Discover Hyundai Tucson Years to Avoid and Most Reliable Models to Purchase

Patrick Oziegbe
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For many years, Hyundai Tucson has maintain its growing popularity and as a top compact SUV offering a combination of fuel efficiency, style and practicality.

Buying a used Hyundai Tucson demands you conduct thorough due diligent just as you would for any pre-owned vehicle to avoid headaches and loss of investments.

Once you get empowered with our researched facts shared in this guide about best years for used Hyundai Tucson and worst years to avoid, you can easily steer clear of problematic model years with their attendants unexpected maintenance costs or safety concerns.

According to Tucson owners, the most problematic years are 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, and 2017 with common problems such as, engine failure, transmission issues and few mechanical problems which reduce overall reliability and safety of the SUV vehicle.

Conversely, model years 2013, 2014, 2010, 2007, 2019, 2018, and 2015 used Hyundai Tucson cars were much more reliable and fitted with improved safety features and no recalls at all. Learn more about these best years for Hyundai Tucson periods.

EDITOR TIPS: We published Hyundai Elantra years to avoid, a car from the same Hyundai factory. We highlighted the best and worst models and reasons behind each.

Worst Hyundai Tucson Years to Avoid

Hyundai Tucson Years to Avoid
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

What are the worst Hyundai Tucson model years you must avoid due to more complaints of frequent and significant issues and even common problems?

Among the various years, some stand out as particularly problematic, such as the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, which had the highest number of complaints regarding engine and transmission issues.

Specific Years

The Hyundai Tucson model years to avoid according to various sources are:

  • 2011: This year was plagued by issues such as engine failure, poor acceleration, and transmission slips.
  • 2012: Similar to the 2011 model, it experienced engine stalls, unexpected shutdowns, and battery problems.
  • 2015: Reports indicate problems with the engine and transmission, making this year another one to avoid.
  • 2016: Often considered the worst year, it had significant engine and transmission issues, with some cases even resulting in engine fires. Drivers also complain about poor acceleration after a stop, hesitation, and jerking
  • 2017: Though slightly improved, this year still experienced transmission issues, particularly poor acceleration and jerking after stopping.

Avoiding Hyundai Tucson models from 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, and 2017 will help you stay off models with serious damaging issues.

Most Common Problems

Engine failure

Engine failure is one of the main concerns in certain Hyundai Tucson models, particularly those made from 2011-2017, except for the 2013 model year. Some of the symptoms reported by Tucson owners include:

  • Engine stalls
  • Unexpected shutdowns
  • Oil burns or leaks
  • White smoke emitting from the tailpipe
  • Speed control failure
  • Complete engine failure

Transmission Issues

Another common problem in some Tucson models is transmission issues. The 2016 and 2017 models are most affected by this issue. Common symptoms include:

  • Poor acceleration after a stop
  • Jerking or hesitating
  • Transmission slipping

Air Conditioning

While less severe than engine and transmission problems, certain Tucson models have experienced air conditioning issues. Some Tucson owners have reported problems such as weak or inconsistent cooling, which may be due to a faulty air conditioning system or low refrigerant levels.

Door Lock Actuators

Door lock actuators are an additional, albeit minor, issue reported by some Hyundai Tucson owners. These issues can lead to the doors not locking or unlocking properly or intermittently failing to respond to the key fob.

Hyundai Tucson Reliability and Consumer Reports

The consumer Reports offers comprehensive information on different Tucson models, combining extensive survey data and expert technical knowledge to help consumers make informed decisions. Read some here!

One of the reasons for the Tucson’s reputation as a reliable vehicle are the high reliability ratings given to the 2019 and 2020 models, with an 85 / 100 score, and the 2018 model boasting an impressive 86 / 100 reliability rating.

Quality Award Winner

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson even won a “Quality Award” from J.D. Power and Associates for the few problems reported by its owners in their first 100 days of ownership.

Negative Reviews and Feedback

According to reviews and feedback, some years should be avoided due to various problems. The 2011 Hyundai Tucson is one of those, as it experienced poor gas mileage, transmission lock-ups, engine failures, and malfunctioning A/C or heater systems.

Similarly, the 2012 Hyundai Tucson was also known to have slipping transmissions, engine surges, and complete failures, in addition to interior accessory issues, braking problems, and electrical system errors.

Despite these troublesome years, the fourth-generation Hyundai Tucson has been consistently placed among the better compact SUVs in the market, thanks to its improved reliability and features.

Safety Features and Issues

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The Hyundai Tucson has generally received good safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Over the years, the Tucson has been equipped with various safety features to ensure driver and passenger safety, except the bad years makes.

Automatic Emergency Braking

One of the key safety features is the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system, which helps drivers avoid potential collisions by automatically applying the brakes if the system detects a slowing or stopped vehicle ahead.

While this has been an effective safety feature in most models, some Tucson years reportedly experienced issues with the AEB system.

Blind-Spot View Monitor

The Hyundai Tucson also comes equipped with a Blind-Spot View Monitor (BSVM) to help drivers safely navigate lane changes and monitor vehicles in their blind spots.

