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With the 2021 Tucson, Hyundai has found a winning formula yet again. Hyundai has been doing well in recent years, thanks to its focus on building affordable, reliable, and modern vehicles. The new Hyundai Tucson has an ideal size for a two-row SUV, and it has some solid options for its powertrain. Overall, there are many reasons to like the Tucson, and it's poised to become a leader in the industry.
Multiple trims are available on this SUV. The SE is the most affordable, coming it at under $25,000. For this reason alone, it's sure to get a lot of attention from budget-conscious consumers. The Value, SEL, and Sport all priced under $30,000, and they each offer more and more in terms of interior and exterior features. At the high end of the lineup are the Limited and Ultimate, which have some elements that make them feel just like vehicles made by luxury brands.
This guide will describe in detail how the various trims differ from one another. What they all share, though, are the same basic dimensions, so it might be best to go over that first.
Leg room in the front row is 41.5 inches, and in the back, it's a respectable 38.2 inches. In the rear of the SUV, the cargo area has a volume of 31 cubic feet, and it can be expanded to 61.9 cubic feet by folding down the rear seats. This doesn't make the Tucson the most spacious of two-row SUVs, but it still offers plenty of room. It also means that the Tucson isn't too big or bulky, which many see as an advantage.
Compare the 2021 Hyundai Tucson SE vs Value Trim. What is the Difference?
The SE is the most basic out of all the trims, having a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, manual air conditioning system, projector headlights, and body-color side mirrors and door handles. At the same time, it does have some nicer features that give it excellent value. For example, its rear windows have privacy glass, and the headlights can turn on automatically. Also, it has a 60/40 split bench in the rear seat that allows for more versatility in the cabin, and the dual-level cargo floor can make it easier to accommodate a variety of items in the back.
At the Value level, some of those same features are seen, but there are several additions. The Value has a automatic up/down power window in the driver's position, heated front seats, and a power-operated driver's seat that comes with lumbar support. On its exterior, it has LED accents that make it stand out a bit more, along with heated side mirrors that can be appreciated in the colder months and roof side rails that can be used to secure cargo.
Notably, both of these trims have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to give people a simple way to connect their smartphones with the infotainment system. They use seven-inch touchscreens; the difference is that the Value's system comes with HD Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
While the SE has a remote keyless entry system, the Value has a Proximity Key. While these two systems let people enter without physically putting their key in the door to unlock it, only the Proximity Key can stay securely in someone's pocket or bag while he/she turns the engine on with the push button start function.
From a safety perspective, the Value definitely is the more attractive model. It can actively monitor blind spots and rear cross traffic to keep drivers aware of other vehicles that they may not be able to see. Both trims have a system built to keep drivers focused on the roads, as well as lane keeping assist, forward collision warning and avoidance assist, and several stability and control systems. All of these technologies can be set to continually keep an eye on things. When necessary, they can send out warnings and/or taking action.
Compare the 2021 Hyundai Tucson Value vs SEL Trim Level. What is the Difference?
Like the SE trim, the Value runs on a four-cylinder engine. This engine has a displacement of two liters, and it can provide 161 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. If this doesn't seem like enough capability, the SEL comes with a bit more horsepower (181) and torque (175 pound-feet). While the increase isn't dramatic, it's enough to make the SEL feel much more responsive and spirited. The larger engine boosts towing capacity from 1,500 pounds to 2,000 pounds.
The Value and SEL, like all of the other trims 2021 Hyundai Tucson, can either be equipped with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Hyundai has paired their engines with a six-speed automatic transmission. There is no manual option, but the transmission is a SHIFTRONIC model that does allow for some manual overrides. The SEL's wheels are upgraded from 17-inch versions to 18-inch models.
When looking at the fuel efficiencies of the Value and SEL, there's actually not a significant difference even though the Value runs on a 2.0-liter engine and the SEL is powered by a 2.4-liter engine. They both have a combined mileage of 25 miles per gallon when front-wheel drive is selected and an estimated mileage of 23 miles per gallon when the Tucson is an all-wheel-drive version.
The SEL has some finer details on its exterior, such as premium fascias and side sills. Inside the cabin, the SEL still has the same cloth seats that the Value has. It has the same infotainment system as well, which comes with front USB outlets and a rearview monitor that shows the camera feed on the touchscreen when the vehicle is in reverse. The SEL does have the addition of a rear USB charging port. It also has rear air vents to help with air circulation and a dual automatic climate control system.
