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March 9, 2023

Review: 2023 Hyundai Tucson 2.0 GLS

Expectations are a powerful thing. It has this way of re-wiring your brain, and could be enough to swing an opinion on a car from being awesome to just being meh. With its stunning looks and sheer number of international accolades, expectations have been running high on the all-new Tucson, Hyundai’s entry in the ultra-competitive compact SUV segment. Sadly, it is one that does not live up to all the hype.

Things do start out on the right foot for the Tucson. Judging it to be beautiful is something left to the eye of the beholder, but at least everyone will agree that its aesthetics are eye-jolting. Even in this plainest shade of White Cream, it just stands out. Hyundai says the design was done almost exclusively on a digital medium, and based on the number of interconnected angles akin to being a PlayStation 1 racing game, that could be the case. They’ve done some clever work like incorporating the rear logo into the tailgate glass and hiding the rear wiper under the spoiler. Personally, the most memorable aspect here is the lighting. The same Parametric Hidden lights are used, but go a step further than its execution on the Creta. Not only have the DRLs migrated to an area in the grille, but so have the indicators. Only the headlights (including static cornering lamps) remain separated. Whether you’re a fan of this design or not, kudos goes to Hyundai for using lighting as a way to create a distinctive visual signature.

Despite the Tucson’s wild-looking exterior, thankfully, Hyundai has played it safe inside. It feels disjointed, but at least it still looks nice. Designers say they were inspired by a waterfall, and that is obvious even at first glance. The edges of the dashboard have a sweeping curve that meet and go down the center console like, you guessed it, a waterfall. Along the way, they’ve also decided to wash away a lot of the visual clutter, but by doing so affected the overall usability. For example, there’s the infotainment system. At eight inches in size, it’s great on the spec sheet, but in real life, the thick black bezel surrounding it becomes a constant reminder that the local unit could have gone bigger. Moreover, the only two physical controls—Power/Volume and Tune/File are operated by two scroll wheels which are frustrating to use.

And then, there’s the climate control system. Design-wise, it’s already problematic because it doesn’t visually align with the infotainment screen. Furthermore, by sticking to touch-sensitive controls, good luck operating them by feel. Thankfully, the temperature is controlled by toggle switches—something they should have used on the infotainment system—but everything else becomes a hit-or-miss affair. Trying jabbing Auto, and you might end up turning the whole AC off. Want to engage Recirculate? You might switch on the Rear Defroster instead. It’s a shame really, because once you get past the interface, there’s actually a neat “Defuse” mode here. Similar to how Honda’s done it with the HR-V (only better), it re-directs air around the cabin using small round holes (as opposed to the traditional air vents) to keep the cabin cool without freezing your hands or face in the process.

Another unique thing on the Tucson is its dials. Instead of being placed in a recessed binnacle, here, it’s a free-standing 10-inch screen. The on-screen graphics are on point and, most important of all, don’t wash out in direct sunlight. It is the best executed digital gauge cluster bar none, and one that every other carmaker should learn to emulate.

The dashboard’s waterfall design means it will take some getting used to the Tucson’s driving position. At 170 centimeters tall, seeing the far edge of the hood is already challenging, so imagine the experience of shorter drivers. The fact that the hood line is flat and the A-pillars set at an aggressive angle does not help matters. The seats themselves are supportive and comfortable enough even for long stints behind the wheel. However, they do lack any sort of electronic adjustment, and that’s a crime for its price range nowadays. Passenger space, whether at the front or back, gets five stars thanks to plenty of room. The rear seats too offer adjustable recline, but weirdly enough, lacks a three-point seatbelt for the middle occupant. In terms of cargo, the Tucson has one of the largest and most usable holds in the compact SUV class, growing to more than 2,000 liters with the rear seats folded.

The Tucson is at its weakest when it comes to its on-road dynamics. All told, there is nothing wrong with it, but there is also nothing great about it either. It just exists, and given just how head-turning it looks, it’s heartbreaking. Task it to go from Point A to Point B, and it will do so with zero fuss. However, ask anything more of it, and it’ll stare right back at you saying, “me don’t do that.” Just when you think your compact SUVs can’t get more mediocre, Hyundai has come up with this.

