2019 Hyundai Tucson: There's No Replacement for Displacement, It Seems

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2019 hyundai tucson theres no replacement for displacement it seems

The [s]radically[/s] mildly refreshed 2019 Hyundai Tucson, unveiled Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show, might not attract stares and selfies in the same way as the show’s more exotic sheetmetal, but it’ll sure draw buyers to the showroom.

Hyundai needs to collect those buyers. Amid a sales slump it hopes to remedy with an onslaught of crossovers, the compact Tucson crossover is one of the automaker’s largest meal tickets. Sales rose 31 percent, year over year, in the U.S. last month. And, while the Elantra and Santa Fe boast larger sales volumes, the Tucson has the best growth rate — sales are up 32.1 percent over the first two months of 2018.

To reward the buying public for their continued support, Hyundai has made changes to the 2019 model. Who wants a larger engine?

The report we brought you earlier this month panned out, but with a catch. Yes, the 2019 Tucson will indeed offer a 2.4-liter four-cylinder as an upgrade over its base 2.0-liter powerplant, but it comes at the expense of the turbocharged 1.6-liter four. That engine drops from the Tucson catalogue for 2019.

Opting for the 2.4 brings 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque to the equation, a move up from the 2.0-liter’s 164 hp and 151 lb-ft. Both engines meter out the power through a six-speed automatic.

For 2019, a Sport trim joins the Tucson stable, positioned between SEL and Limited. These three trim levels see the 2.4-liter, whereas the base and SE models stick with the smaller mill. As we told you before, going Sport adds appearance and content upgrades, as well as 19-inch wheels — up an inch from the SEL’s donuts and two inches from lesser trims. The Limited gains extra chrome trim because people like that sort of thing.

Looks-wise, changes are subtle to say the least. A very slightly revised grille, front fascia, and headlamp design will forgive you if you fail to notice any difference, and the interior greets you with an altered center stack and gauge cluster. For the coming model year, forward collision-avoidance assist (automatic emergency braking) and lane keeping assist joins the roster of standard features. Rear seat passengers in SEL models will discover a new USB port, while backseat denizens of the Limited model gain a wireless charging pad.

Hyundai hasn’t released a price list just yet.

So, there you have it. More trim choice, more available horsepower, less available torque, and design changes that won’t offend the faithful. We’d be shocked if the Tucson didn’t have another record year.

[Images: Hyundai]

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2 of 29 comments
  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Mar 29, 2018

    I've never really paid much attention to this segment, yet there are so many on the road. I just did a quick search to see what we have in Australia and was amazed that there are 32 competing vehicles in this segment of mid-sized SUVs (Aussie). These are the mid-size sedan/car killers. https://www.carsguide.com.au/suv/midsize-suvs

  • Bd2 Bd2 on Apr 02, 2018

    Actually don't care for the (minor) exterior changes, but the interior/dash gets a much needed major rework.

  • JLGOLDEN In order for this total newcomer to grab and hold attention in the US market, the products MUST be an exceptional value. Not many people will pay name-brand money for the pretty mystery. I can appreciate the ambition of selling $50K+ crossovers, but I think they will go farther with their $30K-$40K offerings.
  • Dukeisduke They're where Tesla was when it started - a complete unknown. I haven't heard anything about a dealer network. How are they going to sell these? Direct like Tesla? Franchises picked up by existing new car dealers?
  • Master Baiter As I approach retirement, and watch my IRA and 401K account balances dwindle, I have less and less interest in $150K vehicles.
  • Azfelix With a name that sounds like a bad Google translation, problems appear to permeate every aspect of the company. I suggest a more aggressive advertising campaign during The Super Terrific Happy Hour show to turn things around.
  • Buickman GoneFast.