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How Well Does A Hyundai Tucson Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

If you’re planning on buying an American-made Hyundai Tucson, that’s, of course, a relevant question, especially if you live in areas where snow is widespread. Let’s start off with a quick answer.

Hyundai Tucson of the past did face issues in the snow, but the latest models with the improved braking features, driving in the snow has never been better. It comes equipped with some amazing features making it a worthy vehicle to buy when you have a lot of snow driving.

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story; it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have all the aspects discussed in detail, and below we’ll start with a selection of curated comments from owners about the performance of Tucson in snowy conditions.

After that, we’ll take a deep dive into the specifics of this SUV, such as tires, drive systems, and electronic support systems. Finally, we’ll talk about the ground clearance, the weight distribution, and the wheelbase. We’ll finish with a few suggestions for optional traction devices that can provide even more grip. Read on!

Also read: How Many Miles Can A Hyundai Tucson Last?

Experience Of Hyundai Tucson Owners

Like any vehicle, the numbers tell a very vague story about the vehicle’s capability to handle different terrains, and thus numbers alone mean nothing for drivers. The best way to determine whether a vehicle is a good winter-fit or not is to have an opportunity to drive it in winters and snow before drawing any conclusions.

Since Hyundai Tucson is an SUV and, by default, it’s presumed to perform well in winters, there is nothing that can tell the story as transparently as having to experience it hands-on. So far on the internet, there have been quite a few forums where drivers have shared fairly negative feedback about Tucson.

After going through several forums, we have seen that some owner’s reviews for the FWD variants are not that great. And even the AWD suffers in the winter. Let us see what exactly they are saying about Tucson.

My brother has a 4wd Tuscan and admits its very poor in snow, he blames the tyres. I had a look at them and they are M+S tyres, so full winters. I don’t know why it’s poor, he has had previous 4×4’s and even says a Dacia Duster 4×4 is much better. Possibly it is down to TC.


It does fine in the snow like the previous generation tucson. There are some videos of on youtube of the prev gen and current gen. I don’t think there is a modern awd vehicle that is terrible. Are you looking for something specific or are you looking for opinions on whether to buy or not? IMO car doesn’t have any kinks, I haven’t had any problems with the drivetrain thus far.

The transmission is not perfect but it is better than any slushbox I’ve ever driven, except maybe the F30 8speed. Engine is tiny turbo engine so there will be some lag, but it has adequate power. If you’re looking for something that is capable in the snow, this car is more than adequate. Make sure you get some Blizzaks. If you plan on driving on All-seasons, the best awd system in the world won’t help.


Also read: Types Of Fuel A Hyundai Tucson Uses (All Generations)

Does Hyundai Tucson Have Snow Tires?

You get the all-season tires from the factory, which can do pretty good in all types of weather for sure, but they can’t give traction when you are driving in a lot of snow. And no matter what systems you have integrated to prevent your wheels from sliding, you will suffer in winter without snow tires.

If you live in a region that sees a lot of snow, then make sure to put on nice snow tires so the wheels will remain happy with their relationship with the road. Otherwise, they will block their connection with it, and you will lose signal from the road, which will cost you big time.

Why should you go with the snow tires? Well, snow tires have the following characteristics that make them suitable in heavy snow to black ice, and everything in between that winter has to offer.

The Tread Rubber

Extreme cold temperatures cause the tread rubber of an all-season or summer tire to stiffen and become less able to provide sufficient traction. To combat this, the tread rubber compounds of winter tires are composed such that they remain flexible, allowing the tire to grip the road better.

Tread Depth and Patterns

Unique to snow tires are deeper tread depths and unique tread patterns. Deeper tread depths reduce snow buildup and thus provide better traction on the snow. The tread patterns, too, are designed to channel snow and slush and expel water.

Biting Edges

Snow tires have many biting edges and high densities of small slits in their treads that increase the tread surface area, thus increasing grip in wet, icy, and snowy conditions.

