2012 Hyundai Tucson Expert Review

3.4 Overall Score
Performance 2.9 Comfort 3.2 Styling 4.0 Value 3.9

Editor's Overview

The 2012 Tucson differentiates itself in the hotly contested small SUV category with its sleek styling, a host of standard features and Hyundai's famous warranty. The value-packed Tucson gets its motivation from a standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder or a more powerful –and equally fuel efficient – 176-horsepower inline-4.

You'll Like The 2012 Hyundai Tucson If...

The sculpted exterior of the 2012 Hyundai Tucson's design looks fresh and stands out among its boxy competitors. All Tucsons come well-equipped, so there is no confusing options list. Hyundai's legendary 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage beats the competition and gives you additional peace of mind.

You May Not Like The 2012 Hyundai Tucson If...

The 2012 Tucson's sloping roofline and small rear windows compromise visibility and reduce rear cargo capacity. If you need a third row seat to carry seven passengers, consider the Toyota RAV4. If you want a V6 engine, look at the Ford Escape or RAV4. Navigation and a rearview camera are available only on the high-end Limited trim.

What's New

For 2012, the Tucson receives a larger gas tank to extend your driving range.

Interior Features

Five passengers will find convenient access to the Tucson with its wide doors and low floor height. The dashboard and interior panels, although mainly hard plastic, are nicely textured. The controls are within easy reach, feel substantial - the beveled window switches are especially nice – and operate smoothly. Drivers will appreciate nicely shaped (and almost supportive) 6-way adjustable seat (8-way power in the Limited). Second-row passengers may feel a bit claustrophobic due to the low seat cushion height, sloping roof, and high beltline. The 60/40-split seatbacks do not recline and may be too erect for some passengers. Foot room, however, is abundant due to the nearly flat floor in the rear.

Exterior Features

What distinguishes the 2012 Hyundai Tucson from the competition is its European sculpted styling. Although the Tucson is a utility vehicle, its shape is not boxy, but rather fresh and athletic. Up front, the Hyundai SUV sports a sculpted hood, aggressive 2-tier grille, and wrap-around headlights. From the side, the vehicle's aerodynamic shape includes a steeply raked windshield and sloping roofline with rear spoiler. On GLS and Limited models, the silver roof rails do double duty: They help accentuate the flowing lines of the vehicle and also carry cargo. Like most vehicles in this category, a large 1-piece rear liftgate allows easy access to the cargo area.

Driving Impressions

You'll feel confident driving the 2012 Hyundai Tucson with its secure and responsive handling. The Tucson's maneuverability in parking lots and tight spaces is a big plus. Acceleration from the 170-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is on par with the RAV4s, Escapes and Chevy Equinoxes in its class. The responsive 6-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The engine revs rather loudly when accelerating to freeway speeds or when passing other vehicles making it difficult to hear passenger conversations. The Hyundai's ride is a bit stiff and nervous so you feel even the small bumps, and, unfortunately, the little SUV's handling doesn't pay this off. Use extra caution when changing lanes as rear visibility is hampered by the Tucson's sloping roofline and small rear windows.

Pricing Notes

The 2012 Hyundai Tucson starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,145 for the entry-level GL and tops out at around $29,245 for the high-level Limited with all-wheel drive and the Premium Package. Similarly equipped competitors such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 not only cost more than the Tucson, but they do not have Hyundai's longer warranties. The Tucson excels in the 2012 Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards beating out historical favorites like the CR-V and RAV4. A look at the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com shows what others are paying for the Hyundai Tucson in your area, so be sure to check it out before you buy.

Notable Equipment

All 2012 Hyundai Tucsons come well-equipped. The base Tucson GL has standard air conditioning, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, three 12-volt outlets for all your electronics, trip computer, iPod/USB and MP3 auxiliary input jacks. Moving up to the GLS adds a larger 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with slightly more power, a 6-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, and silver roof rails. The GLS also adds heated mirrors, cruise control, heated front seats (AWD), and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with integrated audio, cruise control, and Bluetooth hands-free phone controls. The top-of-the-line Limited brings 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seating, power 8-way driver seat with power lumbar support, heated front seats, automatic dual temperature controls, automatic headlights, and front fog lights. All Tucsons have a safety/security roster that includes six airbags, stability and traction control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, downhill brake control, and hill-start assist.

Notable Options

Few options are available as all Hyundai Tucsons come generously equipped. An automatic transmission is $1,000 on the base GL trim. All-wheel drive is an option on the GLS ($1,650) and Limited ($1,500) models, providing extra security on wet roads. The Tucson SUV, however, is not meant for serious off-roading. The $2,850 Premium Package on the high-line Limited includes a panoramic sunroof, navigation system, rearview camera, and premium audio system for the driver who wants it all.

