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Compact SUVs are among the most popular vehicles in America. So automakers need a competitive entry to succeed in this crowded class. Hyundai has established itself as a reliable, affordable brand. And although its Tucson is already a best-seller, one trim attracts the most buyers. Learn about the latest Hyundai Tucson trims, including the most popular and the critic’s pick.

Overview of the Hyundai Tucson trims

2023 Hyundai Tucson trims
2023 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai

The Hyundai Tucson gives consumers a wide variety of choices with five trims: SE, SEL, XRT, N Line, and Limited. All have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Tucson generates 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque.

The entry-level Tucson SE starts at $26,000 and rides on 17-inch alloy wheels. It achieves an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 32 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in the city. This base model offers excellent features at a lower cost, making it an appealing SUV for shoppers on a budget.

Next up is the SEL, which also has 17-inch alloy wheels. But this Hyundai Tucson trim is a bit pricier, starting at $27,000. It offers more comfort and convenience features.

With a starting MSRP of $33,000, the mid-range XRT trim gets 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. It rides on 19-inch black alloy wheels. And instead of the 8.0-inch touchscreen in the SE and SEL, this upgraded Tucson trim has a 10.25-inch display.

Then there’s the N Line, with 19-inch alloy wheels. Starting at $32,000, this trim has no performance upgrades over the other trims, but it has a sportier look.

Last is the range-topping Limited. For $36,000, it adds exclusive features. For instance, it’s the only Hyundai Tucson trim with Remote Smart Park Assist. This system allows users to park in tight spots while standing outside the SUV. Obstacle detection sensors stop the car if they sense an object.

Side view of red 2022 Hyundai Tucson SEL
2022 Hyundai Tucson SEL | Hyundai

The latest Hyundai Tucson trims offer unique features. However, according to Edmunds, the SEL is the most popular of the five, and it’s easy to see why. This trim provides several amenities over the base model, such as adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, and second-row air vents.

It also boasts various advanced safety features. They include safe exit warning, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist. This trim also has illuminated vanity mirrors, 10-color ambient interior lighting, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Even better, with a starting MSRP of $30,000, the 2024 Hyundai Tucson SEL trim offers various upgrades. They include a 10.3-inch touchscreen and dual automatic temperature control with an auto-defogging function. The SEL provides some desirable extras over the base SE without breaking the bank.

Experts disagree on the best trim

Edmunds recommends the popular Hyundai Tucson SEL trim due to its price-to-feature advantages. However, it also suggests considering a model with a hybrid powertrain. Its reviewers recommend the Tucso Blue Hybrid for better efficiency because it swaps out the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine for a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine making 227 hp. That’s quite a power improvement over the base model’s 187 hp.

On the other hand, Car and Driver reviewers recommend the SEL Convenience Hybrid. They say it’s a smarter buy due to better fuel economy, more features, and greater power. The Convenience package includes H-Tex synthetic leather upholstery, a hands-free liftgate, and dual-zone climate control.

But ultimately, the choice among Hyundai Tucson trims rests on the consumer’s preferences and budget.