Car Review: Hyundai Tucson gets new looks and plug-in hybrid version

Finding the correct crossover can be tough work, especially when there are so many options.

Hyundai has retooled the compact Tucson crossover to give buyers gas, hybrid and PHEV versions. I drove the gas N-Line AWD and the plug-in hybrid versions, and I can help you sort it all out.


No matter what redesigned Tucson you choose, expect it to standout. It shows its curves and interesting bodylines, and will quickly erase the image of past conservatively-styled small Hyundai crossovers from your mind. You might ask, “Where are the headlights?” The answer is the space-age looking grill that covers the front end has swallowed them.

The Tucson all-gas N-Line AWD has a sportier style and large 19-inch wheels to grab your attention. The plug-in hybrid version sports a few badges and the electrical hookup in addition to the gas door.


You would expect the sportier-looking Tucson all-gas N-Line to be the fun one to drive, but with 187hp, it is a placid cruiser with so-so performance and only adequate fuel mileage. It’s nicely balanced and made for a comfortable daily driver.

The Tucson PHEV wins the “fun-to-drive” category with a combined 261hp. This small crossover has no problem keeping up in traffic. It feels peppy in sport mode and really moves using both its gas and electric motor. The Tucson PHEV is also thrifty to run with 33 miles of all-electric driving before the gas engine kicks in.

Interior and Tech

Hop inside any version of the Tucson and you’ll notice a large cabin for a compact crossover. The amount of space for both passengers and cargo is a surprise and a good get. I drove about 800 miles between the two Tucson models and was impressed with the seat comfort for front and rear seat riders.

A new push-button transmission frees up space on the center console. The tech features a large 10.25-inch touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in most versions of the new-look Tucson.

Cost: Tucson N-Line: $33,575; as tested $34,910; Tucson Limited PHEV: $43,200; as tested $44,640

MPG: Tucson N-Line: 23 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, I managed 27.6 mpg in 489 miles. Tucson Limited PHEV: 80MPGe 35 mpg gas only, I managed 62.9 mpg in 297 miles mixed driving.

Safety: Forward collision-avoidance assist; safe exit assist; blind-spot collision avoidance assist; lane keeping assist; high beam assist; blind view monitor; smart cruise control with stop and go; surround view monitor; driver attention warning; ultrasonic rear occupant alert; parking distance warning reverse; remote smart park assist.

Things to know: The compact Tucson crossover now has a stylish look and more space than before. With all gas, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, there are more Tucson versions to please buyers.


  • New looks will get you noticed
  • Comes packed with safety equipment and technology
  • PHEV version packs plenty of power and gets 33 miles on electric power


  • Stylish looks lead to some limited visibility out of the rear
  • You feel the bigger bumps more with the large 19-inch wheels on the N-Line model
  • All-gas version lacks power when all the seats are filled

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