Best & Worst Hyundai Tucson Years

We'll help you pick the right Hyundai Tucson model year. We've spent countless hours categorizing each Hyundai Tucson model so you don't have to.

Make more informative purchasing decisions. Our ultimate guide will assist you in choosing the best Hyundai Tucson model year for yourself.

In this article, we will examine the highs and lows of Hyundai Tucson’s performance over the years, spotlighting its best and worst model years.

Leveraging extensive research and a real consumer data, we offer a comprehensive guide to this popular compact SUV’s historical performance.

The Tucson is the best-selling Hyundai SUV model, with more than 7 million units sold globally since it launched in 2004. We’ll delve deep into each generation, revealing both outstanding features and potential pitfalls, making this an essential read for prospective Tucson buyers.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the different Hyundai Tucson generations.

Related:Best & Worst Hyundai Elantra Years

Table of ContentsShow

Hyundai Tucson Generations

Introduced in 2005, the Hyundai Tucson has seen four generations, each with unique designs, features, and performance traits.

The following table demonstrates all Hyundai Tucson generations from 2005 to the present:

1st generation (JM)2005-2009
2nd generation (LM)2010-2015
3rd generation (TL)2016-2021
4th generation (NX4)2022-Present

This generational breakdown provides a clear overview and will help potential buyers make informed decisions, considering the considerable changes that have occurred between generations.

Hyundai Tucson Best, Neutral and Worst Years

In our classification of the top and bottom model years, we examine various factors and trustworthy sources, such as:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety rating
  • Consumer Reports reliability score
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction score
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

These components aid us in developing a thorough comprehension of each model year.

And here’s a graph that shows the combined ratings from these sources.

Hyundai Tuscon Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

The following table categorizes each generation into best, neutral, and worst years:

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation (JM)2005
2nd generation (LM)2010
3rd generation (TL)20202018
4th generation (NX4)2023N/A2022

“Neutral Years” describes model years that neither excel nor lag in the mentioned parameters. They perform moderately in all areas and provide a balanced experience.

Factors such as NHTSA recalls negatively impact our scores, lowering the car’s reliability and, therefore, its rating. The greater the number of complaints and recalls, the lower the car’s reliability is.

With the parameters set, let’s analyze the specifications of the best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for Hyundai Tucson 1st Generation (2005-2009)

Hyundai Tuscon 1st generation 2005 model
The 2005 Hyundai Tuscon

The Hyundai Tucson was launched in 2005, marking a strong entry for Hyundai into the compact SUV market. Offering impressive features at an affordable price point, it aimed to deliver great value to customers.

The Best Years: 2005, 2006

The 2005 and 2006 models stood out for their reliability, affordability, and impressive feature sets. Two engine options were available: a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine and a 2.7L V6. Both engines were mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.

Innovative for its time, the Tucson offered Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which was a significant safety feature that helps drivers maintain control on slippery roads or during rapid steering maneuvers. Six airbags, including side-curtain airbags, were standard, providing additional safety for occupants.

The Neutral Years: 2007, 2008

The 2007 and 2008 models didn’t bring many significant upgrades but maintained the reliability and performance standards set by their predecessors. These models continued to provide value with their 2.0L four-cylinder and optional 2.7L V6 engines.

Safety features remained consistent with the earlier models, ensuring they continued to meet the needs of safety-conscious buyers.

The Worst Years: 2009

The 2009 Hyundai Tucson, despite maintaining similar features to its predecessors, saw a dip in its overall reception and performance.

The primary issue that affected the reliability of the 2009 model was problems with the airbags. Some owners reported that airbags did not deploy correctly in accidents, posing a significant safety risk.

It’s important to note that while this issue was prevalent, not every 2009 Tucson experienced this problem. However, the potential risk to safety played a significant role in defining the 2009 model Tucson as the worst year for the first generation.

Best & Worst Years for Hyundai Tucson 2nd Generation (2010-2015)

Hyundai Tuscon 2nd generation 2010 model
The 2010 Hyundai Tuscon

The second-generation Hyundai Tucson (marketed as Hyundai ix35 in several markets) made its debut in 2010, marking a significant leap forward in terms of style, performance, and features.

These models implemented Hyundai’s ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design language, giving the Tucson a sleeker and more aerodynamic look.

The Best Years: 2010, 2011

On the performance front, the 2010 and 2011 models introduced a more fuel-efficient 2.4L four-cylinder engine that replaced the previous generation’s 2.7L V6. This new engine offered better fuel economy without sacrificing much in terms of power, making these years a favorite among consumers.

