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Hyundai Tucson Value vs. Sel

1. Overview

The SEL trim, compared to Value, has some features added, some removed, and some also improved with respect to Value. SEL has a 181-horsepower 2.4L GDI 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission, 18" alloy wheels, and also front-wheel drive. This engine size and wheel size provide a slightly better driving experience in terms of acceleration and stability. A slightly higher power engine does eat a little bit more fuel. In terms of safety features, SEL has added driver attention warning and blind spot collision warning with rear cross-traffic warning. Heated seats now have 3 levels of adjustable settings for both the driver and passenger. Dual automatic temperature control has been added for extra comfort when setting the AC temperatures. On the exterior, SEL has side mirror turn signal indicators and roof side rails. Now, these features do come at a price tag higher than the Value trim, but it does come with a good package. When you have to decide between Value and SEL, it actually comes down to how much you are willing to spend to get the extra features mentioned in SEL.

The Value trim comes with the lowest price tag among all trims for the 2021 Hyundai Tucson. However, price does not necessarily mean that it's bad in a certain way. Hyundai has done quite a commendable job to pack in most of the necessary features for this car to be on roads. Value has a 161-horsepower 2.0L GDI 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission, 17" alloy wheels, and front-wheel drive. Hyundai has put some nice premium features in Value such as forward collision avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, smart cruise control with stop and go, heated front seats, high beam assist, and a few more.

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson is a 5-passenger compact crossover. It benefits SUV and crossover vehicle owners in numerous ways, including a higher seating position, more interior room, and great ability in foul weather or on an unimproved road. Staying true to the advertised tagline - "Confidence in motion," this aggressively designed car will get heads turned at all times. With this car, Hyundai has for sure underlined their popularity on American roads. This 4th generation Hyundai Tucson is available in 6 trims - SE, Value, SEL, Sport, Limited, and Ultimate.

1.1. Introduction to Hyundai Tucson

The third generation offered a different style in terms of design and segment. The wheels are being moved back on the chassis for the 2015-2018 model. The 2019 facelift and the 2022 model change would see the Tucson finally move its segment style to a compact SUV leaving the Tucson's extended wheelbase brother behind. It has offered more interior space compared to previous generations and it was designed and offered in sizes to fit from a compact SUV to a full sized 7 seater.

The second generation changed some things on the Tucson. The extended wheelbase Tucson which was regarded as the Tucson's bigger brother was now renamed the Hyundai Santa Fe, offering a different make from the previous first gen Santa Fe. The second gen also included the Tucson ix which was a rebranding of the main design to fit a different segment in South Korea. The ix35 was the rebranded second gen Tucson worldwide. This generation was where the Tucson saw its most competitive segment style as it would be a whole 2 generations and 11 years before we would see the Hyundai Santa Fe move from a compact crossover segment.

The Hyundai Tucson was first introduced in 2004 and was designed to fit as a competitive crossover sized SUV between the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Hyundai Kona. The first generation lasted until 2009 and was offered in 2 different types: a 4-door compact crossover with a short wheelbase (which was the main design) and a 4-door extended wheelbase (which was regarded as the Tucson's bigger brother and was named the Hyundai Veracruz). The first type fit between the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Hyundai Kona and would later change its segment style into a different design, while the second type was a 6-7 seater and it was designed to still remain as a competitor to the Santa Fe in terms of size and segment but to offer a different style for those that may have found it was similar to the Santa Fe.

The Hyundai Tucson is a compact crossover SUV that is designed mainly for on-road use, though it comes with a certain degree of off-road capability which is available with the all-wheel-drive system. This is a vehicle that offers a quiet and composed ride and feels stable and solid on the highway. It also has easy-to-use cabin controls, an available height-adjustable power liftgate, comfortable front seats, and a smooth ride and acceleration. The Tucson is a good option not just for those who need a two-row SUV for the family, but also for those who don't need a particularly large vehicle and want an easy-to-park, fuel-efficient runabout.

1.2. Comparison between Value and Sel trims

The safety feature has a big comparison. While both trims have front, side, and curtain airbags, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, traction control system, and anti-lock brakes, the SEL trim has a huge improvement with automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection and a forward collision warning system. This feature earned the 2016 Tucson a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A typical saving of a car accident can already outweigh the price difference of these two trims.

Hillstart Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Brake Control (DBC) are only available on the SEL trim, so if you usually drive in terrains, you might want these extra features.

Both trims have a 6-speed automatic transmission, however, only the Value trim has Intelligent Variable Torque Control (IVC), whereas the SEL trim has advanced Intelligent Variable Torque Control (IVC).

