2019 Hyundai Tucson Review – 5 reasons it’s better than the old one

The Hyundai Tucson, which consistently remains in Australia’s top 10 best-sellers, has undergone a makeover for the 2019 model year, with its latest incarnation bringing sharper looks and a longer list of standard kit, along with an improved diesel drivetrain.

To highlight these subtle but welcome differences, we brought together the updated 2019 Tucson with the outgoing 2018 model, courtesy of a reader who had recently purchased one on a sizeable run-out deal.

Coincidentally, both are Active X models finished in the same Pepper Grey paintwork, so at first you do need to look hard to spot the differences. Once you start picking up on them, however, there are plenty of minor but still noteworthy changes to be found.

That’s why we thought we’d list it all out for you here – so that you know what to look out for on the latest Tucson, and to show just how big a difference all these minor upgrades can make.

1. Updated exterior styling

Hyundai has sharpened the Tucson’s looks for 2019, bringing it up-to-date with the rest of the company’s range. Most notably at the front, the Tucson now sports a sharper, cascading grille design with a diamond-shaped black mesh design on the Active X model tested here, compared to the horizontal slats of the old one.

At the rear of the car, the tailgate has now been altered to better incorporate the belt-line, with the other benefit being its ability to now accomodate smart European-style number plates like those on our test car.

The wheels have also seen a redesign, although they are a less-interesting design than the diamond-cut rims of the pre-facelift model. They’re also now only 17-inches in diameter, down from the 18s of the 2018 model.

2. Extra interior kit

The Tucson has been tweaked to mirror the rest of Hyundai’s line-up on the inside, too, with the Active X sporting an eight-inch touch screen running the company’s latest infotainment system that incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, integrated satellite navigation, and DAB+ digital radio.

Other upgrades include an eight-speaker premium Infinity audio system and a wireless phone charging pad, while opting for the Safety Pack also nabs you adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, dual-zone climate control, an electric parking brake, and a cooled glovebox.

The redesigned dashboard also looks more modern and smarter too, while niceties such as standard leather upholstery are carried over from the old model as well.

3. More room for personalisation

While it’s only a minor addition, the new option of a striking beige leather interior allows for more personalisation as it is available on all trim levels, aside from the entry-level Go, and with 4 different exterior colours – Aqua Blue, Phantom Black, Pure White, and Sage Brown.

As our Pepper Grey tester isn’t on that list, however, we didn’t get to sample that for you.

4. Improved diesel drivetrain

While all three engines available in the Tucson – a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol with front-wheel drive, a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol with all-wheel drive, and a 2.0-litre turbo diesel with all-wheel drive – are all untouched as far as power goes, the diesel does receive a new transmission for 2019.

Previously making do with a six-speed unit, the 136kW/400Nm oiler now boasts an eight-speed self-shifter that reduces fuel consumption and improves acceleration. It’s fast shifting too, even in comfort mode.

The diesel can now also be had on the Active X, as you see here – the one trim level it was previously off-limits for. While it is a very costly $5,300 over the 2.0-litre petrol automatic, its impressive performance and frugal fuel usage makes it worth considering if you’re planning on racking up the miles in one of these.

5. More safety tech for entry-level models

One of the biggest changes to the Tucson range is the availability of Hyundai’s SmartSense active safety suite across all trim levels – although it isn’t available on cars equipped with a manual gearbox.

The Safety Pack, as it’s referred to on the options list, brings forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and driver condition monitoring to the party.

However, while it is available on all automatic-equipped models, it only comes as standard with the Elite and Highlander grades. That means for the entry-level Go and the Active X tested here, it’s a costly $2,200 option and something that should really be standard-fit range-wide.

In summary

Design & Comfort


Performance & Handling






Equipment & Features




Our Score: 4/5

+ Plus

  • Extra kit
  • Sharpened looks
  • Excellent new eight-speed auto for diesel variants


  • Active safety tech a pricey option
  • Diesel commands a sizeable premium
  • Beige interior only available with select colours


The 2019 Tucson update, while far from revolutionary in the grand scheme of things, brings more refinements and a few extra niceties to what was already a very good car.

We like the availability of active safety tech on the entry level models, although we don’t like that it’s a pricey optional extra. We also like the updated interior and extra kit this update brings, and we like how much the new eight-speed automatic improves the diesel’s drivability and performance.

With the 2.0-litre and 1.6-litre turbo petrol Tucsons seeing no mechanical alterations, however, we wouldn’t discourage you from getting a 2018 model on a decent run-out deal if you find one, especially if you don’t mind the styling and aren’t fussed about tech, but the Tucson’s latest incarnation, while only sporting minor changes, is a step up.

Stay tuned for our full review of the 2019 Tucson in the coming weeks…

2019 Hyundai Tucson Active X 2.0D pricing and specification

Price (Excluding on-road costs):From $39,150

As tested: $41,945

Tested options:

  • Safety Pack – $2,200
  • ‘Pepper Grey’ premium paint – $595
Warranty:5 years/unlimited kilometres
Warranty Customer Assistance:1 year roadside
Country of Origin:South Korea
Service Intervals:12 months/15,000km
Engine:2.0-litre turbocharged common-rail direct injection four-cylinder diesel:

136kW @ 4,000rpm, 400Nm @ 1,750-2,750rpm

Transmission:8-speed automatic
Drivetrain:All-wheel drive
Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg):79.7
0-100km/h (seconds):N/a
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km)Claimed: 6.4/Tested: 8.2
Fuel Capacity (L):62
RON Rating:Diesel
Body:5-door SUV, 5-seats
Safety:5-star ANCAP, 6 airbags, ABS, BA, EBD, ESC, Downhill Brake Control, Hill-start Assist Control, Rear Park Assist System, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Emergency Stop Signal, Roll-over Sensor, rear-view camera, ISOFIX

Safety Pack adds: Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Driver Attention Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, Smart Cruise Control

Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:4,480/1,850/1,660/2,670
Boot Space (min/max) (L):488/1,478
Turning Circle Between Kerbs:11.0
Ground Clearance:172
Approach Angle:17.9
Departure Angle:24.5
Breakover Angle:19.5
Kerb Weight (kg):1,707
Towing Capacity (kg):Braked: 1,600/Unbraked: 750
Entertainment:8.0-inch colour touchscreen, satellite navigation, AM/FM/DAB+, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, USB, AUX, iPod

8-speaker Infinity premium audio system

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