The Hyundai Tucson enjoys immense popularity among young professionals, mainly for its size and spirited performance. Its affordability and sporty image is the main selling point.  The old tech Beta-series engine was torquey but was consumed more fuel. The Diesel variant was more expensive but was a popular option. The 2018 model, however, boasts of new FI system that gives more torque at lower gas consumption.

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson is bigger than its predecessor; wider, longer and lower. Among its market segment, it has the largest engine displacement. While others have the 1.5 to 1.6 size, the Tucson zips along with its 2.0 liter turbocharged diesel engine and 6-speed automatic tranny. More power is the name of the game.


The seats are more comfortable with diamond-patterned fabric. A little bit wider for long trips. There is more legroom at the back; a plus for tall passengers, but ceiling is a bit lower. Another plus is the rear AC vents, now rear cooling is more efficient.

Rear AC ducts is a nice touch

The dash is more streamlined and less curvy. Shifter is now more aligned with driver for easier reach, with the cup holder at the usual right-hand of the console. The only disadvantage here is the simple function entertainment system. Just  the basic Bluetooth and USB ports. The previous model has replaceable head units and can be had with TV monitors and GPS. Steering wheel-located remote control is a big plus but takes a little getting used to.


While the new Tucson sits lower, it retains the big windows for more outside visibility. It however, decreased the height of the door panels. The body lines are now continuous from the rear to the front wheel arch. The accent on the rocker panels are more enhanced.

Wheel size is now bigger: 225/55/18 on new 5-spoke design rims.
Bigger cargo hold
The CRDi 16-Valve, Turbocharged Engine, with 185 hp @ 4,000 rpm and Max Torque 402 Nm @ 2,750 rpm. Quite a hauler!

History of the Tucson

Since Hyundai Automotive Resources, Inc. launched it into the Philippine market 14 years ago, the Tucson was deemed as a more reasonably priced crossover SUV. Agile and torquey, it made a mark with students and young professionals. The diesel variant even had dual exhausts!

The 2011  ix35-Theta engine was a vast improvement over its predecessor. Smoother and more torque and more importantly, fuel efficient. Consumption was up to 7km.L from 5km/L. In Manila traffic, it feels a lot.

2013 and 2018 Tucson. A comparison

The base Tucson GL model was the bestseller. With a starting price of Php995,000 in 2011, the Tucson was the first affordable mini-SUV available in the market, and with Hyundai accessories such as GPS, TV-equipped entertainment systems and a 6-speed transmission offered, it was loaded as they come.

Notice the difference on body lines. Years apart but have the same lineage.

This 2013 Hyundai Tucson belonged to a sibling. It was a base model GL, brought brand new and filled with options worth 80k. Not bad for a vehicle worth 1.1m. (Php995K, plus options) Performance is impressive; right amount of torque, and no sign of pre-ignition with lower octane fuel. Fuel consumption, however, was on the opposite side of the spectrum; 5km/L on Manila traffic, but around 17km/L on the highway at 110kph cruising.

Options installed on this base model were:

  • Fog Lights (with aftermarket switch)
  • Side mirrors with signal lights
  • Entertainment system with TV, DVD, GPS, Bluetooth, USB and camera monitor

Mudguards and side claddings (Worth Php30k) were not included.

This model was popularized in Season 2-3 of the iconic “Walking Dead” cable TV series. The protagonists used the Light Blue Tucson as scavenging transportation, that it gave a positive image for the Tucson. Such was the popularity that the model was included in all “Walking Dead” displays and fan conventions.

This Bronze color was a late addition to the lineup, and proved to be popular option.

Another characteristic of the Hyundai Tucson is the staining/discoloration of the rims because of brakepad dust, which may be attributed to the pad material. Although there is no difference in braking power, almost all Hyundai vehicles suffer from this.

Rocker panel without mudguards
Smaller 225/60/17 wheels
Simple layout. Note steering wheel sans controls



Note bigger grille on the 2018 model. The actual intake of the 2013 is the lower grille. Upper grille is ornamental.

Note the different roof rail designs

A well-driven 2013 Tucson, with 60,000 km. Complete with battle scars. Only two KUMHO tires have been replaced (with proper tire rotation)

The Hyundai Tucson. Comparing the two reveals one thing;. Its getting better. Reliablity and quality for the last 14 years. Even in the zombie apocalypse, its the perfect transportation.

Text/Images by Earl Manalansan

*Special thanks to Elisha Manalansan for lending the 2013 Hyundai Tucson


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