KBB Logo Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

Editor's Overview

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson is a stylish compact-crossover SUV loaded with value. From its impressive standard and optional equipment to its turbocharged engine, the Tucson is all about delivering buyers a range of options to fit any budget. All-wheel drive is optional across the model range, but the turbocharged engine is offered only on the top two trims.

You'll Like The 2018 Hyundai Tucson If...

If you’re seeking a compact-crossover SUV and don’t require rugged off-road credentials, the 2018 Hyundai Tucson offers style, features and safety, all at a great price. The Tucson’s optional turbocharged engine delivers good performance with decent fuel economy.

You May Not Like The 2018 Hyundai Tucson If...

If you’re looking for maximum cargo and rear-seat space, a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Outback makes a better choice. You’ll find more power in the Kia Sportage SX and better handling from the Mazda CX-5.

What's New

2018 sees a reordering of the Tucson’s trim lines to five models: SE, SEL, SEL Plus, Value and Limited. SEL and higher trims gain heated front seats, SiriusXM, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The SEL Plus gets an 8-inch touch screen and Infinity audio, while the Limited gains a heated steering wheel.

Interior Features

The base Hyundai Tucson SE offers a 6-way-manual seat, but skip that and move up to the SEL or SEL Plus, both of which come with an 8-way-power seat and lumbar support. The sensible dash offers big vents, simple instrumentation, and buttons and knobs for climate and audio controls. At night, the controls are backlit in soft blue lighting. Simplicity extends to the digital display between the gauges, which doesn’t overload the driver with info. Even if it’s not best-in-class roomy, the comfortable rear seat works just fine, and the cargo area’s adjustable floor also includes storage for the cargo cover.

Exterior Features

There’s no question the 2018 Tucson is a sharp-looking compact SUV. The big grille, flowing lines and LED-accented headlights bring it into the same fold as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport — very good company. The front end’s styling centers on that trapezoidal grille, with lines flowing over the hood and across the fenders to the rear, blending into the taillights. Under the pretty styling is a chassis that uses more than 50-percent high-strength steel, providing a strength that makes the Hyundai Tucson safe and stable. 

Driving Impressions

For a small-crossover SUV, the 2018 Hyundai Tucson is remarkably quiet inside. Wind, road and engine noise are impressively contained and the well-sorted suspension delivers a composed ride even over unpaved roads. The comfort level varies widely, however, depending on wheel size. Feedback from the electric-assisted power steering still feels a bit vague at times, but it’s better than previous iterations. The optional 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is strong off the line, but then seems to fade just when we need it to shine, namely during passing and merging maneuvers. Placing the drive-mode select into Sport mode makes the engine, throttle and transmission more responsive, but not more powerful. We found much to like in the Tucson’s 7-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission that delivered quick, smooth shifts and helped our test vehicle achieve a respectable 30 mpg on the highway.

Pricing Notes

You can get a 2018 Hyundai Tucson SE with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $23,500, but we suggest skipping that and heading to the better-equipped SEL models, which start at a bit more than $24,750 and $27,650, respectively. The Value trim kicks off at about $27,500, while the top-line Limited will run about $30,400. All-wheel drive adds $1,400 to any Tucson’s starting price. If you opt for the Ultimate package on the 2018 Tucson Limited, you’ll be looking at about $35,000 worth of compact SUV. That’s pretty favorable next to the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue, and is nearly identical to the Ford Escape. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Tucson. Residual values for the Tucson are about on par with the rest of the compact-SUV class.

Notable Equipment

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson SE is the least expensive, and offers what we consider the basics on a modern vehicle: rearview camera, Bluetooth- and USB-equipped audio system, 17-inch alloy wheels, and an automatic transmission for the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. But it’s better to step up to the SEL model, where you’ll get heated front seats, an 8-way-power driver’s seat, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A half-step up from that is the SEL Plus, which adds blind-spot monitoring, proximity key, leather seating and an 8-inch navigation touch screen with Infinity audio. Top-line Limited models get a heated steering wheel, the 1.6-liter turbo engine (also standard on the Value trim) and an 8-way-power passenger seat.

Notable Options

All-wheel drive is available on every trim level, but optional equipment doesn’t show up until you reach the Limited trim’s Ultimate package. When so equipped, the Limited becomes the ultimate Tucson, with ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, lane-departure warning, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Oddly, the Value model offers the better 1.6-liter turbo engine but not the SEL Plus’ 8-inch navigation system or Infinity audio.

Favorite Features

SMART POWER TAILGATENo flailing arms or legs required to activate the Tucson’s power tailgate. Simply approach the vehicle with the fob in hand (or pocket), stand behind the vehicle for a few seconds and the tailgate automatically opens. YES ESSENTIALS STAIN PROTECTIONSpills and mishaps are a fact of family car life, which is why Hyundai adds stain-resistant YES Essentials technology to Tucson models with cloth seats. Beyond its ability to minimize stains, the fabric also deters odors and reduces static discharge.

