2012 Hyundai Tucson SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Hyundai Tucson SUV

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Hyundai Tucson Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/30 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Hyundai Tucson

  • The 2012 Hyundai Tucson might not be as big as its main rivals, but it makes amends with a handsome cabin, an ample list of features, sporty handling and a low price. It's a top pick for a small crossover.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Classy design inside and out; simple controls; good fuel economy; sporty handling; strong value.

  • Cons

    Below-average backseat and cargo space; firm ride; pokey acceleration with base engine.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, the Hyundai Tucson gets small changes designed to help boost fuel economy, including low-rolling-resistance tires and a new Active Eco system that modifies engine and transmission response. GLS models also get the same upgraded suspension and outside mirrors with built-in turn signals as the Limited. Hyundai has also retuned the suspension for a slightly better ride quality.

Full 2012 Hyundai Tucson Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Hyundai Tucson gets small changes designed to help boost fuel economy, including low-rolling-resistance tires and a new Active Eco system that modifies engine and transmission response. GLS models also get the same upgraded suspension and outside mirrors with built-in turn signals as the Limited. Hyundai has also retuned the suspension for a slightly better ride quality.

Introduction

Over the years Hyundai has become known for delivering respectable bang for the buck, and this compact crossover is no exception. But in addition to the strengths the brand has built its reputation on, the 2012 Hyundai Tucson offers a couple more unexpected bonuses -- namely distinctive styling and a fun-to-drive factor -- that make it an appealing choice for a small crossover SUV.

Unlike the utilitarian driving experience common to many compact crossovers, time spent behind the wheel of the Tucson can actually be enjoyable. Credit for the Tucson's handling goes to its Euro-tuned suspension and nicely weighted electric power steering. The engine choices aren't quite as special -- a 165-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 176-hp 2.4-liter -- but they're generally competitive for the segment.

If there's one area where the Tucson doesn't shine, it would be its relatively small cabin. Compared to bigger rivals like the Chevy Equinox and the fully redesigned Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, the Tucson's backseat offers less room and neither slides nor reclines. Cargo room is also significantly less than in those other crossover SUVs. Another issue with the Tucson is a ride quality that some may find to be on the firm side -- especially with the available 18-inch wheels.

As such, the aforementioned larger crossovers would be better choices for families. However, those with less vital size requirements should find the 2012 Hyundai Tucson (as well as its mechanically similar cousin, the Kia Sportage) a keen choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Hyundai Tucson is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV that is offered in three trim levels: GL, GLS and Limited. The GL base model comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, privacy glass, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, full power accessories, a trip computer and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface.

The GLS adds 17-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded suspension, roof rails, heated side mirrors with built-in turn signals, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth and leather upholstery, Bluetooth, steering-wheel audio controls and upgraded trim inside and out. All-wheel-drive GLS models also get heated front seats.

The Limited trim tacks on 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, a front wiper de-icer, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustments, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a cargo cover and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. An optional Premium package available only on the Limited adds a panoramic sunroof, touchscreen navigation system, a rearview camera and a seven-speaker upgraded sound system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Hyundai Tucson offers two different engine choices. Entry-level GL models come with a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 165 hp and 146 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, but a six-speed automatic is optional. It includes the Active Eco system, which alters engine and transmission response to maximize efficiency. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined with the automatic, and 20/26/22 with the manual.

Stepping up to the GLS and Limited models gets you a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 176 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. In California-emissions states, this engine receives partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV) status and produces 170 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered, but buyers have a choice of front- and all-wheel drive. In Edmunds performance testing, an all-wheel-drive GLS went from zero to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds, which is slow, but on par with other entries in the class. Fuel mileage numbers stand at 21/30/25 with front-wheel drive and 20/27/23 with all-wheel drive.

Safety

The list of standard safety features on the 2012 Hyundai Tucson includes antilock disc brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, hill holder and hill descent control. In Edmunds brake tests, the Tucson came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is about average among crossover SUVs.

In government crash testing, the Tucson received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal impact protection and five stars for overall side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this Hyundai its top rating of "Good" in the frontal offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside the 2012 Hyundai Tucson you'll find an attractive, functional and roomy cabin. The five-passenger interior is more stylish than several of its competitors, and gauges and controls are well-placed and easy to operate.

