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2016 Hyundai Tucson Review By Larry Nutson

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2016 Hyundai Tucson

2016 Hyundai Tucson
Raising the Bar in Compact CUVs

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Hyundai came on the U.S. automotive scene in 1985. Now 30 years later Hyundai is a well established and respected brand selling over 725,000 vehicles in 2014.

A strong point of Hyundai has been their demonstrated commitment to vehicle quality and customer satisfaction. This is backed up by a fourth place ranking in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. The outgoing 2015 Hyundai Tucson is a J.D. Power IQS award winner.

Since 2011, Hyundai’s brand value has increased an average of 20% annually. Today, it ranks 40th among the top 100 global brands of 2014. It’s the seventh highest automotive brand, ranking higher than premium nameplates such as Audi and Porsche as well as the more mainstream Nissan brand.

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Overall vehicle sales are expected to rise in 2015. However, in this growing industry, new passenger car registrations are down 3.9 percent while light truck registrations are up 10.7 percent. Light trucks, which includes SUVs and CUVs, are hot. The trend will continue given low gas prices, CUV financing options and customer demand. One in three vehicles sold in the U. S. is a SUV or CUV.

Hyundai sees the all-new 2016 Tucson as a stepping stone in the booming CUV category. The Tucson is Hyundai’s smallest and lowest priced CUV. Their mid-size Santa Fe Sport is 8.5 inches longer than the Tucson. And, the three-row-seat Santa Fe is 8.5 inches longer than the Santa Fe Sport. So it appears there is a fairly logical progression for Hyundai to satisfy the varying needs of its customer base.

The Tucson will serve quite well the so called pre-family singles and couples offering a stylish vehicle that is value priced while serving their active lifestyle needs. I also see the Tucson fitting in very well with those younger folk who live in a large city and need spaciousness on the inside but compactness on the outside.

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On the outside the 2016 Tucson continues Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design theme that debuted on the 2015 Genesis. There are lots of sculpted body forms and sporty contours that make for a good looking exterior. The front is dominated by a hexagonal-shaped grille. Bordering the grille are available high-efficiency LED twin-projector headlights, LED headlight accents and integrated LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs). Even LED door handle approach lamps are available.

Tucson’s wheelbase increases by more than an inch, for enhanced design proportions, interior flexibility and a smoother ride. For the first time on Tucson, 19-inch alloy wheels are offered, housed in forward-raking wheel arches. Sleek roof rails border Tucson on top. From the rear, a Z-shaped character line above the rear wheel accentuates the side profile. The taillights also apply LED technology. And at the back end are twin, bevel-cut chrome exhaust tips and a standard rear spoiler. There are LEDs everywhere.

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On the inside, the instrument panel has a premium look and feel. A nice touch is the stitched, soft-touch pad located near the driver’s right knee, for better comfort during long drives or spirited cornering. Interior touch points have been upgraded with premium, soft-touch materials. All interior switchgear have a more refined feel during operation. An available full-length panoramic sunroof allows both front and rear passengers day or night skyward visibility.

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On our nearly 200 mile test drive along the Mississippi River bordering Minnesota and Wisconsin my co-driver and I found front seats to be quite comfortable, offering plenty of front seat headroom and a good range of adjustments. We tried the rear seats too. With the driver’s seat positioned for my 5ft10inch frame there was plenty of rear seat legroom. My co-driver, a 30-something mother of three, voiced her viewpoint on the suitability of the Tucson for a family with young children. She agreed that Hyundai had done a good job of providing room and comfort for children in child-seats and all their stuff in the cargo area. The dual-level rear cargo floor also serves as a storage place for the cargo cover that inevitably gets in the way or is left in the garage at home.

It seems all the new vehicles as of late are longer, lower, wider. The 2016 Tucson is 3 inches longer, 1.1 inches wider and has a 1.2 inch longer wheelbase than the previous model. Overall, cargo room has been increased to 31.0 cubic feet, up more than five cubic feet over the previous model, with a dual-level rear cargo floor further enhancing cargo-carrying versatility. The rear liftgate opening has been enlarged in every dimension, for greater cargo flexibility. The 60/40 rear seatbacks have a greater range of adjustable recline for varying combinations of passengers and cargo.

The all-new 2016 Tucson is offered in SE, ECO, Sport and Limited models.

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The Base SE model is powered by a 2.0-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder with 164 HP coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission that offers SHIFTRONIC manual shifting mode. EPA test fuel economy ratings for the 2.0L FWD model is 26 mpg combined, with 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

ECO, Sport and Limited models offer the new 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder with 175 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. Peak torque delivery starts at only 1,500 rpm and holds through 4,500 rpm. The turbo engine is coupled to a new, first-in-segment seven-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission (DCT). This Hyundai-developed dual-clutch transmission offers high efficiency with quick, seamless shifting and brisk acceleration.

EPA test fuel economy ratings for this powertrain on ECO FWD models is 29 mpg combined, with 26 city mpg and 33 highway mpg. Sport and Limited FWD turbo engine models are EPA test rated at 27 combined mpg, with 25 city mpg 30 highway mpg. The lower test rating on these models is a result of the larger wheels and tires and increased weight.

2016 Tucson offers an advanced AWD system developed by Hyundai in conjunction with Magna Powertrain. The system includes a driver-selectable AWD lock that allows a differentiated torque split between front and rear wheels, for off-road and extremely slippery road conditions. The system also includes Active Cornering Control, which automatically transfers torque to the wheels with the most traction.

One item that really surprised me in a positive way on the new Tucson is the quietness of the interior cabin. CUVs and SUVs can act like a big drum. To improve NVH characteristics, the 2016 Tucson has applied a number of sound dampening and insulation measures including new engine mount design, new rear cross-member design, sound insulation materials added to inner fenders, underbody, instrument panel, transmission tunnel and all cabin pillars, using 335 feet of structural adhesive to insulate against road noise, where the previous model used none. Also, the door latch mechanisms were extensively refined, with lower noise, pull resistance, internal friction and great closure damping. And, to lower wind noise in the cabin, aerodynamics have been improved to 0.33 Cd.

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The 2016 Tucson offers several compact CUV segment firsts, including ventilated front seats and YES Essentials stain-resistant seats. A Smart Power Liftgate enables the Tucson owner to automatically open the rear liftgate, hands-free, by simply standing within a few feet of the liftgate for a few seconds with the key fob in a pocket or purse. The Tucson offers a standard five-inch color LCD display with rearview camera and touchscreen function. Apple Siri “Eyes Free” integration is available.

2016 Tucson prices start at $22,700 for the SE model and run up to $34,050 for the Limited Ultimate model.

If you want to compare the 2016 Hyundai Tucson to other compact SUVs you can do that here on the Hyundai Buyers Guide or check out more details and specifications and configure your own 2016 Tucson on

Hyundai: New Thinking: New Possibilities.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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