2016 Hyundai Tucson Roadtest and Review By Thom Cannell
2016 Hyundai Tucson
Delivering the good
By Thom Cannell
The Auto Channel
Bullet Points: No attempt at completeness, simply comments on one
week’s driving experience—balanced against decades of
experience and hundreds of comparisons.
It’s an annual family requirement to maintain or improve
Mom’s home in Florida. Each year we tote ladders and paint or tile
and toilets from big box store to home. This year we were delivering three
butcher block countertops. While we could have paid delivery, it was an
opportunity for a week-long test of the all-new 2016 Hyundai Tucson.
If your family is in the market for a small crossover, a CUV, you should
consider Tucson. The all-new 2016 Tucson has had its styling dialed down
several notches; once brash, now sophisticated with the face remaining
distinctively Hyundai. As in our original report, the Tucson is easy to
enter, easy to sit into. Overall it is pleasingly quiet from the command
driving position and everywhere you look you’ll see luxury touches
far beyond what the price would suggest. Like the double sewn real leather
surfaces on the seats, door controls that appear to be solid aluminum, and
a fully equipped audio system with all the BlueTooth goodness.
From the command position you’ll find proper drive ability created by
that tall position and excellent seating comfort for everyone. We quickly
got to know the white on black instruments and declared them nearly in a
class with recently tested Audis, they were clear and bright. The Driver
Information System—DIC—between speedometer and tachometer
delivered more information than you’d ever want. Thus information is
divided into pages, changed by a single button-press from a compass, to
fuel economy and remaining distance, to radio stations and CD tracks, an
echo of the navigation system, and more. It is useful. We were impressed by
the quality of Hyundai’s standard sound system. A bit of tweaking and
it was more than good. Our Tucson didn’t have Apple Car Play or
Android Auto though it soon will via a dealer upgrade or owner download.
During our week we repeatedly tried the lane-alert system (it beeps if you
cross or get very near a painted line without an activated turn signal) and
still don’t enjoy this kind of “back seat nanny”
regardless which car company offers it. That said, on a long, boring,
late-night drive we might turn the system on for safety, or anytime
there’s abundant fog. In contrast we absolutely love the
cross-traffic alert and appreciate that it is very aggressive in observing
and detecting oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking space. Florida
deserves its reputation for clueless drivers. Continuing with the safety
technologies offered, we were surprised there is no radar-based cruise
control to alleviate long journeys. A feature we didn’t test, on
purpose, is AEB or Automatic Emergency Braking which tries to keep you from
rear-ending the car ahead.
Another features we appreciated was the excellent air conditioning.
In the 90° humidity our glasses would mist over every time we exited the
vehicle. And did we mention Tucson’s massive moon roof? It reaches
from the plane of your forehead to beyond the rear passenger’s ears.
It’s an aircraft carrier deck big.
Now to our intended purpose, hauling cargo. While the capacity for
luggage is excellent, especially with one or more rear seat backs folded
down, we were concerned by our large and long cargo. The main task
we’d set was picking up two six foot countertops, another a full
eight feet long. Eight feet was a struggle—we had to remove the
passenger head rest and both lower and fold the front seat—but it
fit! The six footers? No worries, they just slid in. And we used the
available Smart Power Liftgate, to automatically open as we lurked, key fob
in pocket, at the rear. That saved us from putting down our end of the 150
pound counter top. It was good, unloading, to have push button trunk
In total, the load added over 300 pounds, which the Tucson totally
disregarded, accelerating as normal. All Tucson except for base SE model is
equipped with a 1.6-liter turbo engine and 7-speed DCT, dual clutch
transmission with manual shift mode which you’d never use except in a
snow storm. The motor, from a standing start, is more than adequate and
two-lane or freeway passing is good, but nothing to activate your inner
The turbo engine delivers good fuel economy in the city, we used
less than 1/4 tank in the first 94 miles. On the down side we thought
getting the right amount of acceleration difficult. It seemed either too
abrupt or too slow. This could have been a result of previous drivers
repeatedly testing acceleration; the transmission and engine control learns
how you drive. Regardless we did find acceleration often more aggressive
than wanted and requiring a soft throttle application.
Something you’ll never notice unless you are keenly aware of
vehicle dynamics, the 2016 Tucson is largely constructed of high strength
steels for lighter weight, more rigidity, and greater crash resistance.
Changes like this make the car feel better to drive. As do excellent
headlamps, among the best we’ve seen and far better than
Tucson’s price class would suggest. Think German exotics, bright and
wide to illuminate the night and our Limited model had bending headlamps to
shine into corners as we turned. That’s a feature you never knew you
Here’s our bullet points:
- Handsome, with modern and sophisticated styling.
- Comfortable, with a quiet interior far beyond its price point
regardless model choice.
Abundant connectivity features, like SirusXM, CD, Blue Tooth, and
soon-to-come Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
Heated and ventilated seats, huge overhead moonroof.
Sturdy and responsive chassis, excellent to steering and braking, all the
active safety goodness needed in daily commutes and soccer field
As on our first report, we dislike the tires. Noisy on blacktop, twitchy
and lacking traction in the rain, disappointing launch feel as well.
The turbocharged Direct Injected engine works flawlessly, but has a bit of
injector noise directly attributable to the direct injection process
itself. Hyundai is not alone, it is an artifact of the fuel sipping intake