2016 Hyundai Tucson 1.6 Limited AWD Review
Hyundai Tucson capitalizes on crossover-mania.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s best: Styling — this is one of the best-looking vehicles in the segment.
- What’s worst: Style and features trump performance on this model.
- What’s interesting: The 2016 Tucson is loaded with features, some standard and some optional, that a few years ago were only available on high-end sedans.
2016 Hyundai Tucson 1.6 Limited AWD at a glance
BODY STYLE: compact crossover SUV.
DRIVE METHOD: front engine, front- or all-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 2.0-litre DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine (164 hp, 151 lb/ft of torque) with a six-speed automatic transmission; 1.6-litre turbo DOHC 16-valve inline four (175 hp, 195 lb/ft of torque) with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
CARGO CAPACITY: 877 litres.
FUEL ECONOMY: 2.0-litre FWD 10.1/7.6/9.0 L/100 km city/hwy/combined; 2.0-litre AWD 11/9.0/10.1; 1.6-litre Turbo AWD, 9.9/8.4/9.2 L/100 km city/hwy/combined.
PRICE: 2.0L Base FWD $24,399, Premium FWD $26,699, Premium AWD $28,999, Luxury AWD $33,099; 1.6L Turbo— Premium AWD $31,549, Limited AWD $36,649, Ultimate AWD $39,599.
Hyundai couldn’t have picked a better time to introduce its new and improved Tucson compact crossover SUV.
Canadians are flocking to this segment of the market, so much so that compact SUVs are poised to surpass compact car sales in Canada in the near future.
While it’s been quite a ride for compact cars, consumers have discovered they can have the utility of an SUV without sacrificing that car-like ride and handling when they go the crossover route.
Hyundai has been able to capitalize on the crossover craze with the introduction of its redesigned 2016 Tucson.
One look at the sales numbers tells the story. Year-to-date Tucson sales are up 32.5 per cent after the first 10 months and a whopping 81 per cent in October alone compared with a year earlier.
As Mike Ricciuto, Hyundai Canada’s director of product and corporate strategy told me at the Canadian launch of the 2016 Tucson in July, Hyundai sees the compact SUV market as an area where it can carve out a larger slice of the sales pie.
“We see growth will be in the SUV side of things. We’re obviously a little car heavy (now).”
In order to meet this perceived area of growth, Hyundai has completely redesigned and re-engineered the Tucson, its smallest crossover SUV, for 2016.
It has also brought a second plant online in Korea to manufacture the Tucson so supply shouldn’t be an issue as in the past.
The new Tucson is longer, wider and more spacious inside than before, factors that Hyundai hopes will resonate with buyers.
It’s also perhaps the most stylish offering in the segment, something that should help get it noticed in a crowded marketplace that includes perennial best-sellers like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan.
RELATED: 2016 Hyundai Tucson Review
Hyundai also gets high marks on the quality front, bringing to market vehicles that are among the best in initial quality. Last year, Hyundai as a brand finished fourth in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.
Two four-cylinder engines are available on the new Tucson. There is a carryover 164 hp 2.0-litre engine mated with a six-speed automatic along with a new 175 hp 1.6-litre turbo that comes with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT). The 2.0-litre is available with FWD or AWD, while the 1.6L Turbo is only offered with AWD.
Our tester was a 1.6-litre AWD Limited Model, priced at $36,649. Prices start at $24,399 for the base FWD model with a six-speed automatic. At the top of the line is the 1.6L Tucson Ultimate AWD, priced at $39,599.
Although some hard plastic bits are still in evidence, the new cabin is decidedly more upscale than in the past. The seats are comfortable and supportive and the second row has more available legroom than before.
The dash is well designed with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment screen. Cargo capacity is 877 litres behind the second row seats.
This is a quieter vehicle all round, with less wind and road noise making its way into the cabin through the use of more insulation and noise dampening materials.
Outside, the styling will help sell the new Tucson. From the hexagonal grille to its sculpted lines and LED running lights and taillights, this is very much a modern, up-to-date look that sets new standards in the segment. The new body is also more aerodynamic with the coefficient of drag reduced from 0.35 to 0.33.
The ride and handling are also much improved, thanks in part to the use of more high strength steel. In fact, there is a 48 per cent increase in body rigidity over the outgoing model, according to Hyundai.
Acceleration is about average in this class with a 0-100 km/h time of 8.7 seconds during AJAC’s Car of the Year performance testing. The 80-120 km/h time was 6.5 seconds, while the vehicle came to a stop 100 km/h in 41.1 metres.
One new feature on the Tucson that should resonate well with consumers is a power liftgate that opens automatically if you stand behind the vehicle and have the key fob in your pocket.
No more juggling grocery bags or parcels to reach in your pocket or purse to find the keys.
Consumers will also find that this Tucson has features that just a few years ago were available only on high-end luxury vehicles.
For example, a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats are available on some models. Rearview cameras are standard throughout the lineup, while a dual level cargo floor and ventilated front seats are options not normally found in this class.
The 2016 Tucson has been named a top three finalist in AJAC’s Canadian Car of the Year awards in the Best New SUV/CUV ($35k-$60k), joining the Honda Pilot and Kia Sorento.
For years, the Tucson has languished near the middle of the compact crossover segment, but this redesign places it in the upper echelon of the group.