Also read: How Well Does A Hyundai Sonata Drive In the Snow?

Have Snow Tires Equipped As Soon As Possible

If you want to buy snow tires, we advise you to use Tirerack. They have a great tool that allows you to find the perfect fit for your exact model, so you won’t have to worry about fitment issues. Furthermore, they also offer free shipping on most of their orders. Check out their store here!

From the owners manual

Snow tires should be equivalent in size and type to the vehicle’s standard tires. Otherwise, the safety and handling of your vehicle may be adversely affected.

Install tire chains only in pairs and on the front tires. It should be noted that installing tire chains on the tires will provide a greater driving force but not prevent side skids. • Do not install studded tires without first checking local and municipal regulations for possible restrictions against their use.

The chains on the front part are for those variants that are FWD, but if you have the AWD variant, then you would have to put these chains on all four wheels.

What Drive System Does A Hyundai Tucson Have?

There are 6 trim levels available in 2021 Tucson. All of them come standard with an FWD, where the power is transferred to the front wheels, and you also have an option to go for the AWD, which is available as an option across all the trim levels.

Although AWD is the preferred drive system, the FWD is not a bad option either. With a set of good snow tires on all four wheels, you will get great traction and stability on snow, and by adding snow chains, the traction will increase even further.

In AWD, the power is transferred to all four tires based on the weight distribution of each wheel. This results in greater stability and substantially improves car handling. Note that AWD is not the same as the 4-wheel drive (4WD), in which the engine transfers equal power to all four wheels and is preferred for trucks and SUVs.

Also read: How Well Does A Hyundai Santa Fe Drive In The Snow?

What Electronics System Help The Hyundai Tucson In The Snow?

Downhill Brake Control DBC

Normally when you are going downhill, you would have to focus on braking and steering simultaneously, but with this amazing system, you would only have to focus on steering, and the system will do the braking for you. This system will not work if the engine is turned off.

Auto Hold

This feature helps keep your Tucson standstill on a slope even when the brakes are not applied. Once the vehicle is at rest, you can push the auto hold button and the Hyundai Tucson to keep its tires firm on the road.


The Anti-lock Braking System is now a standard feature in all modern-day vehicles. Why is ABS so important? This system would ensure that the wheels won’t lock when you slam the brakes, in an emergency, or even in a normal situation. This feature will prevent your tires from sliding, thus increasing traction several notches.

Had it not been for the ABS, hard braking would have locked the wheels while turning and steering at the same time, and if the wheels do get locked and you happen to be turning, then that situation is a recipe for disaster.

You should never disable ABS in any condition. If someone tells you that turning off ABS will help you in the snow, they lie. Without ABS, things will always go sideways. 


ECS stands for Electronic Stability Control. This is one of the most important features that help you maneuver your vehicle in snow. This is the system that saves lives, especially when you are traveling in extreme weather conditions. Keep in mind that cruise control will be disabled when the ECS is in action.

This system is ever needed because so much stuff is being automated, and you are hardly connected with the road.

One way or another, everything has been integrated with electronics, and you won’t be able to tell if the wheels are losing traction. So when the rear end even thinks of going sideways, the ECS kicks in, and the system will maneuver the vehicle in the direction according to the steering input.

In other words, if your steering is tilted to the right, but you are sliding to the left side (understeer), the ECS will make corrections by reducing the speed and adjusting power so that the vehicle can easily go to the right side, just as you originally intended.

Disabling ECS Will Help You In Snow? You should never disable the ESC by any means. There are only two instances where you can turn off the ECS.

  1. If you want to perform the rocking maneuver, where you rock the vehicle back and forth in case you are stuck in snow.
  2. If you want to have an accident.

Other than these two instances, you should never turn it off.


Another system that comes integrated into the ECS is Vehicle Stability Management (VCM). It helps ensure the vehicle stays stable during sudden braking or hard acceleration, whether on slippery mud or very slippery snow.

