Hyundai Tucson CUV Named
2016 International Family Vehicle of the Year
Celebrating ICOTY's 20th Anniversary
Road Test Review By Bob Plunkett
The redesigned 2016 Tucson -- Hyundai's car-based crossover utility vehicle for the compact class -- measures longer and wider than the previous model and gains more room for riders and cargo in the 5-seat passenger compartment.
Tucson's platform is new with the wheelbase length stretching to 105.1 inches long and the track width running 63.3 inches up front and 63.8 inches in back. Positioning the wheels out near edges of the chassis brings stability to the stance and enhances Tucson's agility when cornering.
The new structure also increases substantially in rigidity through the increased uses of Advanced High Strength steel and strategic applications of structural adhesives as well as hot-stamping methods.
Tucson carries a refined 4-wheel independent suspension system designed to boost the vehicle's precise handling ability while still delivering smooth and comfortable ride sensations for passengers. Components include front MacPherson struts with coil springs, gas-pressurized shocks and a 24.7-mm hollow stabilizer bar. The rear independent multi-link design uses coil springs and gas-charged shocks with a 23-mm hollow stabilizer bar.
Each Tucson gets a motor-driven electric power steering (MDPS) system and 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brake system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control system (TCS).
Further, Tucson's optional equipment list includes noteworthy electronically controlled safety devices: Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning System, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist and Backup Warning Sensors.
The spec sheet for 2016 Tucson lists two powertrains and the wagon supports two traction formats for four trims with front-wheel-drive (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD).
Tucson SE the price-leader draws from Hyundai's 2.0-liter 4-cylinder GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine with CVVT (continuously variable valve timing) equipment.
The plant generates 164 hp at 6200 rpm with torque of 151 lb-ft at 4000 rpm, and it links to a standard 6-speed electronic automatic with Shiftronic manual controls. EPA fuel figures for the 2.0 engine extend to 23 mpg for in-town driving and 31 mpg on the road for FWD, or 22/26 mpg city/highway with AWD.
Tucson Eco, Sport and Limited editions tote an aluminum-block 1.6-liter 4-in-line engine with dual overhead cams and turbocharger. The 1.6T engine delivers an estimated 175 hp at 5500 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque at 1500-4500 rpm.
It ties to a 7-speed DCT (dual clutch transmission) geared for sportiness as well as fuel economy. Fuel economy numbers for the 1.6T in Sport and Limited trim tally to 25/30 mpg city/highway for FWD and 24/28 mpg city/highway for AWD. Tucson 1.6T in Eco trim scores the highest fuel figures: 26/33 mpg city/highway for FWD, 25/30 mpg city/highway for AWD.
Hyundai's new exterior styling for Tucson -- executed by Hyundai's European design studio in Germany -- consists of sculpted body forms and sporty contours that appear taut, toned and athletic. The aggressive low-swooping prow houses edgy narrow headlight clusters with LED running lamps on front corners beside Hyundai's signature hexagonal-shaped grille holding three chrome bars.
Tucson's cabin layout pitches a pair of bolstered buckets in front flanking a versatile console. On the second row a bench is designed to seat two comfortably but holds three riders when needed. The seatback splits 60/40 and folds to expand the rear cargo area. The storage area is vast at 31 cubic feet but with rear seatbacks folded it expands to 63.3 cubic feet.
Tucson LX entry issue comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a keyless entry device, cruise control, manual air-conditioning, fabric seat upholstery, a tilting/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 6-speaker audio kit with AM/FM/CD/MP3/USB plus rear camera display. [Read why it won]
Top model Limited rolls on 19-inch alloy wheels and gains LED headlights and LED DRLs, front foglamps and LED taillights, power heated side mirrors, roof rails, smart power liftgate, leather seat trim, 8-way power driver seat, dual automatic climate controls, 8-inch touchscreen, 8-speaker premium audio kit, Blind Spot Detection system with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist.
We estimate the MSRPs for Hyundai's 2016 Tucson line will run from $23,000 to $30,000.