BSVM issues have not been widely reported, but as with any safety feature, it is crucial to test the system’s functionality during a test drive.

Generally, vital safety features like Automatic Emergency Braking and Blind-Spot View Monitor have contributed to these ratings.

Best Years and Models (2014, 2010, 2007, 2019, 2018, and 2015)

The best years for used Hyundai Tucson in terms of value appear to be 2014, 2010, 2007, 2019, 2018, and 2015.

These models have consistently received high ratings in reputable publications such as J.D. Power and have faced the least amount of issues reported by users on websites like Car Complaints.

  • 2007: Early reliable model with affordable pricing.
  • 2010: Improved features and overall performance.
  • 2014: Enhanced design and upgraded technology.
  • 2015: More efficient engines and increased interior space.
  • 2018: Added safety features and stylish exterior.
  • 2019: Last year of the previous generation, offering a refined option before the major 2020 redesign.

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid

The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is a relatively new addition to the Tucson lineup. The 2022 model has gained the most attention due to its full redesign and impressive fuel efficiency.

With improved technology, added safety features, and a more aggressive appearance, the 2022 Tucson Hybrid is considered an attractive option for those seeking a more eco-friendly option.

Hyundai Tucson N Line

The Hyundai Tucson N Line is the sporty variant of the Tucson, featuring an exterior design that’s more aggressive and dynamic.

The best year for the Hyundai Tucson N Line is likely the 2021 model, which not only offers a striking appearance but also includes enhanced performance capabilities and the latest technological advancements.

Considerations for Buying Used Hyundai Tucson

  • Maintenance Costs

When considering a used Hyundai Tucson, it’s essential to keep in mind the maintenance costs associated with owning this vehicle. Regular servicing and maintenance are crucial for keeping a Tucson running smoothly and to maximize its life expectancy.

While the costs for maintaining a Hyundai Tucson may vary depending on location and service providers, you can expect affordable maintenance compared to other vehicles in its class.

  • Life Expectancy

A Hyundai Tucson can last as much as 200,000 miles with proper care and regular service.

However, to reach its max potential, you need to perform the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule. By doing this, you can expect to get about 15 years out of a Hyundai Tucson.

  • Common Issues

Some Hyundai Tucson model years have experienced issues that potential buyers should be aware of:

  • 2016 Hyundai Tucson: This model year is known for engine issues, such as stalling or shutting off while driving, failed or dead engines, and spring breaks during driving. There have also been reports of transmission system problems and body or paint issues.
  • 2017 Hyundai Tucson: Problems with this model include vehicle stalling, clunking noises during startup, excess oil consumption, and issues with the drivetrain and lights.

Comparisons with Other Vehicles

In this section, we will explore how some Hyundai Tucson years compare with other popular SUV models such as the Kia Sportage, Honda CR-V, and Chevrolet Equinox.

Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage is one of the closest competitors of the Hyundai Tucson, as they share same platform, but some differences are apparent in terms of performance, reliability, and issues.

When comparing the two, it’s essential to consider specific Tucson and Kia Sportage years to avoid, like the 2011-2017 models (except the 2013 model year) which faced transmission and engine problems.

On the other hand, the Kia Sportage has a notably better reliability record in recent years. However, the 2011-2013 Sportages also faced issues, particularly with their engines.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is another competitor in the compact SUV market. The Honda CR-V is known for its consistent reliability, making it a desirable option for many buyers.

In terms of problematic years, the 2017 Honda CR-V experienced some issues with their engines, but it is not as prevalent as the issues faced by the Tucson in the years to avoid.

Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox is another key player in the compact SUV market and all older and used Chevy Equinox best cars have continued to receive global acclaim.

Nevertheless, Chevy has not been immune to issues either.

The Equinox had several problematic years with transmission and engine issues, particularly in the 2010-2013 models.

Vehicle Problematic Years Common Issues
Hyundai Tucson 2011-2017* Transmission and engine
Kia Sportage 2011-2013 Engine
Honda CR-V 2017 Engine
Chevrolet Equinox 2010-2013 Transmission and engine

*excluding the 2013 model year


Are Hyundai Tucson good cars?

Yes, Hyundai Tucson is generally considered a good compact SUV car delivering amazing reliability, latest safety features and very fuel efficiency.

While we admit not all are qualified to be described best years, the few worst models did not blight the global acclaim it has generated and more and more Tucson owners love this compact boy!

What is the best Hyundai Tucson model?

We believe personal preferences will be the ultimate decider, however our research tipped both the 2022 and 2023 as the best overall ever.

The 2022 comes with more advancements such as hybrid and plug-in hybrid options, and a bigger interior and 2023 Hyundai Tucson will wow you with sweeter designed compact SUV, inside refinement, better comfortable ride and fuel efficiency.

What is Hyundai Tucson life expectancy?

On average, Hyundai Tucson can last 13 – 15 years or 200,000 miles with proper care and maintenance. However, we know of Tucson owners testifying doing over 200,000-mile mark.

What is Hyundai Tucson’s best engine?

There are few Tucson engines and generally depend on the model year, but we find the 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder unit is more reputed for the famed fuel economy Hyundai Tucson is respected for with much improved performance.


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