Favorite Features

Value For The Money

Hyundai continues its "value-pricing" philosophy with the 2012 Hyundai Tucson, offering well-equipped vehicles for less money than the competition, as well as an ability to maintain its value over time.

Exterior Design

The 2012 Tucson's sculpted exterior shape still looks fresh after three years on the market and stands out among the crowd.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Hyundai Tucson offers two 4-cylinder engine choices: a 165-hp 2.0-liter in the base GL and a 176-hp (for ULEV states), 170-hp (for PZEV states) 2.4-liter on the mid-level GLS and top-level Limited models. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on the GL, while a 6-speed automatic is standard on the GLS and Limited. Drivers can opt for all-wheel drive on the Tucson GLS or Limited.

Hyundai Tucson GL

2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder

165 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm

146 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,600 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (manual transmission), 22/29 mpg (automatic)

Hyundai Tucson GLS, Limited

2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder


176 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

168 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm


170 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

163 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (FWD), 20/27 mpg (AWD)

Editors' Notes

The 2012 Hyundai Tucson competes in the crowded compact SUV segment that includes such well-established nameplates as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4. Available in both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD), the Hyundai Tucson distinguishes itself with eye-catching style and value. For 2012, the Tucson secured the #2 spot on Kelley Blue Book's Best Resale Value Awards list in the "Best Compact SUV" category, besting the stalwart CR-V and RAV4. The battleground heats up in 2012 as the Tucson faces fully-redesigned segment sales leaders Ford Escape and Honda CR-V, and the introduction of the all-new Mazda CX-5.

Road Test Video Reviews

2012 Hyundai Tucson Owner Reviews

117 Reviews
49% 40% 9% 1% 1%
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Control to move in traffic and feeling of safety.

2012 Hyundai Tucson

I love driving my Hyundai Tucson. As a crossover, the size is perfect, not as small as a sedan and not as large as an SUV. The trunk height is perfect, since I can just position my items straight into the trunk. The seat backs move forward so I have been able to fit a large amount of things into the car, including long poles, Christmas tree, skis, and some oddly shaped items. I feel very safe in the Tucson. It is very sturdy, never wavers, and drives consistently. I do not have engine problems, but I maintain my car well at my Hyundai service station. The gas and brake pedals are consistent and work smoothly. The seats can be positioned perfectly for my back. I am able to keep the car clean on the inside. It has just the right amount of pockets and the glove compartment fits what I need. I use the center front container between the seats all the time. I put in one of those purse organizers and everything is accessible right away. The dashboard is very clear and has never made me confused. I use the Bluetooth connection and the buttons on the steering wheel all the time - mute, volume control, Audio instructions. I do not have to turn off my headlights when I get out of the car, since it automatically turns off when I click to lock the car. This way I never forget to turn on the headlights in bad weather or at night. I can easily control the speed of the windshield wipers, speeding it up a little or slowing it down a little, as the weather changes. In the wind, the car feels sturdy.

- Silke D

My Hyundai Tucson is both a good car and a bad car.

2012 Hyundai Tucson

The radio does not get reception most of the time. The seats get really static, the car at times felt like it didn't want to accelerate. I would sputter at times. The bumper bent due to how hot it was during summer. During winter it got really muddy and the mud started to discolor the bumper. I really like the light silver color of my car. The light color helps keep the inside from attracting the sun heat too much. The wheel also seems to lock a lot. I have to constantly fight with the wheel in order to unlock it the heater is really good and when I turn it on in the cold to warm it up, it does not take very long to warm up. While warm it up the fabric in the seats to warm up as well. I love how the back seats fold up to make room in the back when I need lots of space. I also really like how the gas switch is on the inside by my foot so I do not have to worry about someone stealing my gas. It's nice to have that little bit of security. I also love that it has a child lock and a window lock so I do not have to worry about my kid opening the door or window while I am driving. The rooftop window is my favorite part of the car. The rooftop window is tinted as well.

- Ruby R

The best car I've ever had!

2012 Hyundai Tucson GL

One thing that attracted me to buying this car in the first place was how spacious it is. I have used this car for numerous moves and it amazes me every time how much stuff can fit into my car. Also, I have had passengers in my car say that there is surprisingly more room in the vehicle than they would have thought. The car drives really nice on most roads. I have not had any obvious problems with this car. One minor issue I had one time that I got fixed was the volume control on the steering wheel was not working. I have not gotten into any accidents with this car. I have driven it on many long road trips across the country and I cannot complain about discomfort. I love the seats and how comfortable each seat of the car is. My car has the remote start feature. I live in the Midwest where winters can be tough so I LOVE this feature. It is so nice to start my car from my apartment and have the windows defrosted and the car warmed up by the time I need to leave. Overall, I would definitely (and have) recommended this car to anyone looking for a great, reliable, efficient car.

- Whitney M

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