Hyundai Tucson SUV: Chronicling the Changes

Revised: October 16, 2023

The Hyundai Tucson is a compact, two-row sport utility vehicle with room for five. Launched in 2005, the Tucson has undergone several updates since with the most recent model rolled out in 2022. Besides the conventional gas model, this vehicle offers standard and plug-in hybrid options, a rarity for this segment. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional.

Hyundai logo

Chronicling the Changes

2024 – A new standard engine for the N Line charts the changes. Otherwise, equipment shuffling is found elsewhere.

2023 – Light changes accompany the 2023 Tucson, covering grade and package shuffling.

2022 – Hyundai rolls out the fourth-generation Tucson. An overhauled exterior, refined interior, and hybrid choices (conventional and plug-in) accompany this model. Other features of note include a digital instrument panel and a spacious back seat. Available in five grades including new N Line and XRT models. The gas models come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with 8-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid features a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Fourth-Generation Hyundai Tucson

The fourth-generation Hyundai Tucson
The fourth-generation Hyundai Tucson

2021 – Just as with the previous model year, the 2021 Tucson is essentially unchanged.

2020 – The 2020 Tucson carries forward with minimal changes.

2019 – Hyundai refreshes in the Tucson’s interior and exterior. The previously available turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is gone. Other changes include feature upgrades such as now-standard collision avoidance and lane keeping assist.

2018 — Grade shuffling dominates this model year as the Eco model goes away while the SEL and SEL Plus arrive. Exclusive to the Sport grade is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

2017 — Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration come to the Tucson’s top grades. The remaining updates cover technology and interior quality improvements.

2016 — Hyundai launches the third-generation Tucson. The new model advances the brand’s latest design language for a model that is slightly longer and wider than before. The size upgrade yields a more comfortable interior with a roomier cargo section. The base SE trim comes with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The remaining grades – Eco, Sport, and Limited – come with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that works with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Third-Generation Hyundai Tucson

The third-generation Hyundai Tucson
The third-generation Hyundai Tucson

2015 — The Tucson carries over for another year with package option changes.

2014 — Hyundai drops the base GL grade. An SE grade now slots between the GLS and Limited. The base 2.0-liter engine continues and now works with all-wheel drive. LED lights and a 4.3-inch screen are standard; an available 7-inch touchscreen display includes navigation.

2013 — Trim enhancements including standard heated seats on the GLS grade highlight the changes this year.

2012 — Tweaks to the powertrain yield slightly improved fuel economy. A suspension system refresher yields a smoother ride.

2011 — Hyundai adds a GL trim with an accompanying 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as the base model. This front-wheel-drive-only model comes with a standard five-speed manual gearbox or an available six-speed automatic transmission.

2010 — An all-new second-generation Tucson launches. This model comes in SLS and Limited grades and features a cleaner or more sophisticated look inside and out. Hyundai scraps the previous powertrain offerings for a sole 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.

Second-Generation Hyundai Tucson

The second-generation Hyundai Tucson
The second-generation Hyundai Tucson

2009 — An upgraded Kenwood audio package rolls out and includes navigation. A revised grille, new wheels, and trim shuffling round out the changes.

2008 — Active front headrests, an auxiliary audio input, and satellite radio come to all grades. The range-topping Limited trim gains a standard six-CD changer.

2007 — Upgraded audio equipment and trip computers highlight the Tucson’s changes for this year. Applicable to all but the base model.

2006 — The lone change for the Tucson’s model year has the Limited grade replacing the LX model. Nearly all the features of the LX carry over to the new name.

2005 — Hyundai enters the fast-growing compact crossover utility vehicle market with the Tucson. This model slots beneath the Santa Fe and rides on the Elantra’s platform. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard and powers the base GL grade. The GLS and LX grades come with a 2.7-liter V6 engine. Well-equipped and with a strong warranty, the all-new Tucson makes a favorable splash with industry critics and consumers alike.

First-Generation Hyundai Tucson

The first-generation Hyundai Tucson
The first-generation Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai Tucson Considerations

We’ve seen the Hyundai Tucson evolve into a solid competitor in its segment. That’s a requirement as each of its competitors has done the same. Offering two hybrid choices should also help bring in the customers.

When comparing the Tucson, we recommend looking at the broad spectrum of two-row utility vehicles that compete in this segment. These include the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, and Jeep Compass. The Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, Mazda CX-50, and Honda CR-V should also be considered. Rounding out the segment are models such as the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Subaru Forester.

See AlsoThe Hyundai Tucson Now Offers Two Hybrid Choices

First two photos are copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

By U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration –, Public Domain, Wikimedia

By M 93 – Self-photographed, Attribution, Wikimedia

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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