Hyundai Tucson — Completely reworked for 2016

By David Finkelstein

MINNEAPOLIS — Hyundai Motors has generated its sales momentum on the building blocks of reliability, attractive pricing and value for the money, its product mix, and an outstanding warranty that blankets their entire line-up. This tradition carry's forward for 2016 with its latest entry, the 2016 Tucson compact crossover SUV.

The Tucson has been completely re-done, the third generation of this popular and highly refined sport utility vehicle. Tucson is positioned in the compact SUV category with the likes of the Toyota RAV-4, Honda CRV, Nissan Rouge, Mazda CX-5 and the Ford Escape. This crowded segment has had continued growth with sales numbers rising during the first half of 2015 equating to over one-million units sold.

According to Dave Zuchowski, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, “one of every three new vehicles sold in the U.S. is an SUV or crossover, therefore the new Tucson is an important player for the company going forward.”

Along side of the 13 models currently available in Hyundai showrooms nationwide, the new Tucson began arriving at retail outlets in mid July. It offers a modern yet edgy exterior design, a pair of fuel efficient drivetrains to choose from and a stylish interior that is roomier than its predecessor.

A host of advanced safety features will be available including a Lane Departure Warning system, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist, Backup Warning Sensors and Automatic Emergency Braking. Included is a standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System designed to alert drivers if one or more tires are under-inflated, and the tire’s location. And the new Tucson is expected to receive a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Continuing Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design theme, the new Tucson employs refined aesthetics with sculpted body forms and sporty contours for an athletic, bold and striking appearance. The front is dominated by its signature hexagonal-shaped grille assembly which is then enhanced by available high-efficiency LED twin-projector headlights, LED headlight accents and integrated LED Daytime Running Lights.

Additionally, Tucson’s wheelbase has been increased to help with the design proportions, interior flexibility and a smoother ride. For the first time on Tucson, 19-inch alloy wheels are offered with a dynamic spoke design. The vehicles overhead roof cargo rails are sleek and designed with a low-profile for a clean, yet functional appearance. From the rear, a Z-shaped character line above the rear wheel accentuates an aggressive, sporty side profile. The rear angle conveys stability and a wide, sporty stance.

The taillights apply LED technology, creating a premium design element. Duel beveled chrome exhaust tips and a standard rear spoiler add even more sporty cues from the rear view.

On the inside, a premium, extra-wide instrument panel helps to enhance occupants’ overall sense of roominess. The Tucson has two rows of seating and will accommodate up to five occupancies. A stitched, soft-touch pad is located near the driver’s right knee, for better comfort during long commutes. Interior touch points have been upgraded with premium, soft-touch materials. An available full-length panoramic overhead sunroof is a “must to consider” with the purchase of a new Tucson.

Overall, cargo room has been increased to over five cubic feet from the previous model. The rear liftgate opening has been enlarged for greater cargo flexibility plus its now offered with their automatic “hands free” opening feature. The 60/40 rear seatbacks have a greater range of adjustable recline for varying combinations of passengers and cargo.

Base models are equipped with a 2.0-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder engine rated at 164 horsepower. Its coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy for the 2.0 FWD model is rated at 23/city and 31/highway. Depending on the trim level, the Tucson is offered with a new 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder powerplant rated at 175 horsepower. Its engineered to operate on regular grade fuel.

The turbo engine is coupled to a new, first-in-segment seven-speed EcoShift dual-clutch automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy for this powertrain on FWD models is 26 MPG/city and 33 highway.

I was impressed with the performance with both engines during a recent drive opportunity. An advanced, completely seamless and automatic all-wheel-drive system is also offered on select models.

The Tucson global platform offers enhanced driving dynamics with its reworked Sonata unibody chassis. The result is greater ride comfort with improved stability. Optimal ride enhancements are also brought forward due in part to the vehicles stiffer body shell. Steering feel has been improved with a motor-driven power steering system for 2016 as well.

The new Tucson features a standard five-inch color LCD display with rearview camera and touchscreen function. Apple Siri “Eyes Free” integration is now also available. On the navigation-equipped Tucson, popular apps such as Pandora Internet Radio and Yelp are already integrated with the multimedia system.

Also available is a 405-watt, AM/FM/SiriusXM premium audio system with eight speakers.Tucson offers the next-generation of Hyundai Blue Link, with enhanced safety, service and infotainment telematics. Blue Link brings seamless connectivity directly into the car with technology like remote start/stop, destination search powered by Google, remote door lock/unlock, car finder, call roadside assistance, remote climate control and stolen vehicle recovery.

Many of these features can even be controlled via the latest Android Wear smartwatch offerings plus monthly vehicle health reporting and maintenance alerts.The 2016 Tucson is sold in four trim levels: SE, ECO, SPORT and Limited. The base model has an MSRP of $22,700. Its imported from their manufacturing facility in Korea. Hyundai Motors has been selling vehicles stateside since 1985 and have approximately 850 dealerships in the United States.