Under the Hood

Base Tucson SE, SEL and SEL Plus models get a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission, which is a bit of a dog. Choose Value or Limited to get the much better 1.6-liter turbo-4 and 7-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available with either engine in lieu of the standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) setup. AWD Tucson models offer a "lock" feature, ensuring up to a 50/50 torque split between the front and rear wheels for better grip in low-traction situations. And don’t equate "turbo" with "speed"; instead, the upgrade engine successfully concentrates on fuel economy, getting up to 30 mpg on regular-unleaded gas. 2.0-liter inline-4164 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD), 21/26 mpg (AWD)1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4175 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/30 mpg (FWD), 24/28 mpg (AWD)

Editors' Notes

Once unrivaled at offering numerous features at a great price, Hyundai suddenly finds itself scrambling to make the 2018 Hyundai Tucson the unbeatable bargain it once was. The changes come as a sea of newer and equally well-equipped competitors hit the market, including compact-crossover-SUV favorites like the Subaru Crosstrek, Nissan Rogue and the Jeep Compass. To its credit, Hyundai has created a stylish and sporty compact SUV, offering numerous technology features, a choice of normally aspirated or turbocharged 4-cylinder engines and such high-end options as a panoramic sunroof and Infinity premium audio system. Also along for the ride is Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Road Test Video Reviews

2018 Hyundai Tucson Owner Reviews

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Vehicle room, technology, drive modes.

2018 Hyundai Tucson SE

I have not had any problems so far with my vehicle. We just recently purchased it and love everything about it. The back seat has room for my 6 month olds car seat, my almost 5 year olds car seat and still enough room for either another car seat or even a passenger. I love that I have heated seats and a back up camera as well. The trunk has plenty of space, we already packed it full like 3 or 4 times and only have owned it a little over a week. There is an app within the stereo system that you can also download onto your mobile device called android auto, they also have one for apple but unsure what it is called. Android auto lets you stream your music from your device, make calls, use the GPS at the touch of a finger or even a voice control and even uses google assistance to help you message or text. Also it informs you of the weather in the area you are driving in. It has three drive modes that you can choose from when driving. Eco, sport and normal. I usually keep mine in eco due to living in the city. You can drive the vehicle as an automatic or even a manual slap shift. I don't do very well with the slap shift but my husband does and he enjoys it. My favorite part is that the sun visors also move well enough to actually block the sun from your eyes but not block your vision of the road. I always hated using my sun visor in my old vehicle. One flaw about this vehicle is it does not have a CD player although this is probably due to the changes in technology throughout time.

- Dylan H

Service Team Disaster Corporate Ignorance

2018 Hyundai Tucson SEL

I owned a 2016 Tuscon ‘Luxury’ brand new. Drove it for 2 years and complained of a gasoline smell increasing as time went on. Went to Grimsby Hyundai for 6 months and all their technicians couldn’t figure it out. After attempting another guess at the problem, and the smell of gasoline resonating worse and worse, you would expect Hyundai Canada would step in and avoid a major problem with their product, and make their customer happy with a new vehicle- especially at this point after 6 months the entire service team had attempted and replaced everything under the hood- and of course still under warranty. After their last try in 2019, attempting to fix my vehicle, I was engulfed in flames on the QEW due to a gasoline leak catching fire to my‘’Luxury’ Tuscon’!!! To this day Hyundai Canada CEO has not touched base with at least an apology. However, the dealership is eager to put you back in the same vehicle with their financing terms of 6-7 years. Be very careful with signs of metal shavings in the engine. Always replenishing oil sooner than you would expect was my first sign. They also had to replace my engine due to a manufacturer defect. Gasoline smells apparently is a gas rail problem which ended up in a total disaster. I hope the consumer is attentive especially for safety reasons with children.

- John


2018 Hyundai Tucson value

We have about 18,500 miles on our 2018 Tucson so this is a long term use review. We love this vehicle. We have the value package with the panoramic sunroof and all the extras. It is rated 25/30 mpg and we regularly get 30-32 mpg highway as long as we don't exceed about 70mph. At about 75-80mph the fuel economy drops to about 27-29 but that is to be expected. I have even recorded fuel economy of 38mpg outside of Washington, DC in constant 55mph heavy traffic. The back up and cross-traffic cameras and alerts are excellent as is the upcoming traffic alerts in the side mirrors. I can drive for several hours in the comfortable seats and the front and rear legroom is ample. Cargo space is good for a small SUV but with the rear seat backs folded down the cargo space grows in a big way. After 18,500 miles the ride is smooth and very quiet on a decent road. Apple Carplay is great and Bluetooth is excellent. The large screen on the dash is super good using Waze. All in all the Tucson is a great vehicle that I highly recommend as long as you don't need one of the large SUVs. (we don't)

- Ted C.

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