By on July 21, 2015

2016 Hyundai Tucson (5 of 7)

When you are one of the world’s largest automakers, deep in what is a healthy growth period in American automotive sales, and you can’t muster sales gains … well, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.

This is the situation in which Hyundai finds itself.

After entering the U.S. utility market in 2000 with the Santa Fe, the Korean automaker has never fully expanded a solid line of compelling crossovers and SUVs to tantalize buyers. Instead, Hyundai has focused on building their quasi-luxury Genesis sub-brand as they crank out compact car after subcompact car, and growing when non-utility volume was good. Now, not so much. Utilities are the present and future.

Hyundai’s lineup is getting better, mind you, but there are still gaps. Compounding Hyundai’s sales woes is its smallest offroader offering — the Tucson — wearing age in not-the-most flattering of ways.

A little late to the party, Hyundai is looking to right the ship with a new Tucson. While the third-generation model looks good on the outside, it must be more than a pretty face if it wants to take on the Japanese army of CR-RAVs and their ilk.

The Breakdown

2016 Hyundai Tucson

2.0-liter GDI, naturally aspirated, DOHC, four-cylinder, all-aluminum with CVVT, direct injection
164 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, 151 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm

1.6-liter Turbo-GDI, DOHC, four-cylinder, all-aluminum with CVVT, direct injection
175 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, 195 lb-ft at 1,500-4,500 rpm

6-speed automatic with OD lock-up torque converter (2.0)
7-speed “EcoShift” dual-clutch automatic [automated manual] (1.6T)

Fuel Economy Ratings (city/highway/combined)
2.0 FWD: 23/31/26
1.6T FWD: 25/30/27
1.6T FWD Eco: 26/33/29
2.0 AWD: 21/26/23
1.6T AWD: 24/28/26
1.6T AWD Eco: 25/31/27

SE (2.0)
Eco, Sport, and Limited (1.6T)

MSRPs (before freight of $895)
SE: FWD – $22,700, AWD – $24,100
Eco: FWD – $24,150, AWD – $25,550
Sport: FWD – $26,150, AWD – $27,550
Limited: FWD – $29,900, AWD – $31,300

2015 Tucson

Before we get into the new Tucson, let’s talk about the second-generation model, because it’s critical to understand one very important aspect of the outgoing version.

The second-generation Tucson — bless its heart — wears a fascia that’s the automotive embodiment of a cleft lip.

When your competition is oh-so-much better looking, it’s no wonder that Hyundai’s SUV sales are down, down, down. Hyundai says a “proliferation of new models” from competitors is one of the reasons their CUV sales are down 14.5 percent so far this year. All those new models are also more pleasing to the eye — by a very considerable margin — than the outgoing Tucson.

However, the new Tucson is what happens when all the UNICEF-funded doctors come into your village and fix all the deformities.

For one thing, the third-generation Tucson ditches its current-generation Elantra design lineage and now sports a face closely resembling its bigger brother Santa Fe, itself wearing a rather trim suit around its decidedly crossover bones.

2016 Hyundai Tucson (1 of 7)

Up front is Hyundai’s hexagonal grille that meets up directly with the headlights a la Ford Edge, Mazda CX-3 and others. The three bars extending across the grille tie the new Tucson together with the Santa Fe, while this smaller model’s trimmer headlight shape evokes a lighter, more sprightly and active persona. Three headlight configurations — projector with LED accents or LED daytime runners, full LED lamps, and full HID lamps with steerable beams — are offered depending on trim.

In profile, body cladding flows from the front bumper, follows the asymmetrical wheel wells wrapped around either 17- or 19-inch wheels, and eventually makes its way to the rear uninterrupted. The bentline appears ever-so-slightly higher than the outgoing model, though the Hofmeister kink at the end is tighter and more aggressive instead of the outgoing model’s long and swoopy execution. With an exterior designed in Europe, it should come as no surprise there’s some Germanic influence in the new cute ‘ute.

2016 Hyundai Tucson (3 of 7)

At the rear, the lighting shape and placement is almost identical to the Kia Sportage. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — the Kia is a looker — but if Hyundai wanted something more distinct, they should have pushed their own design just a tad bit further. On the other hand, the second-generation Tucson was distinct to a fault and handsome as a beaten owl, so there’s that.

