HEELS ON WHEELS: 2016 HYUNDAI TUCSON REVIEW +VIDEO
HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE TUCSON VEHICLE
For 2016, Hyundai continues to focus on all the sweet spots that make a smaller crossover like the Tucson so well loved with highlights including a sleeker image and an all-new turbocharged engine choice that delivers a sportier driving experience.
I drove a 2016 Hyundai Tucson with the new 175-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a seven-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch transmission and front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is optional). Available in four trim grades – base SE, ECO, Sport and Limited – my upper- to mid-level Sport featured the following standard features: YES Essentials cloth upholstery; eight-way power driver’s seat; heated front seats; five-inch color audio touchscreen; six-speaker audio system with XM Radio; Bluetooth; USB and auxiliary input jacks; power liftgate; roof rack side rails; fog light; push-button start; rearview camera; Blind Spot Detection System with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane Change Assist; chrome-tipped exhaust; and upgraded nineteen-inch Sport alloy wheels. Total price as described came to $26,150.
The high-ranking Tucson is a front runner in a very competitive class with the Honda CR-V having equal appeal thanks to the newer Earth Dreams technology that improves torque by eleven percent and delivers 28-city and 33-highway miles-per-gallon. Also look at the Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV4.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Tucson’s more sculpted and mature design is evident inside and out, with the Limited receiving padded and stitched dash and panel inserts. While a five-inch touchscreen won’t blow you away in size and graphics, it’s easy to use along with all dials and buttons on the center stack. A power liftgate and safety technology are key features for a crossover and only the Sport and Limited offer it, so choose one of those upper-level trims. Not a lot of optional equipment; it’s refreshing to find out so much is built into the vehicle yet you will have to go with the Limited to get BlueLink telematics and navigation. One thing to keep in mind about a top-of-the-line Honda CR-V is even with the leather upholstery, navigation and a moonroof, the size and quality of these features are subpar to the Tucson (the 2016 redesign might be addressing these issues).
Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2016 Hyundai Tucson has not yet been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety (IIHS) nor The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety equipment includes Electronic Stability Control (ESC), ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, Downhill Brake Control, Hillstart Assist, and an advanced airbag system.
Cost Issues: The MSRP for the 2016 Hyundai Tucson starts at $22,700; its sister competitor the Kia Sportage at $21,150; the Honda CR-V will also undergo a redesign for 2016 but is not out at the time of this review.
Activity & Performance Ability: The new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is a step up from the base SE’s 2-liter, and so it the quick-shifting seven-speed transmission. The larger wheels bring life to this smaller crossover on curvaceous roads for a crossover with ambition to be more than an affordable, spacious choice, putting its performance alongside the under-appreciate Mazda CX-5. You’ll have no quips with an average fuel economy of 27 miles-per-gallon with front-wheel drive. .
The Green Concern: Hyundai offers an ECO trim that reports 26-city and 33-highway for a combined 29 miles-per-gallon. With all-wheel drive, the Tucson averages 26 miles-per-gallon on the Sport and Limited trims. Most competitors are averaging about the same.
FINAL PARTING WORDS
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson pulls further in front of the small crossover pack with an all-new invigorating 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and a more sophisticated design, delivering buyers more bang for their buck. I recommend the Sport or Limited trims, the latter topping out at a reasonable $29,900 with all the tech and refinement it can offer.
©2015 Katrina Ramser
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