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Hyundai Didn’t Do Enough to Make the 2021 Tucson Stand Out

The 2021 SUVs and crossovers are starting to trickle out of the gate, and those consumers ready to trade-up have plenty from which to choose. Fans of the Hyundai Tucson might also be eager to see what’s new for the next model year. But some of the reviews suggest the competition is getting steep. And for some SUVs, keeping up and finding ways to stand out has proven to be difficult. The 2021 Hyundai Tucson may fall into this latter category, as some critics cite the automaker simply didn’t do enough to make the popular crossover stand out from the impressive pack.

What the 2021 Hyundai Tucson does right

The Hyundai Tucson is still a stylish ride. It has all the basics you’d expect, including an impressive roster of safety scores, the must-have device pairing essentials of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the automaker’s stand-out warranty coverage. The reviews point out some of the Tucson’s best features, including the hands-free powered tailgate and the Essentials Stain Protection for preserving the integrity of the interior seating.

But new this year, the SUV only gets changes to its exterior paint options, including new shades of Coliseum Gray, Gemstone Red, and Black Noir Pearl. Adjusting the color palette may not have been a significant enough of a change to make an impact on buyers this year.

Comparable and significant options in the segment

Every year, automakers look to add improvements to their popular models and outdo each other for spots in consumers’ garages. So, when Hyundai appears to have taken a year off from adding anything significant to its popular Tucson, it leaves room for other contenders to outshine it.

You might find better options and performance with a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. Some, like Edmunds, suggest that the Mazda CX-5 is more fun to drive, while others believe the Kia Sportage brings better behind-the-wheel experiences. And, don’t forget the impressive capability of the Subaru Forester. For Hyundai enthusiasts, the Santa Fe might be a better fit and is larger than the Tucson.

Where critics say the Hyundai Tucson underdelivers

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between the Hyundai Tucson and Hyundai Santa Fe?

Unfortunately, the 2021 Hyundai Tucson, while delightful in many ways, still manages to fall short in a few essential areas. For example, it’s not exciting or particularly quick. The interior, for some, may feel small and cramped. And if you want the best amenities, you’ll have to pay for the higher-level trims to get them.

Even some of the most common driver aids, found standard in many other SUVs in this class, are optional add-ons for the Tucson. While it is considered an SUV, there isn’t much off-road or rugged capability either.

One reason you should buy the 2021 Hyundai Tucson

If equipment, style, or off-roading don’t necessarily weigh in your final purchasing decision, maybe safety will. When it comes to offering a safe ride, Kelley Blue Book suggests no other SUV outshines the Tucson.

Earning the Top Safety Pick designation and “Good” ratings in every category with IIHS, the Tucson knows a thing or two about protecting occupants. The NHTSA also gives the crossover maximum of five stars in its vehicle evaluation. 

If you find yourself ready to consider a new SUV for your garage, you’ll have a tough decision to make with all the available models from which to choose. The 2021 Hyundai Tucson certainly has its perks, including its safety scores. But there isn’t much else worth writing home about with this new model. And because Hyundai didn’t make any significant improvements, you might find one of the other crossovers in the segment to be a better fit.