For the most part, there is no change in the safety system when moving from the Value to any other trim. This shows Hyundai's belief that advanced safety components are important and should be made available to people, regardless of their budgets.
Compare the 2021 Hyundai Tucson SEL vs Sport Trim. What is the Difference?
The Sport is the trim at which the exterior lighting is upgraded pretty significantly. The Sport uses LEDs in its headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights. It has fog lights as well, and all of these features can add to the exterior style and contribute to visibility and safety. Further enhancing the aesthetics of the Sport are 19-inch alloy wheels.
At the back of the Sport, there's a hands-free liftgate. It's opening height can be adjusted, which is useful if someone parks in a smaller garage. By simply kicking one's foot underneath the sensor at the back of the SUV, the liftgate can be automatically opened. With the push of a button, the liftgate can be closed.
Music lovers will be happy to hear that the audio system in the Sport is of a very high quality. It consists of an external amplifier, eight speakers (which include a subwoofer), and Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology. Whether listening to the radio or songs that have been downloaded on a device, people will be able to hear each note clearly.
Other high-end features that the Sport has include wireless charging, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a leather-wrapped shift knob. Though they may be minor elements, they'll certainly be noticed by many.
Compare the 2021 Hyundai Tucson Sport vs Limited Trim Levels. What is the Difference?
At the Limited level, the wheels go back to being 18-inch alloy wheels. The side mirrors in the Limited are built with turn signals, making it easier for others to see what the Tucson's driver intends to do. Making the Limited feel a little more sophisticated are chrome window trim moldings and door handles.
Moving to the inside of the Limited, the most significant upgrade is the leather seats. Not only does the Limited have a power-operated driver's seat, but it also has a power-operated front passenger's seat. Plus, the steering wheel in the Limited has a heating element to help combat chilly weather.
There is one change in terms of safety when comparing the Sport to the Limited. The Limited has a surround view monitor, which gives the driver the ability to see all around the vehicle. This system uses different cameras to put together a 360-degree view from a top-down perspective. It can be very useful when navigating around tight spaces where there may be many obstacles that are blocked from sight. Various settings and camera angles can be used to concentrate on particular areas.
Compare the 2021 Hyundai Tucson Limited vs Ultimate Trim. What is the Difference?
Like the Limited, the Ultimate trim has leather seats. One would expect nothing less from the only Tucson trim to be priced a few thousands dollars over the $30,000 threshold. It's the only trim to have ventilation built into its front seats in addition to heating elements, and even the rear seats in the Ultimate are heated. This can go a long way in keeping people comfortable when the weather isn't the most ideal.
The Ultimate is the trim to get if anyone wishes to have an eight-inch touchscreen instead of a seven-inch one. And, the Ultimate's infotainment system comes with navigation. Two other cool high-tech features on the Ultimate are the rain-sensing wipers and automatic high beams that can turn themselves on and off. Keeping the cabin feeling bright and airy is the Ultimate's panoramic sunroof.
Smart cruise control is standard on the Ultimate. With this system activated, the Tucson can monitor the speed of the vehicle in front of it. If that vehicle slows down or speeds up, the Tucson can adjust accordingly to maintain proper distancing and safe speeds.
Further setting apart the Ultimate from the other trims is its forward collision avoidance assist program. It can detect pedestrians and other vehicles in the SUV's path. (The other trims can only sense the presence of vehicles.) If the driver doesn't have a chance to react in time, the system can hit the brakes to prevent an accident.
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Which Trim to Choose?
There are many reasonable, practical options when it comes to the 2021 Hyundai Tucson. Hyundai has, quite strategically, given its customers a wide range of choices, all of which have available all-wheel drive. Budget is certainly going to drive some people in the direction of the SE versus the Ultimate, but there are several other things to consider when making a purchasing decision.
If performance is a key factor for some drivers, then the SEL is going to be the starting point. It's the trim at which the 2.4-liter engine becomes standard. For some people, there's no question about whether they'd prefer to have 181 horsepower over 161 horsepower. It's great that moving to the larger engine isn't accompanied by any decrease in fuel efficiency.
When comparing the trims in close detail, the Sport and Limited seem to come out as the front runners. They have LED exterior lights, smart liftgates, heated front seats, and more. The Sport has a nice blend of qualities, with its competitive pricing and modern amenities. The Limited takes it to the next level by having leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and chrome accents. Whether one gets the Sport or Limited just depends on how much people will prioritize some of these more luxurious components.
• Compare the 2020 Hyundai Tucson Trim Levels