By on March 16, 2018

2017 Hyundai Tucson - Image: Hyundai

Hyundai’s compact Tucson crossover is a perennial bright light in the brand’s troubled lineup, and it seems the Korean automaker wants to reward customers with a third engine choice.

Blessed with a pile of Theta II 2.4-liter engines looking for homes, Hyundai has apparently stuffed one in a mid-range Tucson and slapped on a “Sport” moniker, thus creating a slightly hotter model for buyers not impressed with the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder — but not willing to shell out for the 1.6-liter turbo.

Hmm… are Hyundai buyers swayed by value?

The news comes by way of CarsDirect, which discovered (via order guides) that the Tucson Sport started production last month. Positioned between the SEL and SEL Plus trim levels, the Tucson Sport gains niceties found on its slightly higher-end trim neighbor, plus a dash of visual aggression. Slightly revamped front and rear fascias come standard, as do 19-inch wheels.

One has to wonder if this is the “N Sport” trim Hyundai performance boss Albert Biermann spoke of earlier this year. Probably not, as that trim aims to draw on the athleticism of the brand’s new N models — the first of which hasn’t yet arrived in North America. “N” means nothing to most Hyundai buyers, but “Sport” certainly does.

Other goodies bound for the sporter Tucson include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a proximity key and push-button start, plus driver assist features like blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. Dual chrome exhaust adds extra brightwork to the rear.

Starting price, including destination, is $26,130. Buyers wanting four-wheel traction can add it to the package for another $1,400, taking the the price tag up to $27,530. The model’s price positions it almost halfway between the two SEL trims. Moving up the ladder to the less-powerful SEL Plus requires another $1,550.

While the order guide didn’t specify the Tucson’s brawn, other 2.4-liter vehicles in Hyundai’s lineup make 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. That’s a noticeable bump from the standard 2.0-liter’s 164 hp and 151 lb-ft, though the top-flight Tucson’s 1.6T offers up 175 hp and a punchier 195 lb-ft. You’ll pay more to get into the 1.6T, however. Anyone looking for that engine must first leapfrog the SEL Plus trim to get to the recently created “Value” model, which shares its turbocharged powerplant with the top-shelf Limited.

It seems like Hyundai’s planning a mid-year introduction of the Tucson Sport to keep the money tree crossover in the public eye. The Tucson remains Hyundai’s best-selling utility model, selling 114,735 units in the U.S. last year and another 30,467 in Canada. February sales in the U.S. rose 31 percent, year over year.

[Image: Hyundai]

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5 Comments on “Hyundai Tucson Sport to Offer More Horsepower at a Lower Price...”

  • avatar

    Sounds very interesting, especially with the added safety features. I’m not sure that it is such a great deal, as the Honda CR-V EX with AWD runs about $29K , before negotiating. Figuring residuals in 3 to 5 years, there needs to be some Tucson discount to sway me to go with Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar

      In terms of size, the CR-V seems to compete against the Santa Fe Sport, not the Tucson. I’m probably wrong about that. When I recently parked my ’13 Santa Fe Sport next to a new CR-V,it looked to be the same approximate size.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The 2.4 engine powered Tucsons up until this generation, so it hardly seems special.

    • 0 avatar

      Not only that, the Tucson’s cousin, the Kia Sportage, has the 2.4L standard in the lower trim levels, whereas the top-level trim has the 2.0L turbo instead of the Tucson’s 1.6L turbo.

      All Sportages have the six-speed automatic, none of the nonsense with Hyundai’s inferior dual-clutch transmission.

      • 0 avatar

        Still, the “Sport” trim should attract buyers who wanted more power than what the 2.0L engine offers and didn’t care for a turbo powerplant and/or the dry DCT.

        The Tucson is faring relatively well since it’s the only Hyundai crossover that isn’t at the end of its life-cycle (that should change w/ the Kona, the new Santa Fe and the larger 3-row CUV).

        The Tucson (for its refresh) could also use more padding at points in its interior.

        The Sportage’s sheetmetal is more polarizing, but it has proven to be the more popular of the 2 in Europe due to its more premium interior.

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