The 2021 Hyundai Tucson starts at $23,700 in the United States and $26,099 in Canada, before freight and delivery charges.
Comfortable and quiet ride, generous front-seat legroom, plenty of features at a low price.
Above-average fuel consumption, limited rear visibility, infotainment system screen a far reach.
After the reveal of the all-new 2022 Tucson, with its striking exterior design, the current-generation, 2021 Hyundai Tucson suddenly seems stale, but it’s still a very interesting and competitive compact crossover.
Introduced for in its current form for the 2016 model year, the third-gen Tucson represents a significant step up from the preceding one. It rides on a 105.1-inch (2,670-millimetre) wheelbase, which is among the shortest in its segment, while overall length also ranks among the stubbiest. However, front-seat legroom surpasses that of all other compact models, while headroom and cargo room are more or less average compared to its rivals.
The 2021 Hyundai Tucson’s base engine is a 2.0L inline-four that develops 161 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, mixed with a six-speed automatic transmission and the choice of front-wheel and all-wheel drivetrains. With the latter, the Tucson delivers city/highway/combined ratings of 22/25/23 mpg in the U.S., 10.8/9.2/10.1 L/100 km in Canada. Almost every other compact crossover can do better.
The upgrade engine is a 2.4L four, which replaced the turbocharged 1.6L mill for the 2019 model year. It produces 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque and is matched to the same transmission and drivetrain combinations. It boasts the same combined average of 23 mpg or 10.1 L/100 km as the 2.0L engine, so the extra 20 horses come at no expense at the pump.
Towing capacity is rated at 2,000 pounds (907 kg) with trailer brakes, and 1,650 pounds (748 kg) without.
In the United States, the 2021 Hyundai Tucson is available in SE, Value, SEL, Sport, Limited and Ultimate trim levels, while the Canadian market gets Essential, Preferred, Luxury, Urban Edition and Ultimate variants. The only changes for the new model year regard exterior paint color choices: Coliseum Gray is added, Ash Black replaces Black Noir Pearl, Red Crimson replaces Gemstone Red and Sage Brown.
Standard features include 17-inch wheels (alloy in the U.S., steel with covers in Canada), automatic headlights, a windshield wiper de-icer (with AWD in the U.S.), cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and an infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. There are other equipment distinctions between the two markets, as the 2021 Hyundai Tucson gets standard fog lamps and heated front seats, as well as heated rear seats in all but the base trim in Canada. Meanwhile, a power-adjustable driver’s seat is included in every trim except base in the U.S., a feature reserved for the trop trims north of the border.
Available items include a power panoramic sunroof, leather seating, ventilated front seats, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation as well as a 315-watt Infinity premium sound system. The 2021 Hyundai Tucson also gets standard advanced safety features such as forward collision warning with emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, while adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and automatic high beams are available as well.
Pricing ranges from $23,700 to $33,450 before freight and delivery charges in the United States, and from $26,099 to $38,299 in Canada.
What the 2021 Hyundai Tucson Does Well
- It’s spacious enough for a small family and taller folks sitting up front will appreciate the generous legroom.
- The Tucson offers a comfortable ride and a quiet cockpit, despite a little suspension noise on city streets.
- Hyundai’s touchscreen infotainment system is very easy to use, even while driving, and it comes with a bunch of functionalities, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, along with available remote access using a cell phone app.
- The Korean manufacturer has done its homework to offer the most popular features for individual countries at a low price. Those looking for a compact crossover on a more modest budget should check out the Tucson.
What the 2021 Hyundai Tucson Doesn’t Do Well
- As we mentioned above, fuel economy isn’t the Tucson’s forte, no matter which engine we choose.
- While the infotainment touchscreen responds well to finger poking and the button zones are generously sized, the panel itself is perched at an arm’s length, meaning we must stretch a little to reach the screen itself and the main menu buttons surrounding it.
- The 2021 Hyundai Tucson isn’t the roomiest compact model out there, especially for rear-seat occupants.
- The Tucson’s exterior shape and fat rear pillars limit outward visibility. Not a big problem, but a problem nonetheless.
What We Tell Our Friends
The 2021 Hyundai Tucson is an interesting crossover for its affordable price, its standard feature list and its easy-to-live-with drive and character. For its last model year before a thorough redesign, it should also be offered with alluring interest rates or cash rebates to further sweeten the deal.
However, and despite not being all that old, the Tucson has aged quite a bit in this ever-challenging segment, as many of its rivals have been redesigned since then and are more fuel-efficient. For those who don’t have kids, the Hyundai Kona is arguably more attractive, or at least more modern, costs less and is also available with AWD. There’s nothing exciting about the Tuscon, but it’s not a bore or a chore to drive either.