Hyundai completely revamped the Tucson for the 2022 model year and it carries into 2023 with those changes. The 2023 Tucson continues as one of our favorite options in the small crossover-SUV segment. It’s bold styling, well-done interior, and versatile appeal are all high points.
The segment the Hyundai Tucson resides in has some fierce competition. Notable rivals include the Honda CR-V and the Mazda CX-5, both also on our favorites list. It’s worth noting that the Tucson is available as a standard gasoline, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid. Only the rival Toyota RAV4 can also make that claim right now. This may change the game for some buyers.
We drove the standard gasoline 2023 Hyundai Tucson with its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 187 horsepower. That goes to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is smooth with the shifts and easy to ignore thanks to its unobtrusive nature. The hybrid and PHEV models use a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that couples with the electric propulsion setup. The gasoline model can be front-wheel or all-wheel drive while the hybrids are both all-wheel drive by default.
On the outside, the new Tucson has the now-signature Hyundai look that involves angular lines making arrowheads on the bodywork. This creates forward movement and is much more jazzy than many of the more plain “blend in” designs we see in this segment. Standing out is sometimes a good thing, especially as competition pushes automakers into the “as contemporary as plainly possible” ethos in order to maximize perceived consumer appeal. Standing out makes the Tucson a far more eye-catching and interesting option.
Inside, the 2023 Tucson has solid quality in materials choice. Nothing looks or feels cheap, even if it probably is, and everything looks well-chosen. Seating is comfortable in both front and back with plenty of legroom, headroom, and shoulder room throughout. Three across in the back is shoulder-to-shoulder, but that’s true of every vehicle in this segment. Cargo space is equally spacious and useful, thanks to the generally square-backed design of the new Tucson.
Drive quality in the Hyundai Tucson has always been hit-and-miss. In this one, it’s a mix of both. The engine isn’t in any kind of hurry to get places or match highway speeds, but it doesn’t hesitate or feel sluggish. It’s just not that quick. But it gets the job done and doesn’t lose confidence with a lot of noise or complaint while doing so. For most drivers, that’s all that matters.
Fuel economy is also pretty good, but not great. The gasoline-only model we drove is rated at 33 mpg on the highway and we saw 31.7 as our average. Not bad considering we’re at high altitude (over 6,000 ft) and driving on a freeway loop. Most should get somewhere near the rated EPA estimates for the Tucson. The hybrid and PHEV models fare better around town, but not on the highway.
Probably our biggest sticking point with the 2023 Hyundai Tucson is its infotainment and touchscreen-style controls for everything. It’s nice to have hard controls for things like climate and the radio, but when they’re done in this touchscreen-like way that Hyundai is doing it, they aren’t always responsive and you have to make sure you’re precisely hitting them to make a change. That’s distracting.
We otherwise think the 2023 Hyundai Tucson is a solid choice in the small SUV segment. Especially with its standout looks and styling. On the road, it has the appearance of a luxury car thanks to that. Well done, Hyundai.