2017 Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Tucson Comparison

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The Honda CR-V has pretty much always been the benchmark when it comes to compact crossovers and that means it has always been the one to beat.

It has beat everything AutoGuide.com has compared it with so far: The Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, and the Subaru Forester, which are all fantastic crossovers, so the fact that the Honda beat them all is nothing short of impressive.

The Hyundai Tucson has always been one of my personal favorite cars in this segment and it’s a solid competitor, but is it good enough to beat the newer CR-V? Hyundai is always benchmarking Honda, but we wanted to see if it goes above and beyond what Honda is offering.

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Style and Substance

Style is totally a personal preference, but we’re not the first to say that the new CR-V’s design has a bit too much going on to make it truly attractive. The Tucson has cleaner lines and is a bit more traditional without being boring, which means the design will age a bit better. It also has a more planted look, which also translates into how it drives.

The Tucson has a suspension setup that’s a middle ground between the CR-V’s softer ride and the Ford Escape’s harsher sportier ride. It’s comfortable, predictable, and rides smoothly over rough roads while still not feeling terrible in corners. It feels a lot more buttoned-down and composed than the CR-V, which can feel sloppy at times.

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This Tucson is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder, which is the better choice over the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter base engine. With 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, it has more torque but less horsepower than the CR-V. The torque difference is pretty obvious because the Hyundai accelerates a touch faster off-the-line and when passing on the highway.

The CR-V has a 1.5L turbo with 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. In terms of driving dynamics, both are pretty similar, there are no big surprises — both are predictable, not overly exciting, and very easy to drive and maneuver, which is what really matters. Acceleration for both aren’t going to blow you away, but they’re both totally acceptable and get you where you’re going.

ALSO SEE: 2017 Honda CR-V vs Toyota RAV4

The Hyundai’s seven-speed dual clutch transmission can be wonky and easy to confuse, especially during low-speed driving like when you’re creeping forward in traffic. It judders a lot of seems like it has trouble finding the right gear sometimes. The CR-V has a CVT and it’s whiny and somewhat unresponsive, so I’m more willing to forgive the Tucson’s transmission because it’s just easier to live with.

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Fuel Economy

The Tucson, however, lags behind the CR-V in all areas in terms of fuel economy: highway, city, and observed, so if better mileage is what you want, go for the Honda. The Tucson is rated to get 24 mpg in the city, 28 on the highway, and 25 combined (9.9/8.5/9.3 L/100 km). During our testing, we were hovering around 21 mpg, but we were driving it pretty aggressively and almost exclusively in the city.

The CR-V is rated at 27 in the city, 33 on the highway and 29 combined (8.7/7.2/8.0 L/100 km). We got between 26 and 30 in real-world testing, and all those numbers beat what the Hyundai gets. It’s also slightly lighter, which helps a bit.

Compare Specs

2017 Honda CR-V
vs
2017 Hyundai Tucson
Vehicle 2017 Honda CR-V Advantage 2017 Hyundai Tucson
Engine1.5L turbo 4-cyl-1.6L turbo 4-cyl
Horsepower190Honda175
Torque179Hyundai195
TransmissionCVT-7-speed DCT
Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)39.2/75.8Honda31/61.9
Cargo Capacity (liters)1,110/2,146Honda878/1,753
US Fuel Economy (MPG combined)29Honda25
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km combined)8.0Honda9.3
US Starting Price$24,075Hyundai$22,700
CAN Starting Price$28,787Hyundai$26,684

Interior Tech and Practicality

Although the Tucson has worse fuel economy, its infotainment system is much better than the CR-V’s. It’s more user-friendly, easier to navigate, it’s faster and more responsive. That doesn’t mean that Honda’s system is awful, there are just little things here and there that make Hyundai’s system better.

ALSO SEE: 2017 Honda CR-V vs 2017 Ford Escape

But in general, Honda did a much better job with the interior design. It looks a lot more modern than the Hyundai and is more visually interesting. Honda’s interior has a bit more design flourish, with the silver accents and this faux wood grain trim. The dashboard has a clean, simple design with not a lot of buttons. I also like that the gauge cluster is almost fully digital, where the Hyundai’s is mostly analog.

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The Tucson’s interior is perfectly functional, but it’s not as interesting to look at, and even though it has more buttons, it still doesn’t look too busy. I do prefer the Tucson’s shifter better because it feels higher quality, where the CR-V’s feels clunky to use.

I like that the CR-V has more useful cubbies and an electronic parking brake rather than the floor pedal-operated one on the Tucson. Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with either cabin and both are very user-friendly. The Honda also has slightly less headroom front and back, but more legroom in the back than the Tucson.

ALSO SEE: 2017 Honda CR-V vs 2017 Subaru Forester

Chances are, if you’re looking for a car in this segment, you care more about cargo capacity than driving dynamics, and once again, the CR-V beats the Hyundai with superior space. With all the seats up, the CR-V gets 39.2 cubic feet (1,110 L) of space. Putting the rear seat flat opens up 75.8 cubic feet (2,146 L). Moving over to the Tucson, it has 31 cubic feet (878 L) and 61.9 (1,753 L) with the seats down, which is a huge disadvantage. 

