By Steve & Tamami Laser
With so many outstanding choices available in today’s compact crossover market it can be tough to make a decision. We always recommend taking extra time to shop around and test-drive several different models before buying or leasing. For those who may be considering the likes of the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, or Subaru Forester, we suggest adding another vehicle to the shopping list: The new 2016 Hyundai Tucson.
Hyundai has come a long way since the early days of the mid-1980s when it entered the U.S. market. Today, it offers a full line of vehicles from the subcompact Accent to the three-row Santa Fe crossover. And it’s preparing to spin-off a luxury division this year called “Genesis” to compete with the likes of Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
Join us for a drive in the 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited as we test its new turbocharged engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Those who haven’t checked out a Hyundai lately will be pleasantly surprised with the new third-generation Tucson. Starting on the outside, Tucson wears Hyundai’s latest “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0” design that made its debut on the new Genesis…the luxury sedan that’s still being sold under the Hyundai banner…but will soon become a separate model under the Genesis brand.
Let’s take a closer look at the new Tucson in our walkaround video that covers features on the outside, inside, and under the hood.
Hyundai offers four models of the Tucson for 2016: SE, Eco, Sport and Limited. We decided to test the top-line Limited 1.6T. Equipped with the optional Ultimate Package, this example included every high-tech feature available on Tucson with the exception of all-wheel drive.
Our Tucson was dressed with Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille flanked by LED twin-projector headlights, LED headlight accents and LED Daytime Running Lights. Yes, that’s a lot of LEDs, but wait, there’s more. LED door-handle approach lights are also included to make them easier to find in the dark.
Tucson’s wheelbase has been stretched 1.2 inches, overall length is up by 3.0 inches, and width has increased by an inch to give it a more balanced look. Our tester was fitted with sporty 19-inch spoke-style alloy wheels. Low-profile roof rails are well-integrated, while the Z-shaped character line breaks up the monotony of the flanks. It’s a challenge that car designers must deal with to make these tall, boxy vehicles look low and sporty.
The rear view also looks good with LED taillights and twin chrome exhaust tips. Our tester was equipped with the Hands-free Liftgate. With the smart key in a pocket or purse, simply approach the rear of the vehicle and about three seconds later the liftgate will open automatically. This is a great feature when hands are full with groceries, surfboards, boxes or luggage.
A 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) rated at 175 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque is standard on Eco, Sport and Limited models. A 7-speed EcoShift® Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) operates like a manual gearbox without a clutch. During our weeklong test drive, this new powertrain delivered satisfying performance without the turbo lag or clunky shifts we’ve felt on some other vehicles. With most of our driving in the city and hills in our neighborhood, we scored 24 mpg for the week, just one mpg lower than the EPA city rating.
The well-sorted chassis delivers confident ride and handling via MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension. Sachs® dampers and lightweight, hollow stabilizer bars contribute to improved handling along with a unit body made of 50 percent advanced high-strength steel.
Hyundai’s Drive Mode Select is a handy feature that lets the driver select Normal, Eco, and Sport modes. Eco taught us to maintain light, even pressure on the accelerator pedal for the best fuel efficiency. Normal was perfect for everyday driving, while Sport turned up the heat several notches for improved acceleration. In addition to throttle response, each mode also adjusts steering feel and transmission shift points.
There’s an upscale look and feel to the interior thanks to the use of new soft-touch materials. The Limited is fitted with Leather-trimmed, heated and ventilated front seats, plus goodies like dual automatic climate control with a CleanAir Ionizer and auto defogger.
Our tester was equipped with a huge dual-panel panoramic sunroof. The front panel opens to let in fresh air while the fixed rear panel adds a feeling of spaciousness for rear seat passengers. They’re also pampered with heated outboard rear seats and air vents in the floor console.
We liked the design of the instrument panel, and the big, bright and easy to use 8.0-inch touchscreen. Hyundai says display brightness has been increased 33 percent. A split-screen display makes it possible to view map and music data at the same time. A 4.2-inch supervision cluster in front of the driver between the gauges provides easy fingertip access from the steering wheel to pages of information.
Models with the factory navigation system include integrated apps like Pandora® Internet Radio and Yelp®. The latter is optimized for the screen and lets users locate restaurants and shops, reviews, and hours of operation. Select an eatery and the navi system provides directions.
The great sounding premium audio system puts out 405 watts through eight speakers located around the cabin. Our tester included Sirius XM Travel Link® with traffic, sports, weather, stocks, fuel prices, movie information, and more.
The Limited has Hyundai’s next-generation Blue Link® system with high-tech features like remote start/stop, destination search powered by Google®, remote door lock/unlock, car finder, call roadside assistance, and remote climate control. It also includes a free year of Connected Care with services like SOS emergency assistance and maintenance alerts.
There’s lots of room for gear in Tucson’s flexible cargo compartment. With 31.0 cubic feet of space, volume has increased by more than five cubic feet. We liked the dual-level cargo floor and reclining 60/40-split rear seats.
Our Tucson included a suite of safety features that not long ago would be reserved for top-flight luxury cars. The list included Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.
Tucson upholds the traditional Hyundai virtue of value. Our Limited front-drive model starts with an MSRP of $29,900, adding the Ultimate Package, floor mats, and destination for a bottom line of $33,670. Tucson prices begin at $22,700 for the front-drive SE.
Hyundai backs Tucson, and all of its new vehicles, with “America’s Best Warranty.” Coverage includes 10 year or 100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty, 5 year or 60,000-mile Limited New Vehicle Warranty, and 5 year unlimited-mile Roadside Assistance. So if you’re in the market for a compact crossover, be sure to put the new Tucson on your shopping list.
Tucson press fleet vehicle provided by Hyundai Motor America. (Prices and vehicle information applies to models offered in the U.S. at the time of publication. Prices, features and specifications are subject to change without notice by the automaker.)
Story, photos and videos © 2016 CarNichiWa.com