On the technology front, these models offered modern tech features for the time, including an available touchscreen navigation system and a backup camera, greatly enhancing the convenience and safety of the vehicle.

The Neutral Year: 2014

The 2014 Hyundai Tucson saw some incremental updates over its predecessors. It introduced two new engines: a 2.0L four-cylinder engine and a more powerful 2.4L four-cylinder.

While these engines improved performance and fuel economy, the changes weren’t as dramatic or impactful as those in the best years. The 2014 model maintained the stylish design and safety features of its predecessors and offered a smooth, comfortable ride.

The Worst Years: 2012, 2013, 2015

While the second-generation Tucson had its high points, it was not without its lows. The 2012 and 2013 models were particularly problematic, with many owners reporting severe engine problems, including engine failure and powertrain issues that required costly repairs.

The 2015 Tucson had its share of problems too. Owners reported engine issues, including engine failure and power loss. There were also reports of problems with the service brakes, including instances of brake failure.

These problems not only resulted in significant repair costs for owners but also raised serious safety concerns. Therefore, the 2012, 2013, and 2015 models were categorized as the worst years of the second-generation Tucson.

Best & Worst Years for Hyundai Tucson 3rd Generation (2016-2021)

Hyundai Tuscon 3rd generation 2016 model
The 2016 Hyundai Tuscon

The third iteration of Hyundai Tucson commenced in 2016, with the brand reverting back to the Tucson name across all markets.

The Best Year: 2020

However, it was in 2020 where the model shined the most. The 2020 model introduced several major updates, the most significant being the introduction of a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that boosted performance and fuel efficiency.

Safety-wise, the 2020 Tucson came standard with several advanced safety features as part of Hyundai’s SmartSense package, including automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and a driver attention warning system.

It also featured technological improvements such as a 7-inch color touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a six-speaker sound system.

The Neutral Years: 2018, 2019, 2021

The 2018, 2019, and 2021 Hyundai Tucson models are regarded as the impartial years of the third generation. These models introduced gradual improvements and adjustments in design, technology, and performance.

For instance, in 2018, Hyundai offered a 7-inch touchscreen display as standard across all Tucson models.

In 2019, the Tucson received a slight facelift, with new headlights and taillights, a revised grille, and new wheel designs.

As for the 2021 model, it boasted the same solid reliability and performance, but didn’t bring many significant changes or advancements.

The Worst Years: 2016, 2017

The 2016 and 2017 models of the Hyundai Tucson were plagued by numerous problems that led to them being classified as the worst years of the third generation.

A significant number of owners reported powertrain and engine issues, including excessive oil consumption, which led to costly repairs.

The 2016 model, being the debut year of the new generation, suffered from some teething problems, with numerous reports of transmission issues, including hesitation and jerky shifts.

The 2017 model, while addressing some of these issues, still had a considerable number of complaints, primarily concerning the engine and powertrain.

See NHTSA 2016, 2017 Hyundai Tucson recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Hyundai Tucson 4th Generation (2022-Present)

Hyundai Tuscon 4th generation 2022 model
The 2022 Hyundai Tuscon

The fourth generation of the Hyundai Tucson, also known as the NX4, represented a significant step forward for the model, with the 2023 model standing out as the best year in this generation so far.

The Best Year: 2023

This model introduced a bold new design language, cutting-edge technologies, and an upgraded engine lineup that includes both hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.

The 2023 model saw the introduction of advanced safety features as standard, such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), and High Beam Assist (HBA).

Technology-wise, the 2023 model boasts a 10.25-inch full-touch infotainment screen, Hyundai’s latest BlueLink-connected car services, and a premium Bose audio system.

The 2023 Hyundai Tucson model stands out for its wealth of standard features, commitment to safety, and alternative fuel options, hence being categorized as the best year in this generation.

The Worst Year: 2022

While the 2022 Hyundai Tucson represented a major leap forward for the model in terms of design and features, it suffered from several significant issues that led to it being classified as the worst year of this generation.

Most notably, numerous owners reported engine and powertrain problems. These included instances of the engine losing power, rough shifts, and instances of the engine stalling.

These mechanical problems led to an increase in maintenance costs and significantly affected the reliability of the vehicle.

Hyundai Tucson Average Resale Values

The following graph provides a detailed perspective on the average resale values of various model years of the Hyundai Tucson.

Hyundai Tucson Average List Price


You’re now able to distinguish between the best and worst Hyundai Tucson model years. Pay attention to the worst model year problems and go for the best.

Reflecting on your preferences and requirements, which Hyundai Tucson year strikes the balance between performance and reliability for you?

Share your responses and insights in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.