2013 Hyundai Tucson SUV - FROM $19,245
The 2013 Hyundai Tucson might not be as roomy as its main rivals, but it makes amends with a handsome design, an ample list of features, sporty handling and a low price. It's a solid pick for a small crossover.
What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Hyundai Tucson gets a couple of added standard features, including foglights and automatic headlights for the GLS, heated front seats for the front-wheel-drive GLS (already standard on the AWD GLS) and keyless ignition/entry for the Limited.
Over the past decade, Hyundai has forged a reputation for building solid cars stocked with a generous helping of standard features. More recent years have seen daring styling and a fun-to-drive demeanor added to the mix. Combine all of those qualities and you've got the 2013 Hyundai Tucson, a tempting choice for a small crossover SUV.
Unlike most vehicles in this segment, the Tucson puts more emphasis on the "sport" part of the SUV acronym than it does the "utility." A sport-tuned suspension and relatively quick, well-weighted steering give the Tucson an entertaining personality when you're behind the wheel. The Tucson also looks pretty stylish, with flowing lines that recall the same themes found in the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata sedans.
As far as utility goes, however, the Tucson falls short, since its interior is not as spacious as those of rivals such as the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4. The Tucson's cargo capacity is considerably less, while its rear seat -- which neither slides nor reclines -- lacks the comfort of the others. Furthermore, some may find the Tucson's ride quality to be too firm, especially when fitted with the available 18-inch wheels.
As such, the aforementioned larger crossovers would be better choices for families. However, those with less vital size requirements who'd like a small crossover with a sporty personality should find the 2013 Hyundai Tucson (as well as its similar cousin, the Kia Sportage) a keen choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Hyundai Tucson is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV that is offered in three trim levels: GL, GLS and Limited.
The GL base model comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, privacy glass, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a trip computer and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface.
The GLS adds 17-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded suspension, roof rails, heated side mirrors, automatic headlights, foglights, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth/premium vinyl upholstery, heated front seats and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
The Limited trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a front wiper de-icer, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustments, leather upholstery, a cargo cover and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. An optional Premium package available only on the Limited adds a panoramic sunroof, a touchscreen navigation system, a rearview camera and a seven-speaker upgraded sound system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Hyundai Tucson offers two different engine choices. Entry-level front-wheel-drive GL models come with a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine that produces 165 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, but a six-speed automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined with the automatic, and 20/27/23 with the manual.
Stepping up to the GLS and Limited models gets you a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 176 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. In California-emissions states, this engine receives partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV) status and produces 170 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered, but buyers have a choice of front- and all-wheel drive. Fuel economy ratings for the 2.4 with AWD stand at 21/28/23. In Edmunds performance testing, an all-wheel-drive Tuscon GLS went from zero to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds, which is on par with other entries in the class.
Standard safety features on the 2013 Hyundai Tucson include antilock disc brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, hill holder and hill descent control.
In Edmunds brake tests, the Tucson came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is an average distance for crossover SUVs.
In government crash testing, the Tucson received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal impact protection and five stars for overall side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this Hyundai its top rating of "Good" in the frontal offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Hyundai Tucson has an attractive and functional cabin. The five-passenger interior is more stylish than several of its competitors, and gauges and controls are well-placed and easy to operate.
Up front, the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel on GLS and Limited models makes it possible for a wide range of different size drivers to get comfortable. The rear seat is a little smaller than those of its rivals and it also lacks the ability to both slide and recline.
The Tucson also gives up ground to its rivals in terms of cargo space. There are just 25.7 cubic feet behind the 60/40-split rear seats and 55.8 cubic feet with those seatbacks folded down. That latter number falls short of the CR-V and Subaru Forester by around 15 cubic feet, or about the entire trunk volume of some popular midsize sedans.
Unlike the utilitarian driving experience common to many compact crossovers, time spent behind the wheel of the 2013 Hyundai Tucson can actually be enjoyable. Credit for the Tucson's responsive handling goes to its Euro-tuned suspension and nicely weighted steering. The downside is a ride quality that's a bit on the firm side.
The GL's 2.0-liter four-cylinder is somewhat lacking in muscle, 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.