2009 Hyundai Tucson Review
2009 Hyundai Tucson Review
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- Stylish and functional interior, impressive warranty, plenty of standard features.
- Performance and fuel economy are noticeably lower than most competitors.
Engineering refinements to the transmission, torque converter, engine and steering-pump belt translate into an improvement in fuel economy of 4-6 percent for the 2009 Hyundai Tucson. The Tucson also gains a navigation system later in the model year; it's part of the new upgraded Kenwood audio system. Other upgrades this year include new wheels, a revised chrome grille and a B&M Racing Sport Shifter for models equipped with manual transmissions. Finally, the standard features list on SE Tucsons equipped with four-wheel drive now includes heated front seats and a windshield wiper de-icer, and Limited V6 models come standard with a sunroof.
The 2009 Hyundai Tucson will appeal to those with value in mind, thanks to its affordable price, long list of standard features and generous warranty coverage.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2009 Hyundai Tucson GLS 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$171/mo for Tucson GLS
Avg. Compact SUV
If, like many people, you're now considering Keystone Light instead of Sapporo Reserve and Target instead of Bloomingdale's, you know that value-oriented alternatives start looking better and better in bleak economic times. By this reasoning, one could argue that the capable yet inexpensive 2009 Hyundai Tucson has never been more appealing.
Like all Hyundais, the Tucson has much to offer for buyers craving maximum bang for their recession-pinched bucks (this is also true of its corporate twin, the Kia Sportage). The Tucson is one of the most affordable choices in the compact-SUV segment, and for the money you get a long list of standard features. Satellite radio is included, along with safety features like side curtain airbags. Also, the Tucson's warranty -- which includes 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage -- is among the most generous available.
Still, while it's a decent all-arounder, the Tucson falls short of being a major-league talent. It lacks the quickness of the Toyota RAV4 V6, the refinement of the Honda CR-V and the fun-to-drive nature of the Nissan Rogue and Saturn Vue. Also, its cargo capacity isn't anything to write home about. In the end, though, this competent, bargain-priced Hyundai has value on its side. It may not have the most compelling bundle of attributes, but it's got a very compelling price -- much like a 12-pack of Keystone Light.
Performance & mpg
Hyundai's Tucson is offered with two engines: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 140 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque, and a 2.7-liter V6 that generates 173 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. The GLS is available only with the inline-4, but SE and Limited Tucsons may be purchased with either the inline-4 or the V6. Buyers of the Tucson four-cylinder have their choice of a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic with manual shift control; the V6 comes standard with the automatic. An all-wheel-drive system is also available as an option on V6 models.
A Tucson V6 we tested went from zero to 60 mph in 10.2 seconds, which is pretty lethargic for a V6-powered small crossover -- the peppy RAV4 V6 will do the job a full 3 seconds quicker. Four-cylinder models are slower still. The EPA estimates that the four-cylinder Tucsons with an automatic transmission will get mileage of 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined -- about average for its class. The 4WD V6 Tucson is rated at 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.
An impressive complement of standard safety features is offered in the 2009 Hyundai Tucson. Included are antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front-seat side impact airbags, head side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The Tucson excelled in government crash tests, scoring a perfect five stars for both frontal and side impact protection. Hyundai's compact SUV earned an "Acceptable" rating (the second highest) in frontal offset and side impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Get behind the wheel and you'll find that the 2009 Hyundai Tucson feels carlike on the road; while not exactly sporty, its driving dynamics are pleasant enough. Ride quality is smooth without being too isolating. Recent power hikes in other small crossovers have left the Tucson at a bit of a power deficit, however. The standard four-cylinder is anemic, so we recommend you opt for the V6, even though it can barely keep up with four-cylinder rivals. While the four-speed automatic isn't quite as fluid as the five-speed units offered by other compact SUVs, it's alert enough to keep the V6 in its power band, such as it is.
In its favor, the Tucson's cabin boasts modern design and good build quality. Front passengers have ample legroom, but larger passengers may feel cramped in the second row. This year's new navigation system has a display screen smaller than that of most other factory systems -- it's more the size of a portable navigation system -- but it's still an inexpensive way to get a built-in system.
This Hyundai's rear seats fold flat to offer up to 66 cubic feet of total capacity -- about average for a small crossover SUV. If you're carrying longer items, the Tucson's front passenger seat will fold down to accommodate the load.
2009 Hyundai Tucson models
A compact crossover SUV, the 2009 Hyundai Tucson comes in three trim levels: base GLS, midlevel SE and top-of-the-line Limited. GLS buyers enjoy standard features like 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, heated outside mirrors and a CD/MP3 stereo with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
Step up to the Tucson SE and you get cruise control, premium cloth upholstery, a trip computer, foglights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel; SEs equipped with 4WD also feature heated front seats and a windshield de-icer as standard. The deluxe Limited trim adds a monochromatic exterior, leather upholstery, automatic climate control and an upgraded Kenwood audio and navigation system with a subwoofer and an SD memory card slot. Tucson Limiteds equipped with V6 engines also get a standard sunroof. Bluetooth connectivity is optional.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
One of the most under rated small SUV's
Bob Senter, 06/05/2016
2008 Hyundai Tucson GLS 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
Super reliable, easy to live with, easy to drive and park, carries 5 people with ease, comfortable on long trips and tons of utility and space. Not the pretties SUV ever built but definitely one of the best.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Lady Driver loves Tucson
2009 Hyundai Tucson Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (2.7L 6cyl 4A)
Just a great car. At 80K miles now, with no problems whatsoever (even in scorching Arizona). Averages 22-25MPG, which I think is good compared to other 2009 SUVs. A comfortable vehicle, even on long road trips. Fun to drive, quiet, lots of interior cup holders, and the last year of this beautiful model. A perfectly not-too-big SUV that still elevates the driver. Comparable to the … old (wonderful) Isuzu Rodeo.
4.38 out of 5 stars
not enough power
2009 Hyundai Tucson SE 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A)
I love the look of it. my main complaint is lack of power. Even though it is a 4 cyl I expected a little more power. hard to make hills and inclines if you don't get a good head start. I don;t know if the streets around here are real bad because you can feel all the bumps & uneven surfaces.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Best bang for the buck
2008 Hyundai Tucson GLS 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
Purchased this SUV after having a 4 cyl 5 speed Sante Fe for 4 years & was quite happy with both service & reliability with Hyundai vehicles. Was looking for something comparable & found the 4 cyl 5 speed Tucson surprisingly similar to drive. Handles very well in the city with great gas mileage. Having purchased a front-wheel drive, a good set of snow tires handled winter driving in the … snow well. The highway driving is very good but the engine works harder on hills with 4 passengers and a full load, which is to be expected. Interior noise is surprisingly quiet for a hard working engine as well as very smooth handling. Recommend this vehicle with anyone with kids.Trunk space is a minimum
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2009 Hyundai Tucson, so we've included reviews for other years of the Tucson since its last redesign.
2009 Tucson Highlights
|Combined MPG||22 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$171/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||5 years / 60,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalAcceptable
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalAcceptable
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestPoor
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood