The Hyundai Tucson is a compact SUV that’s known for its reliability, fuel efficiency, user-friendly features, and spacious interiors. The downside is that this model has a sharp depreciation rate of 43%, which means that from a selling price of around $30,600, the Tucson’s resale value goes down to $17,352 after five years, according to CarEdge.com.
Is the Hyundai Tucson Reliable?
The Hyundai Tucson is a reliable SUV. In fact, RepairPal.com gives it an above-average reliability score of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking the Tucson fifth in a lineup of 26 compact SUVs. Not only is it known for its reliability in the US, it has also won awards for reliability in the United Kingdom. JD Power, the UK-based marketing research firm, awarded the 2018 Hyundai Tucson a Quality Award. This award was given due to the fact that there were only a few problems reported by owners in their first 100 days of ownership.
The Tucson is also relatively affordable to maintain, with an average annual repair cost of just $426. Compare that figure to the average annual repair cost of other compact SUVs ($521) and other vehicle models ($652). In terms of repairs, you can expect to bring your Tucson to a shop for unscheduled fixes 0.3 times per year, which is quite average for its class. The probability of having major repairs on a Tucson is only 10%, which is lower than the average for other compact SUVs (11%) and other vehicle models in general (12%).
As for longevity, the Hyundai Tucson can last approximately 200,000 miles, which translates to about 15 years. However, some owners of the 2008 and 2009 model years have reported that their Tucsons have already gone over 200,000 miles. With proper care and maintenance, you can expect a Tucson to last that long and possibly even longer.
Top Hyundai Tucson Problems
Despite being a very reliable vehicle, there are a few noteworthy issues with the Hyundai Tucson. Some model years have worse problems than the others combined. Below are some of the most common Hyundai Tucson problems:
Front Collision Avoidance System Issues
The latest Hyundai Tucson year models are equipped with a collision avoidance system, which is a safety feature that prevents or decreases the severity of a collision. Some owners of the 2019 Hyundai Tucson have problems with this system.
According to one owner, even if they’ve set the system to early warning, the vehicle reacts too late to a potential collision. Some owners have also said that they were told to expect two warnings (initial and secondary) before the vehicle takes over and applies the brakes to prevent accidents. But in some cases, the drivers ended up applying the brakes themselves because the warnings came too late. In a few cases, the vehicle just abruptly stopped without giving any of the two warnings.
As a response to these complaints from 2019 model year owners, Hyundai released a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) in May 2019. TSB #19-BE-009H contains troubleshooting information for technicians so that they can service the blindspot collision warning (BCW/BSD) module. This document covers the 2016-2019 Tucson model years, as well as other Hyundai models like the Santa Fe and Sonata.
Difficulty accelerating is a major 2017 Hyundai Tucson problem, but it’s also found in the 2016 and 2018 model years. In fact, according to CarComplaints.com, this is the worst 2016 Hyundai Tucson problem, which helped earn its “Clunker” title on the website. On average, affected owners would encounter this problem anywhere between 7,000 and 13,000 miles.
Some owners have reported that their vehicles would refuse to accelerate from a dead stop. According to a few affected owners, their SUVs were unresponsive even if they stepped on the gas pedal. Some even say that it takes around three to four seconds before the vehicle starts to rev up. Some owners have observed that their SUV would be stuck at around 2,000 RPMs and would not move any higher during the delay.
To address the issue, Hyundai issued recall #149 (NHTSA Campaign #16V628000) for certain 2016 model year units on August 30, 2016. This recall affected 41,000 vehicles in all. Hyundai also released a TSB on October 13, 2020, for a similar issue. TSB #20-AT-025H provides repair instructions to update the transmission control unit (TCU) in affected vehicles that show hesitation at acceleration, specifically from a rolling stop condition. This TSB covers 2016-2018 Tucson (TL) units equipped with a 2.0L engine.
Shifting and Transmission Issues
Another major 2016 Hyundai Tucson problem (along with the 2011 model year) is a faulty transmission. According to some owners of the 2016 model, their vehicles would hesitate when turning and would suddenly lurch forward. A few owners heard unusual grinding noises when accelerating. Also, the transmission seemed to be unresponsive in some cases. For 2011 model year owners, the issue was pretty much the same, but their transmission had a habit of kicking out of gear.
Hyundai released quite a few TSBs and other documents related to these transmission issues. For example, TSB #5NP-F6W6P-05, which was released in April 2018, contained diagnostic procedures to correct an error in 2016 Tucson units which prevented them from shifting out of Park. This TSB covered 2010-2016 Tucson model years as well as other Hyundai vehicles.
A/C Blowing Warm Air
Though not as major as transmission and acceleration issues, A/C problems with some 2016 Hyundai Tucson units are quite expensive to repair. Affected owners have reported that their A/C units were intermittently blowing hot air. While some were told to replace their thermistor, a few replaced their actuators in hope that this would fix the issue. On average, owners noticed this issue at 11,050 miles, and it cost them approximately $580 to fix.
Shakes Excessively at Idle
Some owners of the 2015 Hyundai Tucson have been having problems with idling. Many of them noticed that their vehicles shuddered violently while idling.
Owners noticed the problem at an average of 500 miles, and some even reported observing the problem as soon as they drove their SUV for the first time. Many of the affected owners didn’t know how to fix the issue. But one owner said that having a concentrated fuel system cleaning at every oil change fixed the problem for them. As of writing, Hyundai has not issued a TSB regarding this specific issue.
Engine failure is one of the most significant 2012 and 2013 Hyundai Tucson problems. Affected owners have reported that their vehicles would shut down all of a sudden for no apparent reason. A few owners have said that before their SUV stopped working, they noticed it made loud knocking sounds and the check engine light went on. For some, there were no indications of a malfunction at all.
After having the vehicle checked by a mechanic, many of the affected drivers were surprised to find out that the engine needed to be replaced, a repair which cost them at least $4,000. Owners would experience this issue at 89,000-90,000 miles on average. Some drivers were told by their mechanics that the issue was with their rod bearings.
TSB #21-EM-004H was released on March 30, 2021, which provides service procedures for engine connecting rod bearing clearance testing. This document has yet to be made available online. Meanwhile, Hyundai has released TSBs to address other engine-related issues, like the TSB 19-AT-015H (Automatic Transaxle Solenoid repair procedure).
Poor Gas Mileage
Some owners of 2011 Tucsons have reported that their vehicles had lower-than-expected fuel mileage. The owners were comparing their actual fuel mileage to those advertised on Hyundai ads. According to some owners, they tried contacting Hyundai to seek help. They were told that while 2012 and 2013 model year owners were eligible for gift cards for this problem in their vehicles, 2011 model year owners weren’t eligible for the same perk.
Hyundai released a few TSBs to address fuel system issues in 2011 Tucson units. TSB #20-01-012H was released in March 2020 to help dealers inspect and install auxiliary charcoal canister kits on affected Tucson models. TSB # 13-FL-003 was issued in May 2013 to help technicians inspect and fix issues with the fuel level senders in Tucson, Genesis Coupe, and Sonata units. So far, there are no specific fixes for the poor gas mileage reported by 2011 Tucson owners.
Overall, the Hyundai Tucson is a very reliable compact SUV. As long as you avoid the model years with really serious problems, purchasing this model comes with little risk. Before purchasing a used Tucson, you should do a bit of research on the model year you plan on buying. Also, make sure to clear everything up with the seller before you seal the deal.