There are typical front and rear disc brakes on the Value trim, whereas the SEL trim has a good improvement with front and rear vented disc brakes and a brake assist feature that can help fully utilize braking capacity.

Both Value and SEL have all-wheel drive systems, but there are a few differences that can make a decision-making impact. The SEL trim is $300 more expensive than the Value trim, which can be a big decision-making factor for some people. Though an extra $300 can get you a driver power seat for SEL and a simple passenger seat for Value.

2. Features and Specifications

The Hyundai Tucson SEL, on the other hand, is the upgraded version of the Value model. The SEL model offers an upgrade to LED daytime running lights and even a set of fog lights. The wheels are upgraded from a 17-inch to 18-inch alloy wheels. The interior features are an improvement from the Value model, which include the power driver seat with power lumbar support, the illuminated vanity mirrors, the steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, and the dual front automatic temperature control. The exterior and interior features are a great improvement from the Value model as it makes this car look more like a luxury car. This can really entice the customers even though this car has a $1,550 price increase from the Value model, which retails at $22,600.

The Hyundai Tucson Value variant comes with many features such as 122.4 cu. ft. interior, the touchscreen audio system with six speakers and 160-watt amplifier, the rearview monitor with parking guidance, and the power driver seat with power lumbar support. The safety features that they mention include the Drive Mode Select, which is a feature for maximizing fuel efficiency, the Vehicle Dynamic Control, and the Hill Start Assist Control. The Drive Mode Select has a second level, which is the AWD lock, and it can simulate torque at the wheels. This would be good for families or even for someone going off to college. This is the perfect car for road trips. This car retails at a price of $25,050, making this the cheapest model of the Hyundai Tucson, which is good for those on a budget.

2.1. Key features of Hyundai Tucson Value trim

Performance – Although the value trim may have standard performance quality, the car does host an automatic shift mode at a much lower price than its competitors. This is helpful for those who do not want to pay too much for an automatic shift car. It also may be used by those who are learning to drive to get a feel of how to drive an automatic car. Another feature is that the Tucson value trim has hill start assist control and also has downhill brake control. This is important for those who live in areas of high elevations to prevent the car from backing up on a slope. The downhill brake control is helpful for those driving down a slope to maintain heading speed and also prevents the car from building up too much driving force and may be used to slow down the vehicle to a desired speed. Heated front seats are also available with a 3-level warming option perfect for those cold winter mornings. A steering wheel is also able to be adjusted to the driver's preference with one touch of a lever.

Physical features – The car has a much pocket-friendly price compared to its competitors from other companies. The starting price of a brand new Hyundai Tucson is about $22,700. A few physical features would be that it's a 4-door car with a wide variety of colors to choose from. The SUV is compact with a good size of length. The length of the Tucson is 176.2 inches long with a 105.1-inch wheelbase. The car is pretty wide with a measurement of 72.8 inches and has a height of 65.0 inches. Also, one key thing the Hyundai Tucson value trim has is that all the mirrors on the car have integrated turn signals, making it easier for the driver to signal when making a turn.

2.2. Key features of Hyundai Tucson Sel trim

The key features of the SEL trim include that it comes with everything the Value trim has and more. This trim level will give you that little bit more refined interior. It will also give you some more advanced features as well. The first thing you will notice when you get into a SEL trim is the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. You will also find a power-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support. The SEL trim will give you heated front seats and dual automatic temperature control. Dual automatic temperature control allows the driver and front passenger to set their own climates and the climate controls to hold them. Family and friends traveling in the back seat will appreciate the added rear air vents, rear privacy glass, and power points for charging electronics. The SEL trim will also give you several more advanced safety and driver assistance features. These include a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, and push-button start with keyless entry and a security system. Many of these features are not found in the Value trim or in the competition. A Value package is also available with the SEL trim that gives you a power sunroof and power tailgate. This package is relatively cheap considering what it is giving you. These features make the SEL trim a safe, convenient, and comfortable choice.

2.3. Specifications comparison

Another key difference lies in the safety features, where the SEL has an edge by having an added driver's blind spot mirror and the option for a temporary spare tire. The safety features along with the interior dimensions would suggest that the Value is superior for customers who need an AWD / 2.0L economical Tucson (such as rental car agencies) to be used in rugged outdoor environments, while the SEL will be a better choice for urban customers who just want an economical SUV to drive their family around town. The final key difference lies in the available options; the Value has only one available package option which is $125 and adds an auto-dimming mirror with Homelink and compass, while the SEL offers several package options from $160 to $2,750.

