The Value Proposition: The 2019 Hyundai Tucson Limited FWD

Front 3/4 view of the 2019 Hyundai Tucson
The 2019 Hyundai Tucson.
The time has come, the automotive journalist said, to stop talking of one particular thing:  How Hyundai is right on the bumpers of the Japanese automakers (for those not following such things, Hyundai is South Korean).

I wrote my first review about how Hyundai was a looming presence in the rearview mirror of  the Japanese makers, especially Toyota and Honda, eight years ago, and have written several more since, with the objects in the mirror getting closer each time.  In my opinion, Hyundai (and Kia) passed Mitsubishi and Nissan a while back and are now neck and neck with the big two (Toyota and Honda). And now they are pressing their advantage---value for money.

Rear 3/4 view of 2019 Hyundai Tucson
2019 Hyundai Tucson.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the heavily refreshed 2019 Hyundai Tucson Limited.  One rung down from the top-of-the-line, the Limited is only one navigation system, a one-inch larger color touchscreen, one sunroof and two ventilated front seats from being every bit as well-equipped as the model called Ultimate, which costs $31,550.

A two-wheel drive model like our tester has a base price of $28,900 and is so complete apart from the items reserved for the Ultimate that the only option on our tester was a $135 set of carpeted floor mats.  All the following are standard:

  • Forward collision-avoidance assist.
  • Lane-keeping assist and driver attention warning.
  • Blind-spot collision warning.
  • Rear cross-traffic warning.
  • Electronic stability control.
  • Traction control.
  • Four-wheel anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist.
  • Hill start assist.
  • Surround view monitor.
  • Tire pressure monitoring system with individual tire indicator.
  • 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • Automatic on/off headlights.
  • LED daytime running lights, headlights and taillights.
  • LED accented-fog lights.
  • Rear spoiler with LED brake light.
  • Variable intermittent windshield wipers.
  • Rear window wiper/washer.
  • Heated side mirrors with turn indicators.
  • Proximity key entry.
  • Pushbutton start.
  • Wireless device charging.
  • Premium front and rear fascias and side sills.
  • Chrome-tipped dual exhaust.
  • Leather seating surfaces.
  • Eight-way power heated front seats.
  • 60/40 split rear seats with recline and center armrest.
  • Dual illuminated vanity mirrors and glove compartment light.
  • Dual automatic temperature control with CleanAir ionizer and rear vents.
  • Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror with HomeLink.
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob and heated steering wheel.
  • Bluetooth.
  • Seven-inch color touchscreen audio display with rearview camera.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
  • 315-watt, eight-speaker audio system with Clari-Fi, SiriusXM and HD Radio. 
Interior view of 2019 Hyundai Tucson Limited
2019 Hyundai Tucson Limited interior.
The 181-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission deliver more than adequate power and an EPA fuel economy estimate of 22 city/28 highway.  It's smooth---very smooth---and quiet.  It gets five-star safety ratings in all categories of government crash tests, except rollover risk, where it gets four, which is still very respectable for a crossover SUV, which is, by definition, a taller vehicle than a sedan.

The bottom line, with $1,045 inland freight and handling, came to $30,080.  Given that the last Honda CR-V we tested, two years ago, was just $405 shy of $35,000 and that I'm scheduled in a 2019 Toyota RAV4 later this month with an MSRP of $40,263, the Tucson Limited absolutely nails the value proposition and should be on your short list if you're shopping for compact crossovers.