If you need a reason why Ford and Fiat discontinued sedans in recent years, look no further than the Hyundai Tucson. In 2018, this compact SUV is on pace to double its sales from three years ago and set a new high-water mark.
As many small cars fade, crossovers like Tucson and the redesigned Subaru Forester continue breaking their own sales records. With that in mind, it’s no surprise automakers are refining their SUV lineup every chance they get.
For 2019, Hyundai made several changes to the Tucson. Here’s everything new in the revamped crossover for the upcoming model year.
1. Exterior styling updates
Some of the biggest changes to the 2019 Tucson will be staring consumers in the face. You’ll find the three chunky chrome bars gone from the grille, with four slimmer ones in their place. A shark-fin antenna will be standard.
Meanwhile, Hyundai brought the “cascading grille” found on other models to the Tucson for the first time. You’ll also see a new headlight design in front and back along with new fascias at both ends.
The 2019 model will also debut new 18-inch wheels and a redesigned exhaust finisher on SEL trims and above. In profile, you will see a bit of the new Hyundai Kona in this Tucson, and those changes extend to the interior as well.
2. Powertrain changes
As SUV performance improves across the industry, Hyundai is replacing its 1.6-liter turbo engine (175 horsepower) that ran with an automated manual transmission. In its place, consumers will find a 2.4-liter direct-injection engine (181 horsepower) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
While the Tucson will lose 14 pound-feet of torque in the exchange, the six added horses and shift away from the clumsy turbo should represent an upgrade overall. Otherwise, the base 2.0-liter engine (151 horsepower) carries over with the six-speed automatic.
3. Standard and optional safety tech
Most vehicles are getting upgraded safety tech for each new model year, and Tucson is right there with the rest of the industry with this model. Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and lane-keep assist will now come standard.
Meanwhile, smart cruise-control, driver-attention warnings, and surround-view monitor will be options. High-beam assist and rain-sensing wipers are new, and an electronic parking brake will come standard.
4. Interior upgrades
Inside the 2019 Tucson, you’ll find the standard 7-inch display screen raised to a point where it’s more in line with the driver’s eye. Android and Apple CarPlay will be standard, and in the Value trim and above you have the option of Blue Link Connected Car system with three years of service.
Available wireless charging for Android and Apple (iPhone 8 and X) devices will be an option as well. In the SEL trim and above, you’ll find a second-row USB charger for convenience.
5. Safety specs, fuel economy, release date
While the 2018 Tucson received a Top Safety Pick award, the new model has yet to be tested. The only area where the previous model was found lacking was in headlights, so we’ll see if the updates push the 2019 model into the elite safety ranks among SUVs.
As for fuel economy, since the base model carries over, we can expect its 26 mpg combined rating to hold. (Tucson was among the most economical compact SUVs in 2018.) The new engine will try to compete with the 27 mpg rating the turbo model got last year.
Hyundai said the 2019 Tucson will begin arriving at dealerships in the fall, so we’re just months away from widespread availability.