2016 Hyundai TucsonInterior
Inside, the Tucson has made great strides in quality of materials, but all is not perfect.

The top-trim Limited examples of the Tucson in which I spent my day were fitted with leather seats, a full assortment of infotainment goodies and plastics that were pleasing to touch. However, while many deride “sea of black” interiors from the likes of BMW and others, nothing prepared me for the “single shade of charcoal” in our Tucson testers. Without any noticeable sheen, the interior has an air of surrender to it. Every plastic and leather panel, save the infotainment/vent surround and some of the shinier parts, were the exact same, dull shade of grey. At least there wasn’t 50.

That said, there are many buttons that (nearly) all make sense and Hyundai’s infotainment system with Blue Link is top notch. Heated seats are available for front and rear, and ventilated chairs are available up front exclusively. The 10-way driver and 8-way passenger seats are comfortable, as one should expect in a top-trim offering, and the instrument cluster is simple yet full-featured with its 4.2-inch color LCD screen sitting between the two large speed and rev-counter dials.

Improved NVH and safety are also in the newest ute’s game plan as the interior panels hide an increased usage of high-strength steel to stiffen chassis rigidity; front, side and curtain airbags for safety in a crash (knee airbags are missing, something Hyundai should consider addressing in the future); as well as a new load path for the driver’s side foot well for crush protection.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 11.23.15 AMThat last addition is interesting and comes scarily close to a “teaching to the test” philosophy.

The new small overlap crash test that’s caught many manufacturers is a tough nut to crack, especially in smaller vehicles with less frontal volume. This load path helps pass that test, but why Hyundai didn’t put it on the passenger side as well is baffling.

Well, maybe not. As you see, the small overlap test is only performed on the driver’s side. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Sure, the majority of small overlap-style crashes are likely to happen on the driver’s side, but a load path for the passenger foot well likely wouldn’t hurt.

Hyundai reached out to clarify the passenger side also has a foot well load path for occupant protection. However, this was not detailed in the presentation on the day of the drive. Sorry for the confusion.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

There’s not much new to talk about with Hyundai’s infotainment system. An enhanced UI is displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen and features the automaker’s Blue Link connected features. One new addition is an integrated Yelp app that allows you to bring up fake recommendations of restaurants in your area. Other telematics features, such as remote vehicle start and car maintenance notifications, are also included in the Blue Link service.

Audio quality in the top-trim Limited model is on par with others in its class, even without leveraging well-known audio brand logos to affix to the speakers and head unit.

2016 Hyundai Tucson (7 of 7)

Under that new sheet metal is an all-new (for Tucson) 1.6-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with direct injection and CVVT. With only 175 horsepower compared to the base engine’s 164 horses, one might think the premium option is underpowered, and they might be a little bit right.

The 1.6T’s claim of 195 lb-ft of torque is the bigger news here and it’s the measurement you feel most on the butt dyno. However, in passing maneuvers, the force-fed mill doesn’t instill the same confidence in the driver as the Escape’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost or even the 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated, SkyActiv four-cylinder engine found in the Mazda CX-5. It’s competent, but a little more displacement would go a long way to widening the gap between the Tucson’s two mills and make the top offering feel more special.

Sending power to the front or all four wheels in 1.6T-powered models is a seven-speed DCT that’s incredibly smooth once you get going. From a standing start, there’s only the slightest of hiccups from the automated-manual gearbox when it realizes you’re requesting forward momentum. The SE model, powered by the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder, gets a six-speed automatic as its only transmission. No manuals here, folks.

Together, the 1.6T and DCT deliver better fuel economy than the base model-only 2.0-liter four pot. While the entry engine delivers 26 mpg combined for front-wheel drive models, Sport and Limited trims with the 1.6T give 27 mpg while Eco models stretch a tank even farther to 29 mpg (the increased fuel economy is mostly down to tires, we were told, but there are other tweaks in the Eco model as well).

The Tucson is equipped with user-selectable drive modes, but you’re just best to leave those alone. Nobody drives their compact CUV around town in Sport mode unless they: 1) don’t know what it does and 2) are too daft to figure it out.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

If you didn’t know it, you’d think you were driving in the Mazda CX-5 as far as the ride quality is concerned. Hyundai is finally (in the last couple of years) starting to take suspension tuning seriously to provide a more pleasurable and comfortable ride. That said, it demolishes the hard-as-a-rock ride in the RAV4.

Our driving was mostly limited to the straight, long roads of Minnesota and Wisconsin, but there was a stretch of gravel thrown in for good measure. The unpaved road — probably the smoothest gravel road in the known universe — didn’t provide much of a challenge for the utility. However, one thing was noticeable: it was almost dead quiet inside.

Sure, you could hear the occasional piece of gravel bang about the Tucson’s underside, but you could also have a conversation without straining your vocal chords.

