Crossover & Midsize

Avoid the 2020 Hyundai Tuscon’s Base Trim Level

Shoppers in the compact SUV market have an abundance of makes and models to choose from, which leaves some car critics scratching their heads when it comes to the 2020 Hyundai Tucson’s lack of flair when it comes to its base trim level. When competing with other Hyundai SUV options like the larger Santa Fe and the smaller Kona, it appears that the automaker showed little interest in meeting customer demand with base model Tucson’s in 2020. However, more advanced trim levels do provide a higher level of customer satisfaction.

The base model 2020 Hyundai Tucson is pretty barebones

One possible reason that Hyundai put little effort into standard 2020 Tucson models could relate to bigger plans for the Tucson in 2021. Buyers who can’t wait for the 2021 edition need to be aware that the base model of the 2020 Tucson is pretty barebones.

To start with, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the base model Tucson is underpowered (161 hp/150 lb-ft torque) while providing no fuel-economy advantage at a poor 24 mpg rating.

A Consumer Reports road test reports responsive handling and controlled body lean to boost driver confidence but notes that the Tucson is a bit stiff and does not absorb bumps as well as its competitors. Base model Hyundai Tucsons lack a power driver’s seat and lumbar adjustment, and interior features are mostly functional plastic with few frills.

Positive features of the base model Tucson include a roomier cabin with adequate knee-space for adults in the rear seat, though with inadequate thigh support for longer rides, and a little extra cargo space. Affordability is another positive of the 2020 Tucson, which requires a lower initial investment than any other model in its class.

SE models also come with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and a 60/40 split-folding back seat. Standard tech options keep up with competitors, featuring a 7-inch touchscreen display, a six-speaker sound system, a USB port, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Standard safety features in the standard 2020 Tucson include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.

What features do the more advanced 2020 Tucson trims add?

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In spite of a lack of attention to the 2020 Tucson’s base model versions, Hyundai invested greater effort into advanced trim options, which kept the SUV from falling out of the top 10 in its class.

Without significant additional investment, Value trim owners can expect various features added to the SE base model, which include roof rails, heated mirrors, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, satellite radio, and Hyundai’s Blue Link communication services. However, the Value configuration still has the same sluggish 2.0-liter engine.

To enjoy the most significant upgrades offered by the 2020 Hyundai Tucson requires investing in the four higher trim levels. SEL and above versions replace the 2.0-liter engine with a perkier 2.4-liter (181 hp, 175 lb-ft) option. Exterior styling enhancements along with 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, and a second-row USB port are other added features of SEL trim-levels.

The features get even better as you move up Tucson’s trim-level ladder. Highlights of the Sport option include 19-inch wheels, a hands-free liftgate, LED headlights/taillights/foglights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, wireless smartphone charging, and an eight-speaker premium audio system.

Although the Limited model reverts to 18-inch wheels, it includes all the features of the Sport package while adding upgraded door trim, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a 360-degree parking camera and a power-adjusted passenger seat.

For those interested in adding luxury, the Ultimate configuration answers the call with the addition of a panoramic sunroof, and automatic high-beam headlights and wipers. Higher-level safety and driver-assist features added on this trim level include premium forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and higher-level driver information display.

To finish out the high-end features of this package are interior features like ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and an 8-inch touchscreen display with navigation.

Skip the standard Hyundai Tucson in 2020 and look to more advanced options

Hyundai did not put a lot of attention into its base-model SE and Value trim options for the 2020 Tucson, but it placed more attention on the more advanced trim levels. Because the price tag on the Hyundai Tucson beats out the competition, buyers can skip on the base model Tucson in 2020 and look to more advanced trim options without doing a lot of damage to their car-buying budget.