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Features

These two crossovers are pretty different in terms of what kind of features they have. The CR-V has memory seats, more USB ports and fast charging ones too, adaptive cruise, and lane-keep assist with active steering, which the Tucson doesn’t have. I’m OK to let that slide because I barely use adaptive cruise because the CR-V’s still doesn’t feel natural enough, and lane-keep assist is usually too aggressive with the steering corrections and incessant beeping, so I don’t use it either.

The Tucson gets ventilated seats, a better backup camera, rear parking sensors, adaptive headlights, a locking differential, and hill descent control. These are all things that the CR-V doesn’t have, so I’d argue that it is better equipped. If the Tucson had the adaptive cruise and fast charging USB ports, it would be a clearer win.

ALSO SEE: 2017 Mazda CX-5 vs 2017 Honda CR-V

They both have cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking and front collision alert (I like Hyundai’s better because it’s less aggressive), blind spot monitoring, heated rear seats and hands-free tailgates.

The fact that the Tucson is better equipped is really interesting because the starting and as-tested price undercut the CR-V by a few hundred dollars. That’s not a huge difference, but getting more stuff for less money seems like a deal to me.

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The Verdict: 2017 Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Tucson

I love that the Tucson drives better, has more equipment for less money, a better infotainment system, and is just better looking. I think the wonky dual clutch transmission could be smoothed out, and it’s not as fuel efficient and doesn’t have as much cargo capacity as the Honda.

The Honda, on the other hand, seems much more practical with a bigger cargo area. It’s more fuel efficient, has a stylish interior, and is the sales leader for good reason. The downsides are that it’s slightly more expensive, the CVT is whiny and slow, and the exterior style is pretty polarizing.

This was a really tough comparison to pick a winner for because they’re both just so good at their jobs. Honda has won every single comparison we did so far, but the Tucson is just so good that this time, if it were my money on the line, I’d pick the Tucson, but it wins by a very small margin.

I really like that the Tucson just feels like a better all-round package. It feels more buttoned down when you drive it, the quality is unmistakable, and I think it would be easier to live with. Add in the fact that you get more features for less money, and you really can’t go wrong.

Honda CR-V

Hyundai Tucson

  • Baitbuster

    Hmmm…not buying it.

  • JP Toronto

    Blind spot warning is non-existent on the driver’s side of the CR-V. Major detraction in my opinion. Hyundai’s loud and persistent warnings are outstanding on both sides and their rear cross traffic alert. Have rescued me a number of times.

  • Doug Rando

    I love my Tucson. It’s loaded with great stuff. I like it more than my X3.

  • Malik

    I am surprised to hear poor economy on Hyunda 1.6-litre Turbo. I assumed they get better fuel economy due to the engine that has been designed specifically for fuel efficient mated with AWD.

    Hyundai has two engines which one of them 2-litre natural-aspirated-engine that provides 25 mileage combined, the other fuel-efficient Turbo motor should be able to provide at least 28 mileage. Not to mention, DCT is very light and perfect combination for the fuel economy just as CVT does.

    As for Honda 1.5-litre Turbo motor, such small Turbo motor has been efficient and reliable so far from Civic to CRV. Once again, Honda continues to live by the reputation. I hear Honda Accord will be mated with the same engine – 1.5-litre Turbo motor.

  • the truth hurts

    both are great cars. The CRV interior looks nicer than the Tucsons, but the Tucsons is still nice. However the Tucsons exterior is way nicer and looks alot better as the CRV just looks…. plump? Both are similarly powered. CRV has more room in the cargo, but less head room inside the car and the Tucson also has that nice Panoramic roof. Options and safety features seem comparable too but it looks like people aways say honda’s system is too aggressive in safety and annoying (and just turn it off). Honda’s are notorious for their longevity, but I dont know how well a turbo charged CVT engine will bold. Hyundai on the other hand has that great 10yr/100,000ml warranty. I’d probably go for the Hyundai as I think it will age alot better than the CRV, (in terms of looks). You look out your car today and see 3-4 different models of CRV’s from the years and they all look old and outdated already. This Tucson is huge drastic new look compared to its older models (I believe designed by a designer who used to work at Infiniti). CRV’s mostly look the same and just add something here and there.. this time making the CRV, while bigger, but the button front bumper area just makes it look very plump like.. not a good look to me atleast.

  • AfroCOONApe

    I love my 11 CRV still, and I have a Lexus IS 350 too.

  • Vtec1234

    Crv for me thanks. Reliability is keyword here. Better cargo space, resale value… and once driven a honda you will stay with it.
    Good build quality. .. good ride..
    I’ve driven the tucson. Don’t like it. Not the same quality as the honda…

  • AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT!

  • AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT! I WILL BUY THE HONDA BECAUSE THE THE EXTERIOR OF THE TUCSON LOOKS LIKE A ZOMBIE!

  • Jeff W

    the Honda is the ugly one here, kinda R typish ?