Hill Start Assist Control

This is one of the best features that help the driver maintain traction even when going up a slippery slope, which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible to climb. The older models have outdated tech, which won’t perform well. However, the latest models have amazing bells and whistles that make the Sonata drive extremely well, even on the snow.

This hill-start assist would automatically apply brakes for approximately 2 seconds and release the brake after 5 seconds or when you give it gas.

Some minor problems are going to be dealt with in this article in detail. Make sure you carry out all the necessary improvements. And after you have made all of those improvements, you will be good to go in the snow.

Ground Clearance (in): 6.4

Ground Clearance plays a vital role in vehicle performance during winters and snow conditions. Hyundai Tucson has a ground clearance of 6.4 inches. This brings it very close to the ground clearance numbers of some mini SUVs.

SUVs are known for higher ground clearance since they are designed to handle all types of different terrains and conditions. They also offer wheels with bigger diameters and coupling with higher ground clearance; they are definite champions of all conditions.

Hyundai Tucson appears to have taken a few clues from SUVs and is offering SUVs like driving dynamics in a midsize-sedan format. The compact sedans offer less than 6 inches in ground clearance and thus should be ideal for conditions like winters and snow. Hyundai Tucson goes against the tide here and offers 6.4 inches of ground clearance.

This easily allows it to drive better in winters and snow by allowing for a somewhat upright stance to the entire vehicle. Higher ground clearance also adds to road visibility and makes it a driver-friendly feature. This creates a higher point of view for the driver and thus enables the driver to have a better drive in winter.

Wheelbase (in): 105.1

The wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and the rear tires. The wheelbase dimensions affect the vehicle’s weight distribution and are a key spec in determining the balance and steering. Having a longer wheelbase means that the vehicle would be more stable at higher speeds.

On the other hand, vehicles with short wheelbase can usually corner faster but are less aerodynamic. In other words, a longer wheelbase translates into more stability because in vehicles with a longer wheelbase, the onset of sliding is delayed, thus giving the driver more time to make adjustments.

Hyundai Tucson has a wheelbase of 105.1 inches. Now the question is, is it any good? To answer this question, we will look at the gigantic Ford-150 that has a wheelbase between 122 – 163 inches depending on the specific model you have, which is the sweet spot for the wheelbase.

When we compare the wheelbase of the Tucson with other vehicles, then it comes out to be rather short, even though it’s an SUV, but the thing to be noted is that it’s a COMPACT cross-over, which by the way, are supposed to be shorter, how much shorter? Even shorter than the Sonata. So this wheelbase is going to be a negative for Tucson.

What Traction Device You Can Use On The Hyundai Tucson?

If you live in an area where a lot of snow tends to still be on the road when you’re about to drive, then you can, of course, buy snow chains to provide the car with more grip. In the owner’s manual of the most recent Tucson, Hyundai gives a few suggestions for these ‘snow traction devices,’ as they like to call them.

There are various options for one to choose from the plethora of available products in the Class S chain cables. For 17 and 18 inches wheels, you should go for the SZ143, and here’s a link for it on Amazon, which is one of the marketplaces where you can easily find quite a few options for Class S cable chains.

The prices are around $ 81.31 for a set of these, and this is one worthy spend. If you have the 19-inch wheel, then you should go for the Z547 here on Amazon.

Happy driving.

Some Precautions from the owner’s manual

When using tire chains:

  • Wrong size chains or improperly installed chains can damage your vehicle’s brake lines, suspension, body and wheels.
  • Use SAE “S” class or wire chains.
  • If you hear noise caused by chains contacting the body, retighten the chain to prevent contact with the vehicle body.
  • To prevent body damage, retighten the chains after driving 0.3~0.6 miles (0.5~1.0 km).
  • Do not use tire chains on vehicles equipped with aluminum wheels. If unavoidable, use a wire type chain.
  • Use wire chains less than 0.59 inch (15 mm) wide to prevent damage to the chain’s connection.