Major upgrade for Tucson this week. Full specs and pricing in this report. Also: Should you buy the new one now, or grab a bargain on the run-out of the old model?
The 2019 Hyundai Tucson is an upgrade of the existing model - not an all-new vehicle. Engines carry over, but there’s a new eight-speed transmission for the diesel, a new poverty pack model variant, plus a big safety and tech upgrade. And, of course, new hair and makeup.
DOWNLOAD: Full official specifications >>
The new lineup, in order or increasing largesse, is Tucson Go, Tucson Active X, Tucson Elite and Tucson Highlander. So essentially they’ve boned the old ‘Active’ and replaced it with ‘Go’.
('Go' is a backward step - so dismissive... I’m not actually so sure verbs should ever be used to describe model variants … although who wouldn’t want to drive a Volkswagen Tiguan ‘Choke’, or a Holden Commodore Fumble? The Ford Focus ‘Betray’. Anyway, in my view they should have called the new base model Tucson the ‘Pov’.)
BIG SAFETY BOOST
Back in objective territory it’s hard to fault them for this new safety pack they call SmartSense (because, apparently every good brochure needs a at least one made-up proper noun with two capital letters. Don’t get me started on mangling the language...)
The pack itself is brilliant - and available on the auto versions of the Chitious and Active X - it’s redundant on Elite and Highlander because those features are included standard in the pricier variants.
And it can’t be fitted to the manual versions of the Tucson Go and Active X because some of those features are incompatible with manual transmission, apparently.
Speaking of those features: SmartSense gives you auto emergency braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist and driver attention alert.
There’s some lesser stuff as well that it comes packaged up with, but they’re the main features designed to save some poor bastard’s neck, perhaps yours, that one fateful night. It includes dual-zone climate control air conditioning, electronic parking brake, a chilled glovebox and drive mode selection. Which are actually pretty significant inclusions on the base model, when you think about it.
There’s a glace cherry on top of course: With the safety pack, you also get adaptive cruise control - the radar based cruise control that adapts to congestion - which is awesome. It’s $2200 for the pack, and in my view that’s $2200 well spent.
So this means all the cutting-edge safety stuff is available across the range - although in the cheap seats you need to pay extra for it. And I don’t know how many people will do that. But, look, just having adaptive cruise across the range alone is one of the best reasons to give a runout Tucson the flick, in favour of the new one.
2019 TUCSON LINEUP
There’s also a new tablet-style multimedia system, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, standard across the range. It’s in line with current versions of i30, Kona and Santa Fe.
If you buy the diesel Tucson, you get the eight-speed automatic, which delivers improved performance, refinement and economy - another good reason to bone the runout model.
Officially the 2019 Tucson is priced from $27,990 drive away - for the base-model manual petrol 'Go'. That’s actually just a retail special offer to get you into the showroom over the first month.
Tucson Go and Active X are available with the 2.0-litre petrol four with direct injection and a six-speed manual or six-speed auto transmission - that comes with front drive. It’s $2500 extra for the auto.
There’s also the 2.0-litre diesel with the new eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive. There’s no manual with the diesel. $5300 extra (over the petrol auto) for the diesel - but you’re getting A) a much gruntier diesel engine, B) the new eight-speed auto, and C) all-wheel drive.
So it is a bit of a hike up in price to the diesel, but you’re getting a lot of additional engineering.
More on petrol Vs diesel >>
There’s no manual transmission availability in Elite or Highlander. Elite has three engines - the two just mentioned and the 1.6 turbo petrol with the seven-speed DCT - that’s also with AWD.
More on 2WD Vs AWD >>
And, with Highlander you choose between 1.6 turbo or the 2.0 diesel - both with AWD. There’s no front drive atmo petrol.
2019 TUCSON PRICING
This is recommended retail pricing (ie - not including on-road costs like registration and that bullshit ‘dealer delivery’ charge).
$28,150 for the manual petrol Tucson Go. Active X is $31,350 for the petrol manual - so that’s a $3200 step up.