Interior dimensions are where the trims start to greatly differ. While the Value has only one available interior color, it boasts a sound 102.2 interior cubic feet with optional YES Essentials seating material that is eco-friendly and durable with spill protection. The SEL also has spill protection with essentially the same fabric, but it only has 99.6 interior cubic feet and has 2 interior color options. The Value has 3 interior color options. This is likely due to the SEL having an optional sunroof or moonroof which will take away from the interior space. The Value and SEL also have a similar cargo capacity.

Both trims employ a naturally aspirated 161-HP 2.0L inline-4 engine, although the Value has a 6-speed auto shift while the SEL has a (better) CVT. Also, both trims are offered in FWD and AWD options, although the Value has the AWD lock feature to force a 50/50 split in AWD mode, while the SEL likely employs a newer and better AWD system given that there is no lock feature. The Value and SEL come standard with 17" alloy wheels, although the Value can opt for a 19" wheel and tire setup. Both trims also have a similar 16.4-gallon fuel capacity.

3. Performance and Efficiency

As we anticipated, the fuel efficiency leader is the 1.6-liter turbo engine, which achieves 25 MPG city, 30 MPG highway and 27 MPG combined with FWD. AWD models only drop these figures by 1 MPG. Roadshow tested an AWD Limited model and achieved 26 MPG in predominantly highway driving. All engines make use of gasoline, and Tucson capacities vary from 14.3 to 16.4 gallons.

The potent turbocharged engine on the Tucson Sport and Limited comes at a large fuel efficiency expense compared to the base 2.0-liter engine on the base model. Front-wheel drive models with the base engine return 23 MPG city, 30 MPG highway and 26 MPG combined. Adding AWD to this powertrain configuration drops these figures by a single MPG across the board. With its AWD standard, the 2.4-liter engine on the SEL returns 21 MPG city, 26 MPG highway and 23 MPG combined. Roadshow tested the AWD model and it returned an impressive 28 MPG.

Step up to the Tucson Sport or Limited and you'll get a lot better fuel efficiency, using a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. The Sport and Limited get only the more potent engine, incidentally. This engine makes 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, and it's mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Unfortunately, Hyundai can be a bit light on the release, and fuel economy figures for this engine have yet to be released. Given its less than important power increase over the base engine plus the reality that it carries premium price tag, we're not expecting the best efficiency story from this engine, but we'll update when we've got official information. All engines on the Tucson are direct-injected.

The Hyundai Tucson SEL utilizes an even bigger, much more potent 2.4-liter engine with 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. It also uses a six-speed automatic transmission, but all-wheel drive will be optional. The SEL's added power as well as potential for AWD make us assume this is going to be the more well-liked engine choice inside the lineup.

3.1. Engine options and performance of Value trim

The Value and SEL trims of the Tucson have different engine specifications, performance capability, and driving characteristics, but I will mainly be focusing on the engine options and performance of Value and SEL. The Value trim is powered by a 2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine producing 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. It is available with a 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC and can be specified with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The all-wheel drive system is a very capable system having a driver-selectable AWD lock that enhances handling in low traction conditions, and it will also send up to 50% of the torque to the rear wheels when it detects slippage in the front wheels, which is a sophisticated system for a compact SUV. The AWD model also has active cornering control, which will brake the inside rear wheel to aid cornering, which is a rare feature for a compact SUV and works in unison with the AWD to enhance cornering ability. The SEL trim is powered by a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine producing 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. This engine is also mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC and can be specified with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The all-wheel drive system for the SEL is the same as the Value trim. A key performance difference between the two trims is the Value's model has essential powertrain and transmission options for the all-wheel drive are unique to the Value, making it superior to other trims. This makes the Value very appealing for someone looking for a compact SUV with all-wheel drive and the most advanced handling characteristics, as the power and torque of the engine will translate the best with the AWD model. The SEL model uses the same powertrain and transmission options as the Value model. This means there is less of a performance difference between the two, as the SEL model is using a more powerful engine. This also makes the SEL model available with all the AWD equipment more economically viable, as it means you do not have to necessarily have a more powerful engine to get the best handling options for the Tucson.

3.2. Engine options and performance of Sel trim

With the increase of mpg and higher use of AWD system, it is better to have hill start assist and downhill brake control. New trailer pre-wiring is also offered, as mentioned, along with improved towing capabilities. Overall, this engine increase is slightly better for a driver needing more power and better for those looking to do moderate towing.