For the Philippine market, there are two engine choices available, and for the entry-level variant, it’s the 2.0-liter SmartStream G gasoline engine. Its Mazda aping naming convention aside, it doesn’t offer anything remotely interesting in terms of tech—no turbocharger, direct injection, nor electrification. Instead, it’s a 4-cylinder MPI (aka EFI) with enhancements done for the sake of fuel efficiency; fuel efficiency that’s somehow forgotten to leap from the spec sheet to the rear world. In the best-case scenario—light traffic, cool weather—the Tucson does just 10.75 km/L. During every day commutes though, it drops to 7.9 km/L—it’s utterly dreadful. Mind you, two all-wheel drive compact SUVs do the same sort of figures: the Subaru Forester 2.0i-S (7.8 km/L), and even the 250-horsepower Mazda CX-5 Turbo (7.7 km/L).

Now, if the Tucson’s engine isn’t up to snuff when it comes to efficiency, the thinking is that it should offer some credible performance, right? Again, no. The on-paper performance figures—156 horsepower and 192 Nm—are already run-of-the-mill, but it feels subjectively more underpowered. Cruising on the expressways is fine (the NVH is a high point), but in-gear acceleration is almost nonexistent. The 6-speed automatic always has to go down a gear (or two) just to get some decent pace going. There are selectable Drive Modes too, but unless you want to be viral for being on the overtaking lane at 80 km/h, for the love of the driving gods, stick to Normal mode.

Meanwhile, its chassis are, in simplest terms, enough. Driven sedately, and it’ll flow along happily enough. This is its comfort zone. Push it harder, and you’ll find that there’s less precision in here. Drive it through raised corrugated highway strips, and you’ll find that the steering with momentarily snap back as if you’re going to lose the rear-end. Thankfully, it won’t, but it might catch some drivers by surprise. The small diameter steering wheel and quick on-center response also puts on an impression that it’s a spry thing, but it’s not.

Worse still is that for P 1.57-million, it doesn’t get any sort of advanced safety system found in the more affordable Creta and Stargazer. Aside from the usual gamut of airbags, ABS, stability control, it only boasts of tire pressure monitors and a rear parking camera (a particularly low-res at that). Want forward collision warning? Sorry. Want blind spot indicators? What’s that? Clearly, this is a product whose feature set is dictated first and foremost by bean counters rather than marketers or product planners.

If the world only had Hyundais, the all-new Tucson would be great. In terms of generational improvement, this fourth-generation model (NX4) is leagues better than its predecessor (TL) be it on design, dynamics, or practicality. Unfortunately for the Tucson, it isn’t alone. It’s doing battle with a number of equally good competitors, and each one carrying its own unique set of strengths. Despite its refreshing looks and spacious interior, it’s let down by its less than stellar drive and lack of safety equipment. As seen and experienced in the Creta and Stargazer, Hyundai could certainly package a winner. Sadly, expectations have worked against the Tucson’s case, and for that, this isn’t one of Hyundai’s brightest moments.

2023 Hyundai Tucson 2.0 GLS

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Bottom Line
Pros Unique looks, spacious interior.
Cons Thirsty, not exciting to drive.
TL;DR A big improvement over its predecessor, but no where near the top of the compact SUV segment.
Year Introduced 2022
Warranty 5 years / 200,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Compact SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline-4
BHP @ rpm 156 @ 6,200
Nm @ rpm 192 @ 4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~91
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 7.99 km/L at 18 km/h,
10.75 km/L at 30 km/h
(fueled with Petron XCS)
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,630
Width (mm) 1,865
Height (mm) 1,665
Wheelbase (mm) 2,755
Curb Weight (kg) 1,571
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Ventilated Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Nexen Roadian GTX 235/60 R 18 H M+S (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 2, 2-pt Lap Belt x 1
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Hill Descent Control
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, w/ Cornering Lamps
Fog Lamps Yes, Rear (LED)
Light Operation Auto On/Off
Wiper Operation Variable Intermittent
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-Way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-Way
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold, w/ Armrest
3rd Row None
Sunroof None
Multi-Information Display Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, Heated, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-Dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. I guess over the course of your review criticizing the lack of active safety features that exist on its (Japanese) competitors, you forgot the fact that those competitors on average cost ₱500,000.00 more than the Tucson GLS gasoline variant.