As stated earlier, the 1.6T could use a tad more oomph — or maybe could communicate the torque a little more to remind you it’s the “premium” engine offering.

Even with all the criticisms above, the Tucson is now a solid contender — if, for the updated styling alone — compared to its predecessor. However, Hyundai will continue to beat the value and packaging drum, as they should. In no other utility, especially the much-praised Mazda CX-5, do you get this sheer abundance of equipment. If you are looking for value and choice (minus a manual transmission), this is the answer, and you no longer need to sacrifice good looks to get it.

Will it right the sales ship at Hyundai? That’s another article entirely.

Additional photography provided by David Tracy of Jalopnik and the manufacturer.

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66 Comments on “2016 Hyundai Tucson Review – Hope On Four Wheels...”

  • avatar

    Hyundai’s CUV sales problem boils down to 2 things – not enough units being allocated to the US and no deals for the customers. Go to any Hyundai lot and you will see and endless sea of Sonatas and Elantras, everything else including the CUV’s will be tucked in a corner. Hyundai clearly only wants to sell Sonatas and Elantras, and for most of my 6 years selling Hyundai, the low interest rate financing or cheap leases just weren’t applied to the crossovers. For the customers who noticed, Hyundai’s CUV’s sticker for $$thousands less the competitors right out of the gate, with comparable features, so they end up being good values. Hopefully Hyundai can produce enough of these new Tucsons to make a difference in their sales.

    • 0 avatar

      According to C&D, the new Hyundai factory in Europe will let the factory that makes the Tucson in Korea export more cars to the US. Supposedly it should be enough to double the number of Tucson’s sold.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s what Hyundai reps said in the morning presentation before the drive. The Czech factory will supply Europe and the S. Korean factory capacity will be freed up a bit more for U.S.-bound units.

      • 0 avatar

        Hyundai’s Czech factory has been in operation since 2008, but they did expand ix35/Tucson production so now the Ulsan plant producing the Tucson won’t have to supply Europe and the 45k or so units previously allotted to the EU market is now designated for the US (still won’t be enough).

        Hyundai really has let the ball drop with regard to CUVs.

        Not only does it have one of the smallest lineups of CUVs/SUVs, it doesn’t have the production capacity necessary for the CUVs it does have in its lineup.

        Neither does Kia for that matter but they should be in much better shape (at least for the new Sportage) when their new Mexico plant goes online (still, they probably would like to see Hyundai take up production of the Santa Fe Sport rather than rely on Kia’s GA plant).

    • 0 avatar

      No deals for customers is a bit of a misnomer – we bought a 2014 Santa Fe last fall used, but looked at both new and pre-owned in our shopping. Our local dealer was more than happy go into holdback plus incentives on the new ones with minimal negotiation, which amounted to around $5k off sticker price.

      We ended up with a pre-owned one though because we found a fully equipped Limited in the color combo we wanted (white with saddle leather) with 20k on it for $28.5k, which was too good a deal to pass up.

  • avatar

    Hyundai was once a rising star, since they gave consumers 85% of the reliability (during warranty period) of Toyota and Honda, and about 85% of the driving experience and/or comfort and/or refinement, while offering more standard equipment, for 70% of the real world transaction price.

    Hyundai is now going to shrink its market share in relative terms, since it offers practically no price advantage (in fact, low to mid spec Camry or Accord is going to be LESS $$$ than a Sonata, and the same is true of respective CUVs), it hasn’t closed the gap in reliability/durability with Honda or Toyota, since most of its vehicles (Sonata & Genesis Sedan exclude) have inferior ride quality compared to competitors, since getting the benefits of the famous (or infamous?) 10 year/100,000 mile warranty (powertrain) can be difficult if not impossible, its interiors still smell like a model airplane assembly line while parked in the hot sun, and since some of its CUVs (the hot spot in the market), such as the Tucson, ride like ox carts.

    Why would any sensible human buy a Sonata for 21k when Honda is blowing out better Accords & Toyota is blowing out better Camrys, both with far more reliable/durable engines, and now with just as many standard features, for either the same price or LESS? (same is true of competing CUVs).

    • 0 avatar

      Up until recently the Sonata looked much, much, much better.

      I would look at a current gen Elantra over a Civic for the same reason.

      For once you make some good points though.

      • 0 avatar

        Disagree – the new Sonata is better looking.

        The previous model had was overly busy, esp. at the front end.

        While Hyundai went a bit too conservative in certain areas, the overall design is more cohesive and much less polarizing (and looks better in real life than in photos).