The SEL model also has an upgraded engine, going from a 2.0L 4-cylinder to a 2.4L 4-cylinder, which will increase the horsepower to 181hp (4000rpm) and torque at 175 lb ft of torque (4000rpm). This will give a slight increase in acceleration and better towing capabilities, but the downside of that towing capabilities will mean more gas use. The value model is stated to get 23mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway, with that coming to a combined 26mpg. With a heavier engine and the AWD system being used for all terrain, it is stated to get a combined 23mpg still using the standard 6-speed automatic transmission.

The SEL trim comes with an all-wheel drive, giving it better performance than the other trims, which come with front-wheel drive as standard. Being a Hyundai Tucson, it is not best to put this car in the situation of trying to off-road, but it still offers an increase in stability. The AWD system is also automatic, which will save confusion of when to put the car into 4x4 and taking the car back to 2-wheel drive mode for highway driving to save gas.

3.3. Fuel efficiency comparison

The most crucial part of the fuel efficiency is engine performance. The Value trim comes equipped with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 161hp and 150lb/ft torque. This engine is available with either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. The 6-speed automatic transmission only comes with the AWD drivetrain and is not available with the FWD drivetrain. However, fuel efficiency is highest with the FWD drivetrain and 6-speed automatic transmission that yields an estimated 23mpg city/28mpg highway. This combination is better fuel efficient than the manual transmission and FWD drivetrain combo by 1mpg for both city and highway and better than the AWD drivetrain by 2mpg for both city and highway. The best fuel efficiency is the primary benefit of the Value 2.0L engine. The cost of purchasing another trim with other features and options will increase. However, Hyundai Tucson offers an engine with the highest fuel efficiency. If fuel efficiency is an important factor, it may be one of the best engines to consider for the buyer. The SUV sale is purchased mostly because it is a family car. Usually, the primary goal of a family car is to transport family and kids to school and to other places. Outstanding combination of safety and top-class fuel efficiency enable comfortable driving, which is another goal when transporting family, and Value 2.0L FWD Automatic Transmission may be one of the best choices for that purpose.

3.4. Handling and ride quality differences

Handling has a major difference between these two trims. The Value has a more responsive steering rack than the SEL trim. Additionally, the Value's steering system is column-mounted, which increases the vehicle's overall steering agility because the steering box is attached to the wheels, meaning the higher the steering ratio, the more responsive the steering is. The SEL has a more traditional steering system with a pinion mounted on the rack, meaning there is less steering agility due to a lower steering rate. Both trims meet with MacPherson strut front suspension and independent multilink rear suspension, meaning that there is no difference with the vehicle's stability or cornering ability. The Tucson Value has a noticeable increase in ride quality over the SEL trim. This is because the 19-inch alloy wheels on the Value have a smaller sidewall on the tires compared to the 17-inch alloy wheels on the SEL. This results in less flex from the tire when impacting rough terrain, thus less vibration transferred to the chassis and less road noise in the cabin. The Value trim is also approximately 30 pounds lighter due to less sound deadening material, even though the Tucson's weight ranges from 3305-3422. This means that the Value has a smoother acceleration because there is less added resistance from the extra weight on the SEL trim. Step-in feel and passenger comfort is pretty much equal on both trims. Both trims have good ingress and egress as well as limited body roll from the vehicle's well-tuned suspension. The only downside to the Value's ride quality is a higher feel of impact to the steering area if you run over a large pothole or debris but overall, the Value's handling and ride quality is a noticeable advantage over the SEL.

4. Price and Value

The Value model has an MSRP of $23,550 with FWD and $24,950 with AWD. Comparatively, the SEL starts at $24,700 with FWD and $26,100 with AWD. The base pricing for the SEL is roughly $1,150 more than the Value. This effectively prices the model $1,000 away from the next trim (the Sport), which has a starting MSRP of $25,900. Despite this, the Value model is the most affordable trim in the lineup. Incentive pricing from Hyundai could further drive the price of the Value model down and lower its price cap when rebate programs are factored in. With a slight difference in starting price, value itself becomes the most important point of comparison between the two models.

Standard to all the Tucson line, both the Value and SEL come standard with a 2-liter inline-4 engine, front-wheel drive, and a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is an available option on both the Value and SEL trims. Because of this, powertrain cost doesn't become a factor when comparing the two models.