Up front, the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel on GLS and Limited models makes it possible for a wide range of different size drivers to get comfortable. The rear seat is a little smaller than those of its rivals and it also lacks the ability to both slide and recline.

The Tucson also gives up ground to its rivals in terms of cargo space. There are just 25.7 cubic feet behind the 60/40-split rear seats and 55.8 cubic feet with those seatbacks folded down. That latter number falls short of the CR-V, Subaru Forester and RAV4 by around 15 cubic feet, an amount of space equal to the entire trunk volume of some popular midsize sedans.

Driving Impressions

Unlike the utilitarian driving experience common to many compact crossovers, time spent behind the wheel of the 2012 Hyundai Tucson can actually be enjoyable. Credit for the Tucson's handling goes to its Euro-tuned suspension and nicely weighted electric power steering. The downside is ride quality that's a bit on the firm side, though this year's model is better than past Tucsons thanks to the retuned suspension.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the GL base model is underpowered, and there's really no advantage to this engine (besides its lower price) considering the 2.4-liter returns stronger acceleration and roughly the same fuel economy. The bigger engine does sound a touch unrefined compared to rival four-cylinders, however.

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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

All the thrill of watching

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Tucson Limited 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Driving this boring car is almost as much fun as watching grass grow. Hopelessly underpowered, it takes forever to get up to highway speed, and merging into highway traffic is a religious experience. The ignition often doesn't want to release the key, resulting in the epic "man vs machine" battle. The bolt holding the driver's seat in place on its track has come out on its own several times, leaving the seat at the lowest position, which is lovely if you are tall or don't mind sitting on the floor. This car has a rough buckboard ride. Driving in the rain with the standard tires is rather unnerving as the car feels as though it is slipping and sliding rather than rolling smoothly forward




Tuscon: overpriced disappointment

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Tucson Limited 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I purchased a Tuscon because I wanted the style and improved gas mileage over my heavy Chevy. I had owned a number of Hyundai vehicles and had largely been pleased with them. Two Sante Fes and the Luxury Hyundai. This vehicle did not match up. My son said, "You don't drive this car. It drives you." Constantly have to correct steering. Can't control acceleration. Won't accerate, then takes off whining. I was happy the day I bought it and the day you sell (albeit at a loss). Miserable in between. Dealer unable to remedy any of the complaints. Sold at 12,000 miles. Whew. Will never buy another Hyundai. Got my Equinox back and love it as well at the real 32 mpg.




Fun but needs more

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Tucson GLS 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I bought the Tuscon straight out of college, and it was the closest thing I could find to what I wanted in my budget. I would say it has a low-budget feel to the inside. If you do a lot of highway travel, it is loud. It could have used another layer of insulation on the bottom. After 70 mph there is a high squeal coming from somewhere in the window. The dealer hasn't been able to figure it out. There is also a smell of mildew in the car from the AC. Both things are apparently common, but the dealer hasn't been able to figure out. For the price point, its a great vehicle. I have moved large pieces of furniture. It's very spacious. It has some get up and go for a 4 cylinder.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great car with a couple

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Tucson Limited 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

6 months & 4000 miles later ... All around performance is great. Gas mileage is a bit off the sticker's EPA estimate, but not by much. I wouldn't hesitate in buying another Hyundai.



7 of 7 people found this review helpful

I love my hyundai!!

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Tucson GLS 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Before buying my hyundai in November 2011, I tested out a few other SUVs and out of all of them I loved the Tucson! I was given a really good price and was able to do a trade-in. I love traveling, so I'm always in my car. Very cozy, and I enjoy all of the accessories inside and out. There weren't too many color choices when picking out the vehicle, but I'm not complaining. I get compliments from everyone around town. I actually feel safe when I'm driving in the car. Very good choice when changing from a sedan to SUV! Now my SUV has tinted windows, street-glow and a system, which the vehicle handles everything VERY well! I've had the Tucson for 8.5 months and have gone about 11,500 miles



9 of 56 people found this review helpful

My new vehicle

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Tucson GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

The Tucson is a very stylish midsize crossover. I love the look of this vehicle, itís still hard for me to believe itís a Hyundai. The only downfall so far in the seating....the seat needs to be a little wider so the seatbelt won't dig into your hips.



Talk About The 2012 Tucson

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 21
  • cty
/
  • 30
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Reliability

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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