2019 Hyundai Tucson Ultimate AWD Review

2019 Hyundai Tucson Ultimate AWD - The car-like 2019 Hyundai Tucson compact SUV is easy to live with.

By:

Price: $32,950

Pros-Car-like. Revised front/rear looks. Updated interior. Roomy. Handy size. More equipment. Maneuverable. Decent ride. FWD or AWD

Cons-Rough ride on bumpy roads. Power-short base engine. So-so fuel economy. Average highway acceleration. Only a six-speed automatic transmission.

Bottom Line-Easy to live with.

There's nothing flashy here, but those looking for an attractive, compact SUV might try the 2019 Hyundai Tucson.

The approximately $23,200-$32,950 Tucson comes in various trim levels and can be had with front- or all-wheel drive.

New features include more equipment and an updated, quiet interior. Lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automated emergency braking are new standard features. And there's a new 7- or 8-inch (depending on model) infotainment touchscreen featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Two prominent 12V outlets reside under the dash.

The step up into the cabin takes a little extra effort, but occupants sit higher than they would in a car. The updated interior has nice materials and good storage areas. The dashboard has a large number of clearly marked manual controls, including especially large radio volume and tuning controls on either side of the touchscreen. Automakers are becoming wary of getting low quality marks in surveys when consumers can't easily work controls via a touchscreen.

Four tall adults easily fit, but the middle of the rear seat is stiff and best left to the fold-down armrest with dual cupholders.

The moderately large cargo area has a low, wide opening, and split rear seat backs easily flip forward and sit flat to increase cargo room from 31 cubic feet to 61.9 cubic feet. My test Tucson had a hands-free power hatch. 

Engines are a base 2-liter four-cylinder with 164 horsepower or a 2.4-liter four with 181 horsepower. The base engine could use more power. The stronger 2.4 provides just average passing on highways, but most probably would be satisfied with it. A driver can select a Sport driving mode, which firms things up a bit but causes an increase in engine revs and thus a drop in fuel economy.

There's only a six-speed automatic transmission when rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda HR-V have either an eight-speed automatic or a CRV. However, the Tucson transmission shifts efficiently and has a manual-shift feature.

Tucson fuel economy is just so-so for this type vehicle. My test vehicle got an estimated 21 miles per gallon the city and 26 on highways.

I drove the upper-line Tucson Ultimate AWD model, which had a generally smooth ride, although the ride became uncomfortable on rough Chicago streets. The steering was precise, and the Tucson's handling felt secure in curves, thanks to its electronic and stability controls and 18-inch alloy wheels. The all-disc brakes with a brake-assist feature worked fine, controlled by an easily modulated pedal.

One of the 176-inch-long Tucson's main assets here is that it's nicely sized, which makes it easier to park and maneuver.

My test Tucson's standard features included a pushbutton start, supportive leather-covered heated and ventilated power front seats, dual automatic temperature control, heated outboard rear seats, premium 8-speaker audio system, 4.3-inch color LCD multi-information display and a panoramic sunroof.

Safety features included a rear cross-traffic collision warning and a variety of air bags and rollover sensors, besides heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators.

The new Tucson is one of the most attractive compact SUVs and has Hyundai's super-long powertrain warranty.



Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

For more reviews from Dan, visit Facebook.