4.1. Pricing details for Hyundai Tucson Value

The Value model is $1,000 more expensive of the entry level. It provides many neat features such a hands free smart lift gate, push start and wireless device charging. Meanwhile these features are all very convenient, the most beneficial feature is the hands free smart lift gate. This is to say it opens and closes the lift gate automatically by detecting the key within a certain range. This is very convenient to anyone who has a hand full of groceries or perhaps for someone busy at work. The push start feature will save time switching from the keys as well look more 'new' in today's trends with cars. Wireless device charging is another feature keeping up with the latest technology trends. No more cords laying around and having to connect and disconnect for when you would like to charge your device.

You get advanced driver safety assist system which includes features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision, lane keeping assist and high beam assist in both models. The drive safety assist system is a huge benefit to anyone. It primary helps reduce incidence of traffic accidents only by assisting the driver with better traffic safety. This increased the ability to purchase on the SEL model as it is a very important safety feature for not only you but your family and friends in the vehicle. With a hope crashes can be somewhat minimized, it will contribute to the society in a big context. The longer we can drive safe, the better right?

The Hyundai Tucson Value and SEL differ much in terms of features. To be more specific, the pricing also explains this too well. You get what you pay and vice versa. The Value model is cheaper compared to the SEL model. The cheapest entry price level for Tucson Value is $22,550, whilst the most expensive is $29,050. This isn't too different from the SEL model. The cheapest SEL model costs just $1,000 more than the Value which is sitting at $23,550. The most expensive one pushes it up to $30,650 which its just $1,600 difference than the top priced Value model.

4.2. Pricing details for Hyundai Tucson Sel

An evaluation made on the new features and models above is come to by the use of a mathematical formula. Value is determined as the function of benefits provided and the costs associated with obtaining the benefits. Mathematically, it can be written as V = B - C, where V is value, B is benefits, and C is costs. As such, we will attempt to estimate the value of upgrading from the SE to the SEL model of the 2018 Tucson.

Hyundai has announced that the Tucson for the current year will be available in four different versions, each edition differing in its price and features (Pricing 2018). As such, there are two different types of items for the Tucson, ranging from their base model, the Tucson SE, to the higher-end Limited edition. Pricing information on this analysis will focus on the differences of the 2018 SE and SEL models. For the 2018 edition, the SE model can also be purchased with the AWD or all-wheel drive system, which will add an approximate extra $1300 on top of the original price. The AWD system comes as a standard feature on the SEL model (Pricing 2018). From the data sheet, the pricing information can be estimated as $22,700 for the SE FWD model, $23,500 for the AWD SE model, $24,150 for the SEL model, $24,850 for the SE Plus model, and $27,500 for the Value model (Pricing 2018). Based on the estimations by the car manufacturer, the price range of the SEL model is approximately $3000 more expensive than the SE model. The key issue here is that the key features and benefits provided by the SEL model may be equivalent to the increase in price compared to the SE model. This would mean that the value for money for purchasing the SEL edition as compared to the SE model is quite low.

4.3. Value for money analysis

The Hyundai Tucson Value comes with a 1.6-liter turbo engine, and AWD is another $1400. This engine runs on regular unleaded and is notably more fuel-efficient than the 2.4-liter non-turbo engine in the SEL with 23/28/25 mpg city/highway/combined with FWD or 24/28/25 with AWD versus 21/26/23 with FWD and 21/26/23 with AWD for the 2.4. If you're spending the money on an SEL, that might mildly mitigate the extra cost from fuel. The 2.4 has more power, but the 1.6 is no slouch and the dual-clutch transmission is more responsive than the 2.4's traditional automatic. Both engines require servicing the valve clearance at 60,000 miles, which is somewhat troublesome and expensive. The SEL is more heavily built, with redesigned suspension and steering for better handling, and it's built only in the U.S. and Korea while the Value is built only in Korea. This might be a wash in terms of long-term durability, but the AWD version of the Value is a new release and might have some teething problems, and some find it inconvenient that the product of Hyundai's Alabama factory and the Korean product are mutually exclusive in terms of features and trims.

The value proposition of the Hyundai Tucson Value versus the Hyundai Tucson SEL works out quite differently depending on what you value in a vehicle. The Value has a smaller sticker price, but the two vehicles are more similarly equipped when you adjust for the fact that the Value includes sophisticated safety features that are optional on the SEL. Then again, the SEL has more features, more passenger and cargo space, and a more powerful engine. In that light, the SEL is a lot of vehicle for the money. The two vehicles have the same basic powertrain warranty, but the shorter basic warranty and fewer complimentary maintenance visits on the Value nibble away at the value advantage it would have based on pricing and equipment.