The market for small to medium-sized cars in North America appears to be on a radical downward spiral. North American consumers are turning to midsize CUV’s and SUV’s to fill the gap and it shouldn’t really come as a surprise. As the population continues to age, the need for easy access into our automobiles is something many deal with. Additionally, it is great to have all that space inside.
But this is not the marketplace Hyundai is chasing with the new Tucson. Today’s younger buyers also require extra storage, plus improved fuel economy and a practical driving experience. On that note, the completely redesigned 2016 Hyundai Tucson offers a sedan-like sport-utility vehicle with a long list of standard amenities and a ride quality that is certain to surprise for all the right reasons.
Two engine choices are available for model year 2016. The first is a carry-over from the previous generation Tucson. It features a 2.0-litre GDI 4-cylinder engine with 164 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 151 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.
The second, and what is certain to garner positive attention in my opinion after a brief test drive on Canada’s west coast, is the 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It produces 175 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,500-4,500 rpm mated to a first-in-the-segment 7-speed Eco-shift automatic transmission. Smooth and quick, it takes the best of shifting through a set of gears while adding the fun of manual shift mode when requested.
Descending a hill, the transmission holds the gear in place with ease, allowing for rapid acceleration and even shifts throughout as we come up the other side. The turbo is quick to respond, quiet and performance driven, though no one should confuse it for anything other than a 4-cylinder. Still, the very slight trade-off in power when compared to a small six cylinder is worth it, especially considering the potential for improved fuel economy.
Handling is as close to a midsize sedan as I can imagine a CUV could be. Road noise is minimal with added insulation and the extensive use of lighter, high-strength steel helps keep weight gain to a minimum. Our test vehicle is equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels that not only look great, but help tackle the paved two-lanes on the B.C. Sunshine Coast with near sporty intentions. All-wheel drive with Active Cornering Control is available for both engine configurations in the new Tucson.
Aerodynamics plays its part to effectively reduce wind noise and improve side buffeting. With its stylized exterior, hexagonal front fascia and clean lines front to back, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson feels stable on elevated Highway 101.
Inside, soft-touch materials are used throughout. The sport bucket seats in front are exceptionally comfortable and there is a pleasant amount of back seat space for up to three.
Storage is never at a premium, with a large center armrest opening, convenient side door pouches, multiple cupholders and a significant rear trunk. There is even a feature that allows you to drop the trunk floor for added space, though the custom-fit floor mat may cause things to tip a bit as it is designed to sit flat. You can’t have everything, I guess.
Several new features include an available proximity power trunk lift that works off the key fob, rather than having to balance and swing your foot under the bumper. Simply approach the rear of the locked vehicle, stand within a specified short distance, wait 3 seconds and watch as the tailgate lifts effortlessly.
Five different models provide a wealth of standard and optional equipment. Starting at $24,399 for the Base, up to the range topping Ultimate at $39,599, first impressions of the new Tucson are nothing but positive and the expectation of selling 1,500 a year in Canada seems well within reach.
2016 Hyundai Tucson
Trim level: Base, Premium, Luxury, Limited and Ultimate
Price as tested (before taxes): $36,649.00 (Limited AWD)
Options on test vehicle: N/A
Configuration: front-engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.6L inline 4cyl turbo/ 7-spd automatic
Power/torque: 175 hp/ 195 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): premium (62L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): city: 9.9, hwy: 8.4 L/100 Km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 8.9 L/100 km
Warranties: 5-years/100,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Volkswagen Touareg
- Excellent engine and transmission performance
- For now, Hyundai takes the lead in the small-medium size CUV race
- Fuel economy is average
- Top models get a little pricey