Hyundai Tucson Performance
The Hyundai Tucson offers enough power for highway passing maneuvers and leisurely city drives, but its engine options aren’t the most powerful in the class. Unlike other compact SUVs, which ride smoothly, the Tucson has a firmer ride, which one reviewer believes actually enhances the Tucson’s driving experience. The Tucson’s biggest performance strength is its competitive fuel economy ratings.
- “Despite its 4-cylinder engine, which isn't as refined as others in the class, it boasts plenty of power and decent fuel economy." -- Consumer Guide
- "Unlike the utilitarian driving experience common to many compact crossovers, time spent behind the wheel of the Tucson can actually be enjoyable." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "Despite (or perhaps because of) its stiff ride, the Hyundai Tucson still manages to be decent to drive." -- Cars.com (2012)
Acceleration and Power
The 2013 Tucson has two four-cylinder engines. The base front-wheel drive GL has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 165 horsepower and is paired with either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. The 2.4-liter engine standard in the GLS and Limited trims is mated to the six-speed automatic and makes 176 horsepower. All-wheel drive is optional only on GLS and Limited trims. Few reviewers tested the smaller base engine, but those who did say it is underpowered. The majority of test drivers prefer the 2.4-liter engine, noting that its 176 horsepower makes the Tucson class-competitive without sacrificing much fuel economy.
The Tucson’s EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings range depending on the powertrain, but are all pretty good for the class. Models with an automatic transmission have an Active Eco System that adjusts the transmission and throttle to increase fuel economy. The base 2.0-liter engine with an automatic transmission gets 22/29 mpg city/highway, while the top-of-the-line 2.4-liter engine with all-wheel drive gets 20/27 mpg city/highway. With not much difference in fuel economy between the base engine and 2.4-liter engine, reviewers suggest going with the larger of the two. Still, a couple of critics think that the 2.4-liter engine is unrefined and noisy under acceleration.
- "Tucson's 2.4-liter 4-cylinder pulls with authority from a stop. Mid-range grunt is just adequate and climbing hills can feel labored. The automatic transmission shifts crisply and promptly." -- Consumer Guide
- "The 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the GL base model is underpowered, and there's really no advantage to this engine (besides its lower price) considering the 2.4-liter returns stronger acceleration and roughly the same fuel economy. The bigger engine does sound a touch unrefined compared to rival four-cylinders, however." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "The Theta II 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine's 176 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque moves the small CUV with surprising haste. …” -- Motor Trend (2012)
- "Acceleration from the 170-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is on par with the RAV4s, Escapes and Chevy Equinoxes in its class. The responsive 6-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly." -- Kelley Blue Book (2012)
Handling and Braking
Despite being in a class filled with smooth-riding crossovers, reviewers say that the 2013 Hyundai Tucson registers bumps easily because of its firm suspension. In addition, body roll is noticeable even on moderate turns, according to critics. Still, critics like the Tucson’s maneuverability, especially in tight spaces, like parking lots.
- "Tucson is highly maneuverable, but the body leans easily, even during moderate cornering. The steering is responsive, if a bit heavy at low speeds." -- Consumer Guide
- "The Hyundai's ride is a bit stiff and nervous so you feel even the small bumps, and, unfortunately, the little SUV's handling doesn't pay this off." -- Kelley Blue Book (2012)
- "Handling slightly edged out the CR-V as well. Ride quality for the compact CUV is on the stiffer side, but not jarring." -- Motor Trend (2012)
- "The biggest problem Hyundai has is that many competitors - most notably the 2013 Mazda CX-5 and the 2013 Ford Escape - achieve better ride quality." -- Cars.com (2012)
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