Tucson Elite starts at $37,850 for the 2.0 atmo petrol four auto. So that’s $4000 more than Active X (but it’s only $1800 more than Active X with the safety pack - so that seems like especially good value to me, if you can live without the top-spec wankey fruit in Highlander - we’ll get to that.)
It’s $3000 more for the Elite if you step up to the 1.6 turbo petrol DCT with AWD (that’s up from the atmo petrol front-drive Elite). And $2300 on top of that for the diesel. That’s $43,150 for the diesel.
Highlander is $46,500 for the turbo petrol and $48,800 for the diesel. That’s a $5650 step up from the Elite, powertrain for powertrain.
2019 TUCSON FEATURES
Hyundai says every 2019 Tucson features more standard equipment than the preceding model. Even the Go, which replaced the Active.
Drilling down into the standard equipment, Tucson Go comes standard with a rear view camera, auto headlamps, bluetooth, power windows, 17-inch steel wheels, a full-size spare wheel and tyre (that’s good for driving in ‘Straya) plus auto headlamps, a 7-inch multimedia system on that floaty tablet thing with Apple CarPlay & Android auto.
So that’s not exactly a family of 12 living on a roundabout in Islamabad, is it? If you’ve ever seen poverty up close, that’s not it.
TUCSON ACTIVE X
Tucson Active X jumps up to 17-inch alloys, you get tyre pressure monitoring, rear parking sensors, there’s a splash of leather, eight-inch sat-nav, DAB+ radio and eight speaker Infinity audio system, heated, power folding wing mirrors and USB power for row two, to shut the kids up...
That’s a fair bit of extra stuff for $3000 extra
Tucson Elite comes with 18-inch alloys, a power driver’s seat, proximity key and pushbutton start, rain-sensing wipers, privacy glass, a luggage net, plus of course all the safety stuff you pay extra for on the Chitioux and Active X.
Elite is therefore is the real value model in the range in my view.
Tucson Highlander gets all the fruit - except auto parking. In addition to all the stuff lower down in the range, there’s 19-inch alloys, LED light package front and rear, front parking sensors, panorama glass roof, solar glass, a power front passenger’s seat (both front seats are heated and ventillated). You also get a heated steering wheel. (Not so useful in Darwin; quite nice in Cooma.) There’s an auto tailgate, a sexier instrument cluster, auto-dimming interior mirror, and the wireless phone charging pad.
So that’s quite a bit more polish over Elite, for $5500(ish) more - but do you really need all that stuff? Really? Still, just for kicks, go and see how much they’d charge you extra for all that crap at Land Rover or Audi - I don’t know how they can look you in the face.
NEW Vs RUNOUT & COMPETITORS
New Tucson is old Tucson, only better. From memory, the Go and Active X have actually come down slightly in price, and the Elite and Highlander have come up slightly.
Just getting adaptive cruise and the big safety injection - even if you have to pay extra for it (in the case of Go and Active X) - is reason enough to forget about a runout deal. The runout is already de-valued as a result of being superseded - so just being cheaper does not automatically make it a better deal, unless you are truly strapped for cash.
It’s a good medium-sized SUV - check out the Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage at the same pricepoint. (Space saver spare and annoying auto engine stop/start on the Mazda, however - so there’s that.) If you want a larger five-seater: Subaru Outback. Massive cargo space there.
Hyundai and Kia both do extensive suspension and steering tuning for our delightfully challenging Shitsvillian roads - so that’s good.
If you don’t need seven seats, this is the size of SUV you want - because stepping up from a Tucson to an equivalent Santa Fe or Sorento is going to cost you an additional $10 grand.
If you’re thinking about buying a Tiguan from the Monkey Spankers, just pay a stern German woman in a latex jumpsuit to strap you to a metal frame once a week and whip you enthusiastically for an hour.
There’s really no need to take your Volkswagen masochism fantasy out on the road. My suggestion will be both cheaper and, ultimately, less painful.
More detail at Hyundai's Tucson pages >>