2008 Hyundai Tucson

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$17,235

starting MSRP

2008 Hyundai Tucson

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Easy to drive
  • Plenty of standard features
  • Abundant safety features
  • Folding front passenger seat
  • Excellent warranty

The bad:

  • Ride comfort on rougher surfaces
  • Occasional tire and engine noise
  • Serious noise at highway speeds
  • No power seat option
  • Vanity mirrors not illuminated
  • Rear backrest adjustment hard to reach

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2008 Hyundai Tucson trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Six standard airbags
  • Standard stability system
  • Standard ABS
  • AWD optional
  • Four- or six-cylinder engine

2008 Hyundai Tucson review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
The Tucson is Hyundai’s smallest SUV, intended to compete with the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V. The 2008 model adds active head restraints and an upgraded stereo.

Trim levels include the GLS, SE and Limited. Either a four-cylinder or V-6 engine can be installed, and a manual transmission is available for four-cylinder models. Both versions can be equipped with front-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive. Side-impact and side curtain airbags are standard, giving the Tucson a total of six airbags.

Exterior
Hyundai says the Tucson has a masculine, athletic appearance. SE and Limited models feature bodyside cladding. Wraparound headlights and an LED-type center brake light are installed. A single-bar grille contains the Hyundai logo.

Alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires. Fog lamps are installed on the SE and Limited, and a moonroof is optional. Riding a 103.5-inch wheelbase, the Tucson is 170.3 inches long overall and 66.1 inches tall (not counting the roof rack).

Interior
The Tucson’s five-passenger interior includes a 60/40-split flat-folding rear seat. The fully reclining front passenger seat can be folded forward. The plastic cargo floor has multiple tie-down locations. Cargo space is 22.7 cubic feet with the rear seat up and 65.5 cubic feet with the seat down.

Standard equipment includes power windows and locks, heated mirrors, keyless entry with an alarm, an intermittent rear wiper and a six-speaker CD stereo. For 2008, the stereo adds an auxiliary MP3 jack and XM Satellite Radio, with free service for three months. Available features on other trims include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, air conditioning and cruise control. Fully loaded Tucsons have heated leather seats, automatic climate control and a six-CD stereo. All models have an easy-to-clean composite cargo floor.

Under the Hood
A standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing delivers 140 horsepower. Either a Shiftronic four-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual gearbox can be installed. In uplevel trims, an available 2.7-liter V-6 engine — offered only with the automatic — generates 173 hp.

The available four-wheel-drive system can divert up to 50 percent of available power to the rear wheels in response to changing road conditions or torque demand. A button lets the driver lock the driveline into a 50/50 torque split.

Safety
Side curtain airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags, an electronic stability system and all-disc antilock brakes with traction control are standard. For 2008, new active front head restraints move forward in a rear impact to protect against whiplash.

Driving Impressions
Tucsons lean toward the cushiony end of the ride-and-handling spectrum, rather than the sporty side. The ride is pleasantly smooth on most surfaces, but undulating pavement and even moderate bumps can transmit some roughness to occupants. The Tucson is easy to drive and requires little correction on straightaways, but handling is relatively humdrum compared to the Ford Escape.

Tire noise is noticeable on some surfaces, and some engine buzz is apparent in lower gears in models with the manual transmission. Otherwise, the Tucson is impressively quiet.

The seats are quite supportive and reasonably comfortable. Cargo space falls short of the Santa Fe’s, but the area is easy to access. Thick D-pillars block over-the-shoulder views a bit, but visibility is otherwise satisfying because of the long glass in the rear doors.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior design 4.1
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.3
  • Reliability 4.3

Most recent consumer reviews

3.0

Decent

I bought a 2008 GLS with 106k miles for $6,000 (US) in 2019. It has needed a lot of love to get it into shape: New throttle position sensor, ignition switch, front struts, front CV joint, starter, timing belt, water pump, door seals, battery, tires, spark plugs, bulbs, air filter, cabin air filter and headlight restoration. Two A/C recharges and a heater core flush needed to be done as well. It has cost about $5,000 for all of this. Time will tell if it's all been a worthwhile investment. Things just keep failing on it in the almost three years that I've owned it. The first gen Tucson offers a great driving position, although the seat gave me back pain until I got it adjusted properly. It's good now. The steering wheel blocks the gauges for a 6'2" adult. I have an Ultragauge digital display to see speed and other info instead. The 2.0L i4 engine is underpowered given the weight of the vehicle but it can be fairly fuel efficient in the city (17-22 MPG when driven hard, 27-34 MPG when hypermiled). A/C drops MPG by around 20%. Highway MPG is poor due to the ancient 4-speed auto transmission and bad aerodynamics, getting low-mid 20's. There's a lot of usable interior space for the size of the vehicle, making it pretty good for camping. I'm able to fit two folding tables, a family tent, a screen room, two large bins of gear and several bags while seating two adults and a toddler. Overall, the purchase cost plus maintenance has amounted to $305/month so far. There are better vehicle options for that kind of money. I can't say I recommend the 2008 Tucson right now based on my experience unless I get at least a couple of good years out of it going forward. It's no Toyota, that's for sure. There are worse vehicles though, so the 2008 Tucson is decent.

4.3

A honest and capable compact SUV

In South Am scenario, despite newer and more expensive suvs like Jeep Compass and the new Corolla crossover, the “classic” Series (2004-2017) Hyundai Tucson still delivers! Roomy, quiet, reliable almost no maintenance and fun to drive compact SUV that you can park in a chic mall without shame or fight mud snow and irregular roads with confidence! Note: mine was purchased last year (2020) with original 60k miles and is a lovely bespoke and B4/NIJ IllA armoured unit so I don’t think in trading it but conserve with me perhaps with a green one or a different toy in the future..

4.5

Powerful 5 speed.

Comfortable ride for a SUV. Plenty of power as you shift. Mobil and easy to drive. Cold AC in cabin. Great in adverse weather. Paint and clearcoat has held up over the years. Versatile fold down seats. Sharp looking with alloy rims. Bang for the buck.

See all 17 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
60 months/60,000 miles
Corrosion
84 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
120 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
60 months/unlimited distance

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