        The only real step back was in the design of the greenhouse/roofline – where the previous Sonata was more striking.

        But with the less rakish roofline/greenhouse – the Sonata now has more rear passenger headroom.

        Of the current midsizers, aside from the outgoing Optima, like the greenhouse of the 200 the best, but in order achieve that “style” – Chrysler had to sacrifice rear head room (which has been a complaint in reviews).

        For the refresh, Hyundai would just need to better reshape the grill and headlights (and maybe the taillights – not bad, but could be better).

      • 0 avatar

        Disagree – the new Sonata is better looking.

        The previous model was overly busy, esp. at the front end.

        While Hyundai went a bit too conservative in certain areas, the overall design is more cohesive and much less polarizing (and looks better in real life than in photos).

        The only real step back was in the design of the greenhouse – where the previous Sonata was more striking.

        But with the less aggressive greenhouse and roof-line – the Sonata now has more rear passenger headroom.

        Of the current midsize sedans, aside from the outgoing Optima, like the greenhouse of the 200 the best, but in order achieve that “style” – Chrysler had to sacrifice rear head room (which has been a complaint in reviews).

        For the refresh, Hyundai would just need to better reshape the grill and headlights (and maybe the taillights – not bad, but could be better).

    • 0 avatar

      Well summarized.
      While BOJ printing money at full throttle to de value Yen, Korea can not do the same.
      it is a capital short nation who has to borrow foreign money to keep invest and run the country, printing Won and lowering interest rate will instantly kill them, by dis attracting those investors.
      When FRB raise the rate in near future, that kind of investment will flow back from emerging country, real pain will start there.

    • 0 avatar

      As with your repeated diatribes on Cadillac, you are once again wrong.

      The outgoing 3G Optima saw a pretty hefty price hike over the 2G Optima and yet sales more than tripled (once US production started); Kia probably could sell more Optimas (and Sorentos) if they expanded production, but hampered by having to build the SF Sport for Hyundai at their GA plant.

      In addition, the Optima has a higher ATP than the Sonata, Altima, Camry and for some months, the Accord – as the SX and SX-L trims sell well.

      The SX and SX-L trims also sell well for the Sorento and Sedona.

      Despite the price hike on the current Sorento, it is selling as well as it can (within its capacity constraints) at a higher pricepoint and ATP.

      Across the pond in the UK, the Sorento within 3 months passed its annual sales goal with 40% of sales comprised of the top trim (which starts at $65k in US dollars).

      When the Elantra was newer, it had an ATP that was $500 higher than the Civic and $1,500 higher than the Corolla.

      Sure Sonata sales are down about 8% for the year, but Hyundai hasn’t been willing to quite match the discounts that Toyota, Nissan and Chrysler have been offering on their midsize sedans, not to mention rental fleet sales of those 3.

      The same applies to Honda with the Accord and Accord sales are down 18% for the year (while Honda has increased discounting on the Accord, not willing to match Toyota, Nissan and Chrysler).

      As for “better” Camrys – have yet to see a comparison test/rankings where the Camry beats the Sonata (the old, outgoing Optima still beats the Camry in a number tests/comparisons).

      • 0 avatar

        Well, you have your biases. The truth is:

        And the page title is “Hyundai global sales fall for third straight month”

        If Hyundai had not spent $10 billion, yes billion, on their single headquarters building 6 months ago, causing a shareholder revolt that they somehow survived, they would have some money to invest in the actual business.

        That’s the point.

        • 0 avatar

          What bias?

          Are any of the FACTS I stated incorrect?

          Yes – global sales are down b/c H/K have a big presence in the BRIC markets – which, aside from India, are experiencing sluggish auto sales for various reasons.

          GM and VW are also experiencing the same (Audi is lending financial support to its dealers in China).

          The one plus is the Indian market where Hyundai, with Maruti-Suzuki, is one of the leading brands (and that’s even w/o the new Creta CUV which just launched in India).

          And even in Russia, while sales have fallen due to the financial crisis – H/K have increased market-share.

          So are there problem areas – yes, but most of it has to do with the financial situations in certain markets, as well as the high valuation for the Won.

          But even with their limited CUV capacity (something that really won’t be partially rectified until Kia’s Mexico plant goes online; the Mexico plant will also help Forte sales by increasing supply), H/K sales are still on track for a record year in the US (adding 60k in sales) and Europe.

          Once they add CUV capacity (much less add to their limited CUV lineups) – should see better growth for the US and European markets.

