2013 Hyundai Tucson Review and Prices

Last Updated: May 3, 2012

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2013 Hyundai Tucson Buying Advice

The 2013 Hyundai Tucson is the best SUV for you if you’re turned on by Hyundai’s compact-crossover value story and want it wrapped in fresh styling. 

The 2013 Hyundai Tucson is due a midcycle update that’ll bring the first significant changes since this crossover’s model-year 2010 introduction. Expect an evolution of Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” styling themes and perhaps addition of a hybrid model. This five-passenger wagon’s basic size won’t change. Neither will its focus on lots of features for the money. But it will need every advantage as it battles the all-new 2013 Ford Escape, 2013 Toyota RAV4, and 2013 Nissan Rogue, not to mention the new-for-2012 Honda CR-V.

Should you wait for the 2013 Hyundai Tucson or buy a 2012 Hyundai Tucson? Wait for the 2013 Tucson to get the latest look and the most up-to-date selection of features. Buy a 2012 Tucson if you don’t fancy the potential hybrid model, have no problem with the current styling and equipment, and wish to avoid the price inflation almost certain with a model-year changeover.

2013 Hyundai Tucson Changes back to top

Styling: The 2013 Hyundai Tucson is in line for a styling update that should help it look less amorphous and a little more aggressive. The 2010 Tucson helped launch the wavy-sheet-metal theme that’s appeared on most subsequent new car and SUV designs from this South Korean automaker. Thankfully, Fluidic Sculpture has evolved with each new release and the 2013 Tucson stands to benefit from its crisper and more confident approach. A visually stronger front end would be of particular value.

What won’t change are the basic shape and dimensions that again will position the Tucson as one of the shorter compact crossovers. That cuts cargo volume to below average. On the upside, the 2013 Tucson will retain the relatively long wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear axles) that has helped it achieve good passenger space.  

Expect the core of the 2013 Hyundai Tucson model line to reflect the successful 2012 roster. It should begin with the entry-level GL model and ascend through the volume-selling GLS to the top-line Limited. If Hyundai introduces a hybrid version, it could come in one or more of its own trim designations.

Mechanical: The 2013 Hyundai Tucson will remain a prototypical compact crossover, with a carlike unibody structure and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. It’ll again come with four-cylinder power, though Hyundai probably is working on underhood tweaks to eke out a bit more performance and fuel economy.

If the 2013 Tucson stays the course, the base model would repeat with a four-cylinder of around 2.0-liters and about 165 horsepower. This base model would again offer a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, but likely remain available only with front-wheel drive.

Other gas-only 2013 Tucsons would reprise a four-cylinder of around 2.4-liters and about 176 horsepower. They’d come only with the six-speed automatic and offer a choice of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (AWD). AWD 2013 Tucsons wouldn’t be aimed at serious off-roading but are likely to retain a low-speed front-rear torque lock, plus hill ascent and descent control. 

Hyundai is the parent brand of Kia and a version of the Tucson is marketed with different styling and a sportier focus as the Kia Sportage. It comes with a lively 260-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. Tucson is positioned as the more family-oriented crossover. So instead of the turbo, odds are that any third powertrain choice would be a hybrid that combines a gas four-cylinder engine with a battery-powered electric motor.   

Features: The 2013 Hyundai Tucson will continue a plan of attack that ladles on features – and elevates interior materials quality -- at prices lower than rivals can manage. Look for a revamped cabin that’ll repeat Hyundai’s signature blue lighting, plus power windows, power door locks, fold-away mirrors and remote keyless entry with alarm as standard.

A Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition and steering-wheel audio and cruise controls will again be available. So will leather upholstery, heated front seats, power driver seat with lumbar support, automatic headlights, front wiper de-icer and, dual front automatic climate control. Expect XM satellite radio and iPod USB and auxiliary inputs to be standard.

Among 2013 Tucson options will be a navigation system with rearview camera and Bluetooth streaming audio capability; Hyundai could revise the dashboard to increase the system’s screen size from the current 6.5-inch diameter.

