Hyundai’s amiable Tucson compact crossover utility vehicle stays fresh for 2019 with interior and exterior design alterations, additional safety features, infotainment system upgrades, and a change in engine choices.
Tucson has two rows of seats technically providing seating for five, but if all passengers are adults, realistically the accommodation is for four. The second row is fine for three youngsters.
There are six Tucson trim levels: SE, Value, SEL, Sport, Limited, and Ultimate. All are available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and have a six-speed automatic transmission.
The previous Tucson’s 1.6-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine has been dropped, leaving two four-cylinder engines this year. Powering the SE and Value models is a 2.0-liter generating 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. All other models come with a 2.4-liter engine making 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque.
Fuel economy ratings for the smaller engine are 23/30 mpg with FWD and 22/25 mpg with AWD. The 2.4-liter engine drinks at the rate of 22/28 mpg with FWD and 21/26 mpg with AWD.
Base pricing with the destination charge included starts at $24,245 for the SE model.
My tester was the top-tier Tucson Ultimate AWD, whose base price with destination is $33,995. A multitude of standard features are thrown in for that price. The tester’s only optional item was $135 for carpeted floor mats.
Exterior styling changes for the 2019 Tucson include the adoption of Hyundai’s current signature cascading grille, new headlights and taillights, new front and rear fascias, and new wheel designs.
Interior styling changes are subtle, such as a revised center stack, panel vents, gauge cluster and rearview mirror.
The Tucson wouldn’t win a popularity contest among compact SUV buyers fixated on maniacal performance, but buyers who place a premium on cabin comfort and quietness would probably put Tucson on top.
There’s a Sport mode setting for a bit of a boost, and Tucson’s handling is fully respectable.
Even the driver assistance warning sounds in the Tucson cabin contribute to its civility. Rather than startle-response-triggering fire-alarm sounds that can make a crash seem less stressful by comparison, Tucson’s system gets the message across more gently but just as effectively. By the way, Hyundai’s SmartSense safety technologies are now standard on all Tucson trims. Forward collision avoidance assistance and lane keeping assistance are included in the package.
Infotainment upgrades of the 2019 Tucson include an easy to use 7-inch display audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability as standard equipment. A second-row USB charger and wireless smartphone charging are standard or available depending on trim level.
This year also brings Hyundai’s Yes Essentials stain resistance treatment to Tucson models with cloth upholstery. Not only does it prevent or minimize stains, but it also inhibits odors and reduces static electricity.
Another big Tucson bonus is Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
2019 HYUNDAI TUCSON ULTIMATE AWD
Base price, including destination charge: $33,995
Price as driven: $34,130
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.