Both the Hyundai Tucson and the Honda CR-V are top-rated SUVs in the compact crossover SUV segment.
Honda is renowned for its engineering expertise and market-leading reliability, while Korean automaker Hyundai is associated with great value for money.
The Hyundai Tucson and Honda CR-V share similar specs and price. But which compact SUV is the better buy right now?
The Hyundai Tucson offers a generous warranty and is slightly cheaper. But the Honda CR-V comes out on top, with more passenger space, more cargo volume, a better ride, and hybrid availability. Expect a closer battle soon, because Hyundai will release a redesigned Tucson in 2022.
The Hyundai Tucson starts cheaper than the Honda CR-V, so those on tighter budgets might want to factor that into their decision.
The base SE model of the 2021 Hyundai Tucson starts at $23,700. Hyundai offers 5 further trims, and the range-topping Ultimate model starts off at a much higher price-point of $32,050. Our recommendation is the SEL trim, which costs $26,100 and gets you all the niceties we like to see on SUVs, like automatic climate control, heated front seats and silver exterior accents.
The 2021 Honda CR-V, on the other hand, starts off at $25,530 for the base LX trim and starts at $33,650 for the top-of-the-line Touring model. To get equivalent features as the SEL Tucson, we’d suggest the EX or EX-L trims which start at $27,860 and $30,450, respectively.
All the above pricing quotes exclude destination charges, and dealerships that sell them may also further inflate these prices.
With increasing popularity in hybrids, many automakers offer hybrid variants of their existing cars. Honda offers the CR-V Hybrid, which manages a better gas mileage whether you’re driving in the city or on the highway. The hybrid version of the crossover costs more, though, with a starting sticker price of $30,560 for the base EX model.
The Hyundai Tucson is a nice-looking car, but lacks the flair of the Hyundai Kona or Hyundai Palisade SUVs. The 2021 Tucson is starting to show its age and Hyundai are expected to give it a makeover in 2022.
In our opinion, the Honda is the better looking SUV. It’s not the most exciting car to look at, but it’s a handsome package with daring taillights that outshine the bog-standard ones on the back of the Tucson.
The Honda CR-V is one of the largest compact SUVs in its segment. It is 180.6 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 66.1 inches high (66.5 inches high in the AWD models).
The Hyundai Tucson is marginally smaller, with a length of 176.4 inches, a width of 72.8 inches, and a height of 65 inches (when equipped with roof rack side rails). However, the Tucson’s 105.1-inch wheelbase is 0.4 inches longer than that of the CR-V.
Passenger And Cargo Space
In terms of interior space, the Honda CR-V is triumphant with a total passenger volume of 105.9 cubic feet. Honda treats passengers in the back well with more leg and headroom than the Tucson. The CR-V can seat up to 5, with a 40/20/40 configuration for the back row.
But the Hyundai Tucson is still fairly roomy with a total passenger volume of 102.2 cubic feet. Like the CR-V, the Tucson also seats up to 5.
For cargo, the CR-V offers 39.2 cubic feet of space at the back while the Tucson offers 31 cubic feet. To put that into perspective, with the CR-V you can potentially squeeze another medium sized suitcase in the back.
Note that if you go for the Hybrid CR-V, the battery will impact cargo volume slightly.
Both the Honda CR-V and the Hyundai Tucson offer cabins that do a great job of shutting out road, wind, and engine noise. However, the cabin of the CR-V holds the advantage in this area thanks to its active noise cancellation technology. Hyundai have not equipped the Tucson with any such feature.
In terms of interior materials, both SUVs look and feel refined on the inside.
In the Hyundai Tucson, the SE, Value, SEL, Sport, and Night trims you’ll get cloth seating surfaces, while the more luxurious Limited and Ultimate trims get leather upholstery.
The Tucson offers an available 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, available heated and ventilated front seats, available heated rear seats, an available dual-zone automatic climate control system, an available heated steering wheel, and much more.
In the CR-V, the LX and EX models get cloth upholstery while the EX-L and Touring models get leather upholstery. In terms of convenience features, the CR-V matches the Tucson, offering an available 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with 4-way power lumbar support, available heated front seats, an available dual-zone automatic climate control system, automatic-dimming rearview mirror and more options.
Performance And Fuel Economy
The Hyundai Tucson can be had with either a 164 horsepower 2.0-liter or 181 horsepower 2.4-liter engine. The latter delivers slightly better acceleration and responsiveness, but still feels sluggish. With a fuel economy of 23/28 mpg (city/hwy) on its smaller engine, the Tucson isn’t very fuel efficient in its class segment.
The petrol Honda CR-V, on the other hand, gets a 1.5-liter inline-4 that makes 190 horsepower. Thanks to its pairing with an excellent CVT, the Honda achieves a much better fuel economy of 28 mpg city and 34 mpg highway (in a front wheel drive configuration).
If you prefer the hybrid CR-V, you’ll get a 2.0-liter, four cylinder engine that combines with two electric motors that produce 212 horsepower.
Ride And Handling
The Hyundai Tucson delivers a smooth and floaty ride for passengers. For drivers, the car is competent but far from fun to drive.
The Honda delivers an equally smooth ride but offers a more inspired driving experience. Changing direction with confidence and featuring highly responsive brakes, it’s right up there with the class-leading Mazda CX-5. Driver visibility is also superior to the Tucson thanks to slim and thoughtfully placed A-pillars.
According to JD Power, the Honda CR-V scores a perfect 10 in overall mechanical quality. The Hyundai Tucson has not been rated.
The Honda CR-V scores 20 points higher than the Tucson in reliability scores released by Consumer Reports.
It can be hard to assess the reliability of cars that have just been released. However these ratings, along with Honda’s superior history when it comes to reliability, gives the CR-V the edge.
Both the Honda and Hyundai can be optioned with advanced safety features such as AEB, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control.
NHTSA safety testing concluded both crossovers are incredibly safe for passengers. Both the Tucson and CR-V were awarded perfect 5-star ratings in frontal and side crash testing. Both models received 4-star body rollover ratings, which assesses the risk of rolling the car over while driving.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded both SUVs with Top Safety Pick awards.
Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia have become synonymous with generous covers, and this is the area where Honda is bested. The Hyundai Tucson offers an unrivaled 10-year or 100,000 mile powertrain basic warranty, whereas the Honda has a much more industry-standard 5-year or 60,000 mile powertrain warranty coverage.
The extreme popularity of the Honda CR-V appears warranted, as it’s a strong, all-round compact crossover that delivers a better package than the Hyundai Tucson. Hyundai comes out of the fight with a lower sticker price and more generous warranty, but those aren’t enough to swing the result.
Expect a response from Hyundai though, as a new Hyundai Tucson is just round the corner.
Other noteworthy SUVs in the compact segment with comparable pricing are the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Mazda CX-5.