Expect the 2013 Tucson to also be available for the first time with Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system, a fee-based service that delivers emergency assistance, turn-by-turn navigation, remote unlocking, voice text messaging, and stolen-vehicle slowdown. Blue Link also includes “Geofence” capability in which the owner can be notified by email or text if the loaned-out vehicle has violated preset geographic boundaries.

2013 Hyundai Tucson Prices back to top

Prices for the 2013 Hyundai Tucson were not announced in time for this review but  are unlikely to change significantly from those of the 2012 Tucson. Hyundai will need to leverage any value edge as Tucson faces the formidable herd of new compact-crossover competitors.

Expect a base-price range for the 2013 Hyundai Tucson of roughly $20,000-$29,500. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s mandated destination fee; Hyundai’s fee for the 2012 Tucson was $825.)

Look for the entry-level 2013 Tucson to again be a seldom-ordered price-leader with manual transmission, front-wheel drive, and few available options. The more mainstream models – with automatic transmission and AWD – would likely start around $23,500, with the top-line Limited and its standard leather upholstery and other features nearing $30,000.

Hyundai may yet consider a hybrid version incompatible with Tucson’s value image, but if one is available, it’ll likely be priced from around $27,000.

One buying-decision element will continue to be Hyundai’s generous warranty coverage of 5-years/60,000-miles bumper-to-bumper and 10-years/100,000-miles powertrain, plus 24-hour roadside assistance for 5-years/unlimited mileage.

2013 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Economy back to top

EPA fuel-economy ratings for 2013 Hyundai Tucson were not announced in time for this review. But good mileage is a strong sales tool in this class and Hyundai can’t afford to jeopardize the 2013 Tucson’s place among the class economy leaders.

That suggests ratings for mainstream 2013 Tucsons of at least 22/32/25 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive and 21/28/23 with AWD. If an equivalent to the smaller-engine 2012 GL model returns it isn’t likely to beat those ratings by much, if at all. It would probably again be offered instead as a way to save money on the initial purchase rather than over the long haul in fuel expenses.

All 2013 Tucsons equipped with automatic transmission should again come with Hyundai’s ActiveEco system. The system is enabled by a dashboard button and intervenes to soften throttle response and improve real-world fuel economy by, Hyundai says, as much as 7 percent.

A Tucson hybrid, of course, would exceed fuel-economy ratings of the gas-only models, though by how much depends on the technology Hyundai devotes to it.

2013 Hyundai Tucson Release Date back to top

The 2013 Hyundai Tucson should be in showrooms by autumn 2012.

What's next for the 2013 Hyundai Tucson back to top

Model-year 2013 revisions would fall under the heading of a midcycle freshening for this crossover. Such updates typically amount to no more than minor nose and tail facelifts. But Hyundai has shown a penchant for relatively extensive midcycle changes, so the 2013 Tucson could emerge renewed rather than merely refreshed.

Longer-term, expect the all-new next-generation Tucson around model-year 2015.

2013 Hyundai Tucson Competition back to top

Honda CR-V: Coming off a full redesign for model-year 2012, the 2013 Honda CR-V will strive to defend its place atop the compact-SUV sales charts against the same foes Tucson will face. Beyond support from loyal returning customers, CR-V’s strengths will remain excellent packaging of people and cargo, pleasant and non-polarizing styling, and Honda’s well-deserved reputation for reliability and resale value. Less-than-exciting acceleration is apt to remain a downer.

Ford Escape: Will Ford have gone too far with the all-new 2013 Escape? The carmaker is replacing the woefully outdated but still-handsome and remarkably popular decade-old Escape design with a flamboyantly styled adaptation of the European Ford Kuga crossover. The 2013 Escape features an all-four-cylinder lineup, including two turbocharged engines. Among its features are a tailgate that powers open if you wiggle your foot beneath the rear bumper and a system that automatically backs the SUV into a parallel parking space.

Toyota RAV-4: Vying for its place among the compact-crossover sales leaders will be the all-new 2013 RAV4. New styling and deletion of an available V-6 engine in favor of an all-four-cylinder lineup are among the headlines. So is a pure-electric variant, though it’ll be essentially a limited-edition. Expect the 2013 RAV4 to remain slightly larger than the class norm, possibly big enough to again offer child-sized third-row seating.

2013 Hyundai Tucson Next Steps