          CUVs only make about 20% of H/K’s US sales where for the rest of the industry, CUV/SUV/truck sales now make up nearly 50%.

          Hyundai, in particular, was too focused on China, when it should have built another NA plant (to build crossovers) a couple of yrs ago.

    • 0 avatar

      “Why would any sensible human buy a Sonata for 21k when Honda is blowing out better Accords & Toyota is blowing out better Camrys, both with far more reliable/durable engines, and now with just as many standard features, for either the same price or LESS?”

      I bought a Sonata for 21k. It has heated leather, 8″ nav, blind spot detection, cross-traffic, big sound system, dual zone climate control, remote start, keyless entry / pushbutton start, Android Auto support, walk-up auto trunk opening, and a bunch of other features I’ve forgotten. Accords, Camrys, and Fusions at the same price point had NONE of those things. Accords, Camrys, and Fusions with those options (at least, the ones that were available; several aren’t on any of its competitors at any price) were at *least* $8k more.

      I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but it doesn’t wash with my experience. The Sonata was really far down my shopping list when I started looking, but the price / feature set was so absurdly ahead of the competition that I couldn’t ignore it. And the Sonata’s demerits vs the competition, though extant, are relatively mild.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree until Hyundai and Kia started honoring their warranties. I mean metal shards in the GDI engine Sonata and $4500 worth of parts, short block, valves and complete rework done in a month period.

  • avatar

    if you intended “direct infection” versus “direct injection” i think the infection should stay.

  • avatar

    I’m starting to have trouble telling the new Hyundai C/SUV’s from the new Ford C/SUV’s. The grill designs are strikingly similar, particularly on the new Edge and the Sante Fe and now this Tuscon. They all could have come out of the same design studio.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed. I think the first vehicle to really have it was the 2013 Santa Fe Sport. The new 2015 Edge and the Santa Fe Sport, in particular, look strikingly similar.

      • 0 avatar

        Until you get inside and drive it. The Edge feels two generations ahead.

        The rear ends look way different too.

        • 0 avatar

          That it does. I would certainly pick an Edge (or a Murano) over a Santa Fe Sport.

          Of course each of those also costs a lot more, with the Edge topping out around $46K (which *has* to be somewhere in MKX territory).

          • 0 avatar

            If the Santa Fe Sport had a V-6 option, I would debate you on this point, but after just getting out of the Murano last week…

          • 0 avatar

            Well $46K will get you a 2016 MKX with the 2.7TT, AWD, and a mid-level package with BLIS, Nav, Power liftgate, and some other goodies. I wouldn’t buy an Edge at that price because the MKX is better. The Edge would have some better tech content, and bigger wheels, but the MKX is a better value at that price.

            Also, for that price, I don’t know why anyone would bother with an MKC.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            I have been very disappointed at how our 2010 Edge has aged since we bought it new in 2009. At 100k miles, where our Japanese-designed vehicles are just pressing into early middle age, the Edge has needed several expensive repairs, mostly with the cooling system. It also drives roughly – heavy, pondering. We heading back to the Japanese pretty soon I think.

          • 0 avatar

            bball might disagree, and it’s probably b/c he’s had good luck with his Ford products, but very few people I know who’ve bought particular Ford products (especially Focus, Edge, Escape, Fusion) have had good reliability experiences.

            Powershift transmissions, ecoboost motors, and electric/electronic issues plague those models, and the Edge seems particularly fragile.

  • avatar

    Very few compelling reasons to choose this over any other unless visiting your Hyundai dealer is a pleasant experience and you enjoy the piece of mind of the warranty. (Especially when GM is actually shortening its warranty.)

    • 0 avatar

      I think he just listed some very compelling reasons. The new Tucson appears to be an extremely competitive crossover. Now if you have anti-Hyundai prejudice, then…no…don’t buy it.

      • 0 avatar

        I guess the opinions of the automotive press means nothing.

        Most have put this up there with the CX-5 (with the nod to the Mazda for handling; the Tucson doesn’t quite have the steering feel down yet) with the CR-V being the best bet for those who want the most utility.

      • 0 avatar

        I bought 2016 Tucson and nothing but trouble with the transmission since day 1. The issue is that you have to rev the engine very hard (4k RPM’s) from dead stop and car barely moves (and no, parking brake isn’t on). Problem comes and goes and Hyundai keeps telling me this is normal-3 service visits later. After doing Google search, turns out this is a big problem for Tucson 1.6turbo. YouTube has dozens of videos with same problem. An accident waiting to happen. I do not recommend the purchase of the Tucson 1.6t, especially with Hyundai sticking their heads in the sand about the issue. Please post so consumers know about this.

