2018 Hyundai Tucson: Competing With The Compact SUV Giants

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson is Hyundai’s entry in the compact crossover/SUV segment. It has been sold in the US since it was first introduced for the 2005 model year. The 2018 Tucson is the fourth model year of the third-generation. It has established Hyundai as a serious player in the compact SUV segment, fully able to compete with the well-established sales leaders.

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson’s competition comes from some very heavy hitters with some very large sales figures. Here is what the US sales race looks like for 2017 year-to-date, through August:

  • Toyota RAV4 – 269,835

  • Honda CR-V – 249,977

  • Ford Escape – 208,303

  • Chevrolet Equinox – 185,223

  • Subaru Forester – 118,768

  • Jeep Cherokee – 105,060

  • Mazda CX-5 – 80,110

  • Hyundai Tucson – 72,721

  • Kia Sportage – 49,755

  • Volkswagen Tiguan – 22,563

Unlike Toyota, Honda, and Ford, who can pump out tons of these vehicles from their plants in North America, the Tucson is made only in South Korea for the entire world, and so is production constrained. Hyundai USA could sell many more Tucsons if they could only get them, and the parent company has increased US shipments in recent months. As a result, US Tucson sales have nearly doubled since January of 2017. Unfortunately, Toyota still sold four times as many RAV4s in August, and Honda sold three times as many CR-Vs.

What’s New On The 2018 Hyundai Tucson

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson is available in five trim levels: SE, SEL, Value, Eco, and Limited.

For 2018, the previous SE Popular Equipment Package has been renamed SEL. New for 2018 on the SEL is the addition of a 7” display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The SE Plus trim, introduced in mid-2017, has been renamed SEL Plus.

The Value Trim was introduced late in 2017, replacing the Sport trim. It includes features from the Sport trim, such as proximity key entry with push button start, and hands-free smart liftgate with auto open. It also adds:

  • Panoramic sunroof

  • Dual automatic temperature control w/ clean air ionizer and auto defogger

  • Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror & Homelink

  • Rear parking sensors

In individual feature news, a heated steering wheel is now included with Tucson Limited AWD models, and the CD player has been dropped from all trims except the SE. Technology marches on – a CD player was once only available on the top trim levels, and now you can only get one in the base model!

Two Tucson Engines To Choose From

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson’s standard engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder with 164 horsepower, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A better choice is the uprated 1.6L four-cylinder turbo with 175 horsepower and thirty percent more torque than the 2.0L. The increased power is channeled through a seven-speed double-clutch automatic that makes the most of the turbo.

Front-wheel drive is standard on all trim levels, and all-wheel drive is optional across the board. There is a switch on AWD models that allows drivers to maximize low-speed traction in slippery conditions.

Safety Features To Protect You In The 2018 Tucson

The 2018 Tucson comes with six standard airbags to protect you from impacts. A rear view camera is also standard. Blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist are standard on most trim levels. Lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection are included on the Limited trim.

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson Should Be On Your Shopping List

The 2018 Tucson is a worthy competitor for your compact SUV dollar. Take a close look, take a drive, and see how it compares to the big players in the segment. And keep in mind that the 2018 Tucson also comes with Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000 mechanical warranty, plus five years of bumper-to-bumper coverage. That is a solid advantage that the Tucson has over most of its peers in the segment.

About The Author

Stephen Fogel

Stephen follows the global automotive industry on a daily basis, including new model announcements, new technologies, sales trends, and the latest in "green" cars.