The entire segment was awash in cars that looked like they wore loose-fitting jeans and comfortable shoes. Where coupes and bigger SUVs seem to still hold onto the spirit of the 90s (brash, Clintonian, perhaps unfortunately confident), the term "crossover" was generally used to describe something that looked like a throat lozenge. They were (and still are) defined by flowing lines, cute wheel arches, and an air of femininity that certainly did a proper job of selling the idea: Honda's CR-V, Ford's Escape and Toyota's RAV4 became hot sellers, still among the top 20 vehicles sold. The second-generation Chevy Equinox recently joined their ranks and all signs point to the crossover as being the thing that every automaker simply "has to have."
The first thing we noticed when we approached the Tucson was that the vehicle acted rather big from about 100-200 feet away, but appeared much smaller and manageable as we approached. Getting in and out wasn't difficult (rear seat access was particularly easy, we noted) and when finally behind the wheel the car seemed to flip-flop again: it then felt bigger and somehow, more secure, than other crossovers. The driver is situated a good ways from the front window, something that makes for better fuel economy (the low slope of the window cuts through the air a lot easier), but also gives passengers the feeling that they're safe inside. This is in contrast to a vehicle like the Ford Escape, which has a more upright front windshield. Rear visibility isn't great (the windows behind the rear doors are tiny and whatever they allow you to see is too high to be worthwhile), but that's the tradeoff for a vehicle that makes a strong design statement like this.