and rear parking sensors, the blind-spot camera system that displays in the instrument panel, a surround-view parking camera system and Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist, which adds lane-centering steering assist to the adaptive cruise control system. The ACC also gets an upgrade in the XRT, N Line and Limited that uses the navigation system to increase the steering assistance capability on winding roads.

The Tucson received five out of five stars for crash protection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the highest accolade of Top Safety Pick+ for its best-possible performance in crashworthiness and crash prevention (aka the performance of all those active safety doo-dads up there). Its standard headlights were rated “Acceptable,” while the Limited’s got a “Good.”



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