        Rich T.

  • avatar

    I think you’re being a bit harsh on the outgoing Tucson. It’s perfectly decent and tidy-looking. However, it’s also one of the oldest compact crossovers on the market (along with the GM Theta twins) and looks it. If there’s one vehicle that has a “cleft lip”, it would doubtless be the refreshed Toyota Yaris.

    Between the new Genesis, Sonata and now Tucson, I’m pleased to see that Hyundai is starting to sweat the details when it comes to suspension setups and NVH. That’s a big issue I have with our 2012 Sonata…it just rides harshly and you have absolutely *no* idea which direction the wheels are pointing. It also lets in too much noise at highway speeds, IMO.

    I also like that Hyundai’s corporate design language is maturing. I like it a lot better than the swoopy Fluidic Sculpture 1.0, which I don’t think has aged particularly well on anything but the Elantra.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think I am being *overly* harsh. Whenever you read a comparison of compact SUVs, the Tucson is rarely mentioned. It’s been completely forgotten by most of the automotive press.

      The Yaris isn’t bad … but, the Scion iA. Woof.

      Fluidic Sculpture 1.0 fulfilled its intended purpose — make a big splash right away and show Hyundai could design … something. It was polarizing from the get-go which brought potential customers into dealers. Hyundai could care less if it ages well. The new Sonata, which is a helluva lot more conservative, isn’t generating the same discussion, but will likely age much, much better.

      • 0 avatar

        I meant more appearance-wise. The current Tucson stopped being competitive some time ago, especially with the onslaught of new or redesigned competitors that arrived in the 2013 and 2014 model years; I agree with you there. But it’s not really *ugly*…

        The Escape, on the other hand, is one of the best vehicles in the segment as far as features, comfort and driving dynamics, but it is *definitely* ugly. Too many creases. And it looks unflatteringly narrow. Then again, it’s a very popular choice, so my opinion seems to be the minority.

      • 0 avatar

        I do disagree with your comments about the monochrome interior aside from the general criticisms which apply to “black” interiors (much rather have 1 or 2 shades of charcoal/black than too many).

        This, of course, can be rectified by going with a different interior color scheme.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know about that.

      Within the prior generation Hyundai lineup – the Tucson was the least compelling (starting with the worst styling).

      Granted, it was the 1st of that generation – so the other models saw improvements as they came along.

      But oddly enough, the outgoing Tucson/ix35 is still pretty popular in markets like Europe and Australia (which is why supply to the US market had been limited to around 46k/yr).

      The new Tucson is a huge, huge improvement.

      So much so – that unless one really needed the extra space of the SF Sport, would much rather get the Tucson.

  • avatar

    This car sounds tempting, but I’m not real enthused with the idea of buying a clean-sheet turbocharged engine the first year out of the gate… seem to be a lot of “teething” problems with new engines lately.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, it’s the same engine as in the Veloster Turbo, which has been around since MY2013, but detuned somewhat for “Eco” duty. This “Eco” powertrain with its 7-speed DSG is also the same setup that’s in the 2015 Sonata Eco, as well. I’m sure the engine family itself was around prior to 2013.

      But the DSG, yes, that gives me pause…even though in both the Sonata and the upcoming Tucson, it’s the one to go for.

      At least Hyundai has that super-long powertrain warranty for new cars.

      • 0 avatar

        Still a bit leery about turbo engines, but Hyundai has had some time to work out the kinks (being one of the early movers to turbo powerplants along with Ford).

        Probably would wait a couple of yrs to see if any real issues arise with the DCT – been available in the Sonata for about a year and half with no major issues detected as of yet.

  • avatar

    This transformation works.


    • 0 avatar

      Actually, being compact, the Sportage and Tucson share their architecture with Hyundai/Kia’s smaller cars, namely the Elantra and Forte. I know the old Santa Fe and Sorento were related to the Optima and Sonata from two generations ago; I’m not sure if the new Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport and Sorento are…

      That Mazda transformation isn’t quite right either. The CX-5 is probably closely related to the Mazda3. It certainly isn’t a derivative of the ancient Mazda5. However, the departed CX-7 shared some of its architecture with the Mazda5. The old Mazda6 and the Mazda CX-9 were related because they shared Ford’s mid-sized CD3 platform. And the new subcompact CX-3 is *probably* closest to the Mazda2/Scion iA. The upcoming redesigned CX-9 will probably be in some way related to the latest (2014-present) Mazda6. So basically, it’s more like MazdaX = CX-X+N, where 1<=N<=3.

