|Positives: Head-turning exterior design, spacious and well-executed cabin, a tremendous level of standard features, a smooth and refined driving experience, great efficiency, quick in Sport mode.|
|Negatives: Painful turbo lag off the line, pushbutton shifter is frustrating, sounds anemic when pushed.|
|Bottom Line: Hyundai has a design hit with the new Tucson, and it's so well-appointed and comfortable that it's sure to make the competition nervous. In Hybrid Limited trim, it's ready for long drives and few trips to the pump. The premium interior, coupled with the daring exterior, says the brand is going far.|
In Hybrid AWD trim, the Tucson is spritely, if not quick. Most importantly, it's a smooth operator and feels like a vehicle that should cost more. In terms of the overall driving experience, it's one of the better crossovers out there.
Ride Quality: The Tucson's chassis and suspension absorb impacts and bumps like a champ, and it's incredibly smooth over all kinds of surfaces.
Acceleration: We wouldn't call it speedy, but the acceleration in the Hybrid is palpable, as long as you keep it Sport mode and you can get past the initial lag off the line, which we found a bit disconcerting. Mash pedal, wait a half second, and then motion.
Braking: The regen brakes are good, and we didn't have any trouble bringing it to a stop. Pedal feel could be better, but that's regen for you.
Steering: Steering is relatively crisp and precise despite the absence of feedback.
Handling: The Tucson keeps its body roll in check and can manage curves pretty well. Just don't push it too hard.
We love Hyundai infotainment and tech, and their gauge cluster is one of the best we've come across. We don't especially like the touch buttons on the center stack, push-button shifter or the lack of a volume knob (didn't they learn from Honda's mistake?), but the in-car tech is otherwise excellent.
Infotainment System: The 10.25" gauge cluster and infotainment screen are some of the best in the industry. Menus are easy, and legibility is top-notch.
Controls: The touch buttons for climate and audio are a little bit annoying (why not keep physical buttons?), and we hate the push-button shifter that's on the slow side in terms of responsiveness.
The departure from the standard small crossover look that's ubiquitous in the segment is significant. Hyundai's design language is aggressive, and that's good for the brand in a sea of sameness. It could be a polarizing look, but we think it works.
Front: The Parametric grille and integrated DRLs look superb, setting it apart from the pack.
Rear: The LED taillights look like they belong on a futuristic Ford Mustang. Nicely bladed and tastefully protruding, they integrate well with the full width LED strip. The rest of the back end is kept simple and not overdone.
Profile: The bulges, cuts, and creases are very dramatic, but they work well to give the profile a muscular and premium look. The fender bulges, tapered rear side glass, and the floating roof also contribute to an attractive body.
Cabin: The interior is truly premium with excellent materials and an airy atmosphere. We really love the look and feel of the leather and trim.
The Tucson's cabin is well-trimmed and nicely styled. It also boasts premium materials and an airy atmosphere. Oh, and apparently everyone decided to copy Mazda's linear HVAC vents that blend with the dashline and door trim. Similarly, it works here in the Tucson.
Front Seats: Soft leather, broad seatbacks, and proper cushioning make the seats very comfortable.
Rear Seats: Legroom for rear occupants is significant at 41.3 inches. Six footers can easily sit behind tall front row occupants, and the outboard seats are very comfy.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Aside from the 1.6-liter engine being pushed hard, there's not much noise that enters the cabin. One of the Tucson's best features is its very hushed atmosphere.
Visibility: With the exception of the rear side view due to the angular D-pillar, the Tucson has very good visibility. The blind spot monitors in the gauge cluster are fantastic and help get around the obscured sightline.
Climate: The climate control system and big vents provide responsiveness and good air flow. The heated/ventilated seats also work very well.
The redesigned Tucson is a brand new model and has not yet been tested by either the IIHS or the federal government. The last-gen Tucson ranked very high in crash tests, and so it's expected that the new one will do at least as well, if not better. The Tucson Hybrid Limited comes with a strong set of standard safety features.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist w/ Pedestrian Detection, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist & Lane Following Assist, Safe Exit Warning & Driver Attention Warning, Park Distance Warning Front & Rear, Downhill Brake Control, Hillstart Assist Control, Tire Pressure Monitor w/ Individual Tire Indicator, and a Rearview Monitor w/ Parking Guidance
Optional Tech: None.
There's a lot to love about both the cabin storage areas and the rear cargo space. The Tucson ranks high in its competitive set with thoughtful compartments and an easy-to-use cargo area.
Storage Space: The large compartment at the front of the center console, coupled with a big armrest compartment, good door pockets, and storage on the sides of the center console make small gear easy to put away.
Cargo Room: The Hyundai Tucson gets 38.7 cubes behind row two and a sizable 74.8 with the seats folded flat. What's more, the opening is wide and flat for easy loading and storage. There's 38.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 74.8 cubic feet with these seats folded. The cargo area is wide, making it easy to load and unload bulkier items. It's slightly bigger than the VW Tiguan but still smaller than the huge Honda CR-V.
The fuel economy in the Tucson is excellent. We didn't drive it very far, but our numbers were easily just below EPA estimates because of our Sport mode driving. It should have no problem attaining the 37 mpg combined numbers.
Observed: 34.8 mpg
Distance Driven: 42 miles.
The Limited Hybrid gets a Bose premium audio system as standard equipment. We love the fact that you don't have to pony up extra money in the Limited to get a great sound system. It had no distortion and provided plenty of crisp sound.