    I guess the proper comparison would be the CX-5 2.0 Pro (no ADAS too @ 1.9M, the gasoline CR-V which is significantly barer and no ADAS too @ almost 1.8M. Keep in mind any non-Chinese competitors in its category with all the safety features you mentioned already cost north of 2 million pesos!

    So in my opinion, this Tucson is already a steal at its 1.5 million pricepoint

    1. No I did not forget. Begs the question who's the target market of the Tucson at P 1.57M? A big, bare bones compact SUV when this market is all about tech? Remember, at this price bracket, it becomes an emotional choice and people are willing to splurge (this isn't a small SUV which is a price sensitive segment). It doesn't make sense too given the Creta and Stargazer could have the ADAS features.

      The CX-5 Pro has been discontinued in favor of the P 1.890M CX-5 Sport which has blind spot indicators and rear cross traffic alert. 360-degree camera too so that argument is moot. The CX-5 Pro proves that a base model with not much features won't sell (it also doesn't do much for branding) hence Mazda's decision to axe it.

      The Creta is okay at P 1.3M. The Tucson diesel? Maybe. I haven't driven it. The Tucson gas? Great enough foundations, fouled up by not-so-great execution.

    2. Agree. This is the lowest priced non-Chinese car in its category.

    3. This isn't a segment that's fully dictated by price, take note. Finance people would believe so, but marketers won't. It doesn't do anything to push the Hyundai brand.

    4. I guess it’s for the buyer who wants the refinement and the space of a compact SUV (so the Creta, HR-V, Corolla Cross doesn’t cut it) while also not having the funds to shell out 2+ million pesos for a car (the latter 2 subcompacts I mentioned top out at around 300K pesos more than this Tucson, mind you). Sacrifices must be made in the spec sheet to meet this pricepoint - Hyundai could easily introduce a new TOTL variant with Hyundai Smart Sense and a hybrid powertrain at around 2.3M but that price bracket is already well covered don’t you think?

      So having this particular model waaaaaay down here covers the part of the segment where people want crossover SUV space but cannot commit to a Chinese car as of now, which I think is smart imo

    5. Might be. But in marketing, they say that price is the weakest differentiator.

      I would have at least put in blind spot indicators and rear-cross traffic alert, if SmartSense is too expensive (though off-hand, the cost is P 50K per Hyundai estimates), or at the very least put in 3-pt seatbelts in all positions for the same price.

    6. And even if we discount the lack of safety features here...the engine just doesn't cut it. The CR-V's 2.0-liter / CVT combo drove better.

    7. Well….. it’s a Honda 😉 kidding aside, we should be glad Hyundai didn’t bring their GDi turbo engines here, they reportedly haven’t been exactly… stellar in terms of reliability

    8. It seems like a pretty solid choice for people who's not shopping for cars like smartphones. We cannot discount its simplicity. No GDI turbo that wears out the engine quicker. No CVT that cannot be repaired. No extra sensors that fail overtime. Its a back to basics semi complete package that has proven technology that lasts.

  2. Sir Uly, among word reviews of vehicles, yours is the most brutally honest (hope you don't mind my observation Sir).
    That's why when you like the vehicles (ex. Geely Coolray and GAC GS4) or otherwise (ex. Ford Territory and Changan CS75), I think we really have to believe you.

    1. I am to please (or displease). And based on the amount of anonymous comments here, seems Hyundai peeps are trying to chime in hahaha.

    2. Hey I’m not from Hyundai! I’m from the industry but not from Hyundai haha. Although I’m flattered you’d think I’m shilling for that brand - was just trying to remind you about the pricepoint where it was in.

    3. Hahaha. Yeah. Pricing is always taken into consideration when I review vehicles. And of course, it also takes into account its competition as well. Again, taken in isolation, the Tucson is great...a big upgrade from the previous generation. But against its competition, it doesn't push the envelope in any way...well...maybe except design.

  3. Its fair prjce for its price , perforated sets, lots of space/leg room, wireless carplay/android auto, time tested engine and 6 airbags

  4. I dont understand this, barebones at 1.57m. This car's competitors are almost complete but at 2m+, below 1.57m are the chinese ones cs55 territory etc all complete with adas, then you have veloz and br-v with adas too (different segment but i know), then above this but below 2m you have hr-v and corolla cross with adas too. Feels weird, why not just offer a complete variant at 2m+.