      But yes, the Escape is a Focus on stilts.

    • 0 avatar

      I would bet $1,000 that the average person would have no clue what is an Escape and what is a Tucson from a distance of 50 feet, badges covered.

      Give it a shot:

  • avatar

    Makes the crv look like a granny mobile.

    • 0 avatar

      There are a lot of grannys with money out there…

      • 0 avatar

        Very true.

        I actually like the recent refresh on the CR-V, especially with those LED pipetes. I thought the pre-facelift was cheap-feeling, much like the 2012 Civic, and that the updated one is more like the CR-V Honda wanted to build all along.

        Although I don’t get excited about the CR-V—especially because I can’t drive a block without encountering one—I admire it. It just does everything right, like the inclusion of a low cargo floor (are you listening, Jeep Cherokee?) for ease of loading and unloading.

        • 0 avatar

          The floor is high in the Cherokee because of the full sized spare tire. Drop it lower and you’re pushing everything down; not doing any favors for the “off road” crowd.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s simply a consequence of taking a car platform and engineering in enough ground clearance and articulation to make it a reasonable offload vehicle. You have to make compromises somewhere. There’s no free lunch, as they say.

    • 0 avatar

      The previous CR-V had atrocious styling (esp. the front dual-grill clip) but that didn’t exactly prevent it from being a big seller.

  • avatar

    Timely article… my parents just bought an Escape. They traded in a Sonata so the Hyundai option was on their list to check out. They claimed the Tucson was too small inside, same with Rouge. My father is 6’3″ and the steering wheel was in his lap. As noted here they too found the RAV4 was way too stiff, to the point of being bone jarring. The Mazda took top honors in seat comfort and driving dynamics. Even my mother who can’t spell understeer felt the Mazda “drove” the best. The CR-V almost won them over, but Escape had memory seats and came with a light colored interior option which sealed the deal for them.

  • avatar

    Ewww… Korean Cherokee.

    Only Honda has any sense of refinement and dignity in its crossover designs and I’d bet they’re working the stylists overtime to lose even that. Well, VW does, too, but they’re VW.

    Curse my species, garish sells.

  • avatar

    Mark, that’s a great point about “teaching to the test” regarding crash testing. I thought it was really telling when the new small overlap test came out. Previously, pretty much everything was an IIHS “top safety pick” because manufacturers knew how to build a car that would ace those tests. The small overlap test pointed out the manufacturers who were “teaching to the test”. It turned out that most of them were. But it was notable that:

    1) all Volvo models (even the ancient XC90) received good scores;
    2) all Subaru models had at least acceptable, and generally good scores;
    3) the Honda models that advertised ACE (advanced compatibility engineering) did very well (Accord, Civic); the ones that didn’t (Fit, CR-V(pre-refresh), Pilot) performed very poorly.

    Other manufacturers’ existing models were a mixed bag (MB, Nissan). I’m most skeptical of manufacturers who quickly rushed out updates to their products. For example: Toyota has a number of models that they either updated after a poor result (Camry–received a 2014.5 model year update to become “acceptable”) or delayed testing until they could make structural changes (e.g. Prius, Sienna). It makes me wonder whether the car is actually safer in the real world, or just better at passing a test.

    • 0 avatar

      All very true. Two notable failures in the small offset test have been the Audi A4 and the Kia Forte. There’s no reason to even consider them because of it.

      Instead of going through the IIHS website one by one, which is pretty awful, spend a few bucks on CR annual autos issue. They list all vehicles on sale and won’t recommend ones that fail the small offset test. There’s plenty of other vehicles that do, almost all of them, so plenty of choice.

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota had requested a delay in testing and/or a retest for several models and even then they wouldn’t score well (but it seems Toyota has finally gotten the small overlap test corrected on most of those models).

      • 0 avatar

        Did Toyota run over your cat, or are you just wishing that more of the Toyota dealership customers would buy something from you, instead?

        At some point, you need to disclose your relationship to Hyundai. It’s pretty obvious that you have some sort of Google Alert set up for whenever Hyundai is a keyword.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m 100% convinced and would bet a large sum of money that bd2 either sells Hyundai vehicles, or otherwise has a vested interest in promoting them, reflexively.

          I am not kidding or being malicious. I make this observation based on the reasons you set forth.

        • 0 avatar

          Sorry to disappoint – but have zero relation ship with Hyundai or any other automaker.

