2012 Hyundai Tucson Transmission Problems | Recalls | Reliability

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Robert Wilson

The 2012 Hyundai Tucson offers two engine options: a four-cylinder with a five-speed manual and a more potent four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic.

The base model gets around 20/27 mpg city/highway, while the more powerful engine and automatic transmission combo achieves up to 21/30 mpg, which is competitive in its class.

We conducted a research and found, there are so many complaints on 2012 Tucson especially with it’s transmission and 2 recalls so far.

2012 Tucson Transmission Problems

These issues with the 2012 Hyundai Tucson transmission can vary and may include symptoms like rough shifting, slipping gears, or even complete transmission failure. To fix these problems, several potential fixes may be required, such as transmission fluid flush and refill, software updates, or, in some cases, transmission replacement.

2012 Hyundai Tucson Issues & Complaints

When I first bought this car, it ran smoothly without any issues. I even drove it from Kentucky to California without a problem. However, out of nowhere, the car experienced a catastrophic bearing failure on the freeway, leaving me stranded for the past two months. Unfortunately, I’m now facing a $4,500 engine replacement cost. It has turned into an absolute nightmare! If you’re looking for a long-lasting vehicle, I would advise against buying this one, as my experience with it at 111,000 miles has been far from satisfactory.

Jennifer, Kentucky , USA

I own a 2012 Hyundai Tucson with a 5-speed manual transmission. One notable issue is the extremely short gear ratios, which means you have to rev the engine quite high, around 4000 RPM in 5th gear, just to maintain highway speeds like 80 MPH. This can be quite disappointing. Moreover, the fuel efficiency is also a letdown, averaging around 20-21 MPG. Keep in mind that my car is a manual with an inline-4 engine.

Robert, Florida, USA

I own a 2012 Tucson, and driving this car can be quite challenging. The clutch is stiff and operating it smoothly is a task. First gear is so short that any minor clutch slip results in a jerky ride, akin to a boat swaying at sea. With its low center of gravity, I’d be very hesitant to exceed 80 MPH. Despite its short gears, the car lacks power, and the fuel efficiency is disappointing. Even worse, with just 84,500 miles, it’s been giving me numerous problems.

Mike, Texas, USA

I experienced a recurring issue with the gearbox in my 2012 Hyundai Tucson model, and I wasn’t aware of the poor structural resistance of certain gearbox components. This resulted in multiple, unexpected breakages in rare spots, and unfortunately, these were not covered by the warranty. After some research, I discovered that this is a common problem affecting various Hyundai models, including the Tucson, Hyundai Vision, and i25.

I purchased my 2012 Tucson brand new, and it has now reached 171,000 miles and is still running smoothly. While I’ve encountered a couple of minor transmission problems over the years, regular oil changes and garage storage have kept it in good shape. I used to commute 180 miles daily until recently when I quit my job. Overall, it’s been a great car.

Smith, Nevada, USA

2012 Hyundai Tucson Recalls

Engine and engine cooling
Recall date
Recall no.

Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) is recalling certain 2011-2013 Tucson vehicles. The engine oil pan may leak and, if not addressed, the loss of oil may result in engine damage.
Recall consequence
A damaged engine can increase the risk of a fire or it can cause an engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash.

*** Air bags
Recall date
Recall no.

Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai) is recalling certain model year 2011-2014 Hyundai Tucson vehicles manufactured January 3, 2011, through December 23, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the air bag assembly installed in the steering wheel may come loose from its mounting.

Recall consequence:
An air bag assembly that is not properly mounted may result in an increased risk of injury to the driver in the event of a crash.

Recall action:
Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and tighten the bolts that secure the driver’s air bag assembly, free of charge. The recall began on May 9, 2014.

IIHS Safety Ratings

Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
Side Impact TestGood
Rear Crash ProtectionGood
Roof Strength TestGood
Small Overlap Front Driver TestPoor
Small Overlap Front Passenger TestNot Rated
HeadlightsNot Rated
Front Crash PreventionNot Rated

NHTSA Safety Ratings

Overall Rating4.5
Frontal Crash4
Side Crash4.5

This 2012 model has been impressively reliable since we bought it new in September 2011. It offers great gas mileage on the highway (up to 29 mpg) but around 21 mpg in the city due to its less powerful engine. It’s a PZEV (partial zero-emission vehicle), which offsets its lack of acceleration. Even after 45,000+ miles, it’s still on the original tires and brakes. It’s quieter and smoother than our CRV Honda, and the black paint still looks new.

Jake, Warren MI, USA

We bought our 2012 Tucson around November 2011, and it’s been fantastic. No issues, and it’s enjoyable to drive. While it’s not a speed demon, it handles traffic well. In the city, we consistently get 25 mpg, though it’s a bit better on the highway at 27-28 mpg when cruising at 70-75 mph.

The interior quality is impressive for its price. It looks good, and everything is well-fitted. No rattles or problems so far, even at 15,000 miles.

Jordan, NY, USA

Ranking Analysis

As per our research from various online sources, we found that, the 2012 Hyundai Tucson ranked #5 with an overall score of 8.4 that made it stand out from other Hyundai models.

Vehicle Rating

  • Critics’ Rating 8.6
  • Performance 7.7
  • Interior 7.7
  • Total Cost of Ownership 9.3
  • Safety 8.4

2008 Hyundai Tucson Pros & Cons


  • Attractive, well-equipped interior
  • Good maneuverability


  • Poor rear visibility
  • Limited cargo space
  • Firm ride

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  • Robert Wilson

    Introducing Robert Wilson, your go-to source for automotive technical solutions. With 5 years of industry experience and a mechanical engineering background, Robert's expertise was honed at the heart of Ford Motors in Michigan back in 2010. Join him on this blog as he shares his knowledge and practical fixes to keep your vehicles running at their best.

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