    1. Adas and all that nonsense are for noobs. Git gud so you can save hundred thousands of pesos.

    2. Just eat your vegetables old man and save hundred thousands of pesos from healthcare. All those diseases and nonsense are for noobs.

      You do realize how stupid you sound like? If you become a senator you will probably cry trying to shut down every research and technology facility in the country, and just say “its to save money”.

    3. ^
      Comeback fail. The analogy he tried to implement doesn't even make sense and is in no way similar to ADAS.

    4. Hey, easy guys. To each their own. If you dont want adas just say you prefer one without adas, you dont have to say anything like noobs etc, it only makes you sound salty and kinda stupid.

      ^ It is, i dont like the agrresive remark but it is, but if you dont get it I cant spell it for you

    5. Comeback fail my ass, mag eenglish tapos di pala nakaka intindi

  5. Personally, I would rather save 400k rather than having the ADAS which is more of a hassle constantly beeping in the city where motorcycles weave in and out of your space. Been driving for decades without it and don't see any need except for new drivers.

    1. Yeah, look at pricy 1.388 creta gls with adas but with just 2 airbags. Personally i prefer 6 airbags for annoying adas.

    2. ADAS is useless in countries like ours where there are numerous undisciplined drivers. Reviewers need to stop pushing ADAS, its never gonna happen here.

    3. China cars hit and miss adas here are more of liability to the driver than helpfull

    4. A properly tuned ADAS actually works. If you've tried the systems from Subaru, Honda, Mazda they work well without being annoying. Plus, and I would like to reiterate this again: THEY ARE NOT EXPENSIVE TO ADD TO A VEHICLE. That's why even the likes of the Avanza/Veloz can equip them now. Hyundai just lost the plot with the Tucson (at least the local spec). We have to admit that.

    5. Sure its not expensive but manufacturers are notorious for jacking up the price for units that are equipped with these. I remember Subaru adding like 300k to 400k for their eyesight equipped XVs.

    6. Actually that went with their refresh. When they first equipped the Subaru XV with EyeSight the increase pesos:

      Of course, they're now offering a P 250K discount on them. increase the SRP, but offer a P 250K discount. Net effect? Same or close to same price as before.

    7. As you said base CX-5 and Forester with ADAS costs 2M++ while base Tucson cost 1.57M, is that worth the 400k premium? Even the base CRV costs 1.76M. Knowing Hyundai, they give generous discounts so the price difference doesn't warrant that high of a premium except for fanboys.

    8. CX-5 with ADAS is P 1.890M. Forester with ADAS is P 1.818M (net of discount)...price difference with this Tucson is around P 250K. For that price, you get more features and not just ADAS.

      CX-5 gets you: Bose sound system, powered seats w/ memory, 360-degree camera, 3-pt rear seat belt for all.

      Forester gets you: AWD, powered seats, 360-degree camera, 3-pt rear seat belt for all.

      Overall, I'd say, yes. I'd pay more for a more complete package.

    9. And can we also talk about the Tucson's dynamics? Hahaha.

    10. I think this is the same guy who replied in my comment. Funny, should have read his replies on this first. I guess he cant reply now because all his claims were false and got corrected Reminds me of the "selling very well" guy

    11. Dunno why you laugh at Tucson's dynamics when its consistent top 5 compact SUV from from respectable publications worldwide. Its admittedly inferior to the CX-5 but its its well above the Subaru. CX-5 drives well but you have a far more cramped interior which is the reason why people buy SUVs

    12. ^Stop being such a paranoid bruh. Just because people have the same opinions, that ADAS is overrated and it sucks, doesn't mean everyone here is one person.

    13. *talking to the paranoid R2D2 guy

    14. Exactly my point. Expectations are so high for the Tucson that driving it felt so underwhelming (at least for the 2.0 gas). Maybe the diesel would be better, I don't know.

    15. Cant blame me since you both say the same stupid things and cant make a simple account to identify yourselves. adas is overrated and it sucks, haha, you probably didnt read sir ulys replies, or you did but cant accept you were wrong so you just deleted it in your brain. Haha. You also think bill gates makes 5g to give us cancer probably

    16. To anon 10:05 guy:- The various specs/engine option and features offered elsewhere versus this is vastly different hence the vastly different experience of reviewers versus the philippines and Uly's review. It's like getting the same car but bare bones, the difference will be vastly different. In some markets their base model is a 2.5L, in some markets its the 1.6L Turbo.