          So further expounding on what ctg brought up is a problem? (Gee, I thought more info. was a good thing?).

          And please, my posting this info. is NOTHING compared to DW and his posts about GM (and some other automakers).

          Guess that means he must work for Toyota or Ford (esp. when he keeps repeating that Toyota makes class-leading cars, when they clearly don’t; my posts about Toyota are in part to dissuade him from that mistaken belief, among the others that he has – note how I don’t take objection with his similar remark about Honda, now would I if he had included Mazda).

          And let’s not forget that I have defended GM from DW’s (and a few other’s) nonsensical attacks on GM and Cadillac in particular (not that they don’t deserve criticism where actually warranted – just like any other automaker, including Hyundai; funny how you overlooked my harsh CRITICISM of the outgoing Tucson in this very thread).

          Guess that means I must work for GM/Cadillac.

  • avatar

    How soon before the tall roof wagons with sliding passenger-side doors come back?

  • avatar

    “hide an increased usage of high-strength steel to stiffen chassis rigidity”


    High strength steel is still steel. It is NOT stiffer. Time for people to learn this is “marketing”.

    High strength steel is not more rigid. It merely bends further, thus absorbing more energy, before it takes a permanent bend. That is its high strength.

    It is thus used in the crash structure of a vehicle.

    I guess I might as well bay at the moon as get this truth through people’s thick heads. Anyway, that’s why some of us who trained in engineering shake our heads at the absolute BS that gets shovelled out as fact by car Manufacturer PR types. And absorbed by the general populace.

    This has been mentioned many times on TTAC. Let’s get it right and make these people explain what it is they think they’re explaining.

  • avatar

    Mark, what is the cargo volume of this model? Reason i ask the previous model only has 25 ft² (CRV/RAV4 have 36/37 ft², CX5 has 34ft³ and already felt smaller). When we bough our CRV, I specially excluded the Tucson because of that. My dad also has a Tucson (obviously not 2016) and the stroller barely fit in, but in our CRV we have plenty of space with stroller. thsi is a large selling point if you want transportation value. My sister recently visited with a Kia Sportage rental (i assume twin to the previous tucson). It also felt to have very little cargo volume and when sitting inside one felt sitting “deep” due to the small glass areas. Driving it was horrible because of the lack of visibility and the small mirrors compared to the CRV.
    Cargo area in the Tucson/sprtage also felt to be high to have to lift up high. (The CRV has much lower cargo area easier to lift in)

    Did they address any of those issues with this Tucson?

    I kind of feel the Tucson was back then, and seems now, almsot as expensive as a CRV with much space and likely higher cost of ownership (depreciation etc.). in addition I think the CRV having more power (and we all know H/K were twisting the truth about power and mpg a lot….). sure, they may give some discount, but it seems for jsut a few hundred $ more and you get into a Toyota/Honda that is larger. size-wise the SantaFe compares more to the RAV4/CRV. At least for cargo

  • avatar

    When we tested them a year and something ago, the Sportage was a lot more interesting than the Tucson, especially with the 2.0 turbo on the top-of-the-line Sportage – an engine option that was not available on the Tucson.

    Apart from power, the Sportage also seemed to handle better.

  • avatar

    While it looks miles ahead of the outgoing one (featured prominently on the Walking Dead*), I think it might have a hard time against such established names like the CRV and the RAV4. While the RAV is a disappointment to me for both ride quality and interior quality, I think the current CRV has this thing beat. Especially with reputation and resale value later. They simply have not made a bad CRV.

    *It was/is featured on this program, even though the Tucson model in question came out after the “end of the world” so to speak in the show. I believe the timing issue is something like two years(!) there.

    • 0 avatar

      It’ll do fine, esp. considering Hyundai’s capacity limitations for the Tucson.

      Not exactly going after the CR-V which is a bit larger/roomier since the Santa Fe Sport kinda takes that role (esp. with the indication that Honda wants to make the next CR-V even larger and included a 3rd row).

  • avatar

    Can anyone comment on Hyundai service after the sale? They certainly provide none before it. Never owned one, (we own a Lexus, Honda and Toyota) but stopped by to look at 2016 Tucson.

    Very impressed and tried to buy it but dealer would have none of that!

    They wanted over sticker. I offered couple hundred below. So, now wondering if they did me a favor. Wrote to Hyundai to tell them about how we were treated. Hyundai couldn’t care less. Long story, but truth be told, their answer was kinda like, “It’s your problem, not ours”. OK.

    Anyway, if Hyundai expects to increase sales, they won’t do it this way. We tried….

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