2015 Tucson New Car Test Drive
The Hyundai Tucson is a compact crossover SUV that delivers responsive performance and good fuel economy. It's roomy, comfortable cabin makes it easy to live with. A choice of two four-cylinder engines is available. Tucson is a bit smaller than the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.
Tucson was last redesigned for the 2010 model year. For 2012, Hyundai's smallest crossover benefitted from bigger brakes, improved air conditioning, a smoother ride, and other improvements.
For 2014, Hyundai has dropped the entry-level Tucson GL model. New 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines replace the prior multi-port injection units, featuring new GDI (gasoline direct-injection) systems. (The GDI 2.4-liter has gained 6 horsepower and 9 pound-feet of torque.)
All 2014 Tucson models are available with either front-drive or all-wheel drive. For the first time, the entry-level (now GLS) model can be equipped with AWD. Manual shift is no longer offered, as all versions have a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Hyundai's Blue Link safety/service/telematics system is now standard on the Tucson Limited. A larger (7-inch) touch-screen is used for the optional navigation system, which includes HD radio. A Bluetooth hands-free phone system is standard on all 2014 Tucsons, which also gain two-stage reclining 60/40 split rear seats and a standard tilt/telescopic steering wheel with integrated audio and cruise controls. Blue-light cupholder illumination is new for 2014.
New projector headlights with LED accents are installed on 2014 Tucsons, along with LED taillights. Models with a panoramic sunroof now include roof rails. All versions have standard SACHS amplitude-selective shock absorbers. Standard 17-inch and optional 18-inch alloy wheels have been redesigned for 2014. Roof side rails now are included with the available panoramic sunroof. Tucson Limited models get a shark-fin antenna.
The 2014 Hyundai Tucson lineup begins with the GLS. Powered by a 164-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Tucson GLS rates an EPA-estimated 21/28 mpg City/Highway with its 6-speed automatic transmission. (Pre-2014 Tucsons were rated as high as 21/30 mpg City/Highway, but Hyundai revised some fuel-economy estimates in late 2012.)
Tucson SE and Tucson Limited models hold a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter engine. Hyundai's superb 6-speed automatic comes with a driver-selectable Active Eco mode, which modifies the response of the engine and transmission to changes in throttle position. Hyundai says this can yield a 5- to 7-percent gain in real-world fuel economy. EPA ratings for the 2.4-liter Tucson with Active Eco are 21/28 mpg City/Highway with front-wheel drive (20/25 mpg with all-wheel drive).
A PZEV version of the 2.4-liter engine, for buyers in California and other regions, has slightly reduced ratings: 180 horsepower and 176 pound-feet.
Inside, the cabin is a model of straightforwardness and simplicity. It's excellent ergonomically, meaning everything is easy to reach and operate. The materials are nice, too. Tucson seats are supportive and comfortable. There's plenty of room in both the front and rear seats, with comfortable seating for four and capability for five.
Though manufactured in South Korea, the Tucson design is decidedly European in flavor: sporty and aggressive, capturing the crisp, agile look for which German styling studios are famous. Tucson skillfully tricks the eye, to its benefit. Just as the huge Audi Q7 manages to appear smaller and more athletic than it is, the Tucson does just the opposite. Its high beltline and squinty side-window configuration make the Tucson appear larger and more capacious than it really is. This may give the buyer a feeling of getting more for the money.
In short, the 2014 Hyundai Tucson is a well-calculated vehicle that delivers roomy interior space, crisp performance and very good fuel-efficiency.
Hyundai's 2014 Tucson competes with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and other compact SUVs.
The 2014 Tucson GLS ($21,450) comes with a 164-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, Hyundai's 6-speed automatic transmission, cloth upholstery; air conditioning; AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3 audio with six speakers, iPod/USB input jacks, iPod cable; roof antenna; power windows, mirrors and locks; remote keyless entry with alarm; trip computer; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; front and cargo area power outlets; bottle holders in all four doors; rear armrest with cupholders; 60/40 split fold-down rear seatbacks with two-stage recline; body-color rear spoiler; rear wiper and washer; solar front glass with privacy glass in the rear windows; and 17-inch alloy wheels. Also standard are faux leather interior trim, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, and steering-wheel audio and cruise controls. Tucson GLS is available with all-wheel drive ($22,950).
Tucson SE ($23,500) upgrades with a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter engine; leatherette seat bolsters with cloth inserts; illuminated vanity mirrors and glovebox; a power driver's seat with power lumbar support; fog lights; lower bodyside cladding; floor console-mounted rear vents; silver-colored roof rails; a rearview camera with 4.3-inch touch-screen; and heated front seats. Also included are soft-touch interior paint, heated outside mirrors, and automatic headlight control. Tucson SE AWD ($25,000) adds all-wheel drive.
Tucson Limited ($26,200) and Limited AWD ($27,700) upgrade to leather seating surfaces; dual-zone automatic temperature control, leather-wrapped wheel and shifter a cargo cover; chrome grille and door handles; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter; front wiper de-icer; auto-dimming inside mirror with HomeLink; proximity-key entry with push-button start; and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Limited Technology Package ($2,650) adds navigation with a 7-inch touch-screen, premium audio with XM NavTraffic, LED taillights, and a panoramic sunroof with roof side rails.
Safety features on all Tucson models include electronic stability control, traction control, hill-start assist, downhill brake control, four-wheel disc brakes, ABS, EBD, brake assist, six airbags with rollover sensor, and active front adjustable head restraints. All-wheel drive is optional. A rearview camera is standard on SE and Limited models.