    17. Well, thats all. Dont wanna get drag like boy interior and his troll or kuchi and whoever his insulting is. like i said, to each their own, have fun in your car without adas.

    18. ^
      Spoken like a true noob

    19. @Uly, i don't get the strategy of Motor Image Philippines. They price it high then offer discounts at 250k+ discounts. why not just price it lower and not offer discounts or nominal amounts. People cross shopping at just price points don't look at them since they price themselves out. Take the XV its at 1.9M, people would look elsewhere and consider other compact cross over at the Php1.5-1.7M level. which the XV should be at.

    20. I don't get it too, but that's how they do it.

    21. wheres the turbo, marketing, its enticing when something is on sale or on a huge discount, especially if orig price is expensive. in peoples head they are getting something worth the price of x at price y

    22. Amusing, didnt know there would be someone defending this barebones hyundai this hard HAHAHHA ginamit pa reviews worldwide as if nman hindi obvious na ibang iba yung specs. And theres a guy who hates adas, napahiya to sa mga kakilala niya walang adas sasakyan niya so tawag niya ngayon sa mga may sasakywan with adas are fanboys HAHAHA

    23. Also can't believe someone would call this barebones. 4 to 5 years ago this years ago, the features here would have been called top of the line. Fully leathered, 6 airbags, LED lights, and has good infotainment, kulang na lang electic seats and sunroof. Pag walang ADAS barebones na pala ngayon? Its not even that useful in local situations. Di ka mamamatay pag walang ADAS.

    24. Eh kaya naman pala ang baba ng standards, feeling 2018 parin HAHAHA.
      “Di ka mamatay pag walang adas” what a moronic statement. Hindi lang ikaw ang tao sa kalsada at hindi lang ikaw ang pinoprotektahan ng adas. Auto emergency braking pa lang napakahalaga na kapag biglang may sumulpot na sasakyan sa harap mo, pero hindi syempre hindi mo naisip yun, nasa 2018 pa utak mo eh HAHAHA

    25. ADAS more of an annoyance in city driving and not really helpful in clogged city streets. Maybe its helpful in provincial roads. I wouldn't pay a dime for it.

    26. @anon 2:51 PM, pakitaan mo nga ako ng statistics dito sa pinas, kung may nagawa na ba yang adas mo at ilan na naligtas. People have been driving fine for decades here without adas. Its just an excuse to jack up prices. Gumagawa lang ng pakulo for the sake of "innovation". Yung mga noob naman biling bili kung ano itapon sa kanila ng marketing dept ng manufacturers.

    27. You do realize lately lang nag start mga may adas na sasakyan sa pinas diba, tapos kadalasan totl pa. People have been driving for decades pero araw araw may aksidente? HAHAHA Katulad ka lang nung adas for noobs and git gud yourself HAHAHA. Dont forget your tinfoil hat when you go out. Also wear a mask, covid is real, and vaccines work. Kawawa naman mga anak mo lalaking uto uto.

    28. its always amusing to meet people like you. They always feel like thay are someone very special that the world is conspiring against them. Safety systems as fake innovations? To jack up the price? HAHAHA stay stupid dude so I can laugh at you

    29. Dont wear seatbelts too and stop using your headlights and signals, they are just “innovations” na pakulo ng manufacturers to jack up the price. Yung mga noob naman bili ng bili kung ano itapon sa kanila ng marketing departments ng manufacturers. HAHAHAHAHA

    30. Grabe sunod sunod ang reply. Errr... you seem very passionate about adas. You sure jumped to a lot of conclusions that's very much unrelated. Umabot ka pa sa covid and vaccines ah. Have you forgotten to taken your medications today perhaps?

      Going back to the topic of adas, its been here a couple of years already. Yet no one seems to be giving testaments that it saved their lives.

  6. The Chinese have set the standard for what we expect to be included in cars nowadays. It's no wonder they're selling well.

    1. China set those standard??? Hmmnn...its long been a standard in europe, US, korea, japan, the chinese just copy it and fortunately they didnot copy it well. Subaru eyesight and honda sensing is the best, at least here in ph.

    2. Chinese cars made it affordable for us.

  7. Great review as usual.

  8. This or the new TOTL 2024 Kia Seltos?


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