All things have become new in the redesigned 2016 Hyundai Tucson, which is the smallest SUV sold by this Korean manufacturer. Now in its third generation, the stylish 2016 Tucson offers shoppers a compelling reason to consider a compact SUV with a premium countenance and a luxurious feel.
The Hyundai Tucson is a compact SUV that’s been fully redesigned for 2016. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. Two powertrain choices, four trim levels and a host of premium features are included.
The 2016 marks the beginning of the third generation for the smaller of two Hyundai SUVs. The midsize Hyundai Santa Fe is the other model. The new Tucson advances the fluidic sculpture common to the brand.
A trapezoidal grille is offset by a wraparound lighting assembly that’s accented by distinctive LED daytime running lights. Deep notches above and below the front bumper house the parking and fog lights, respectively. Further, the lower fascia lip presents a sporty demeanor.
To the sides, the Tucson has a rising beltline with a high character line traveling across its profile. A second, scalloped profile line is found just above the rocker panel. Integrated roof rails, high-arched wheel wells, all-season tires and available alloy wheels complete the look. To the rear is a hands-free liftgate with an integrated spoiler, wraparound tail lamps, fog lights and paired exhaust ports.
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson offers ample room for five. Changes to this model’s width and length have yielded a roomier cabin. That cabin offers a premium look with a stitched cover running across the dashboard from the instrument panel through the center stack.
A leather-wrapped steering wheel, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, nominally bolstered front bucket seats and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat are present. Moreover, the back seat also tilts for relaxation. Hyundai offers standard power door locks and windows, cloth seating surfaces and steering wheel-mounted driver controls.
The center stack is composed of a color display and its related switches and knobs. Below that is the climate control. At the base of the stack is an open storage compartment that’s designed to house a smartphone. The attendant connectivity ports are present too. Hyundai offers numerous storage areas, including in-door pockets with drink holders and a deep center storage section.
Heated front seats are standard with the Sport and Limited edition. Leather seats are included with the Tucson Limited. In addition, an illuminated glove box is also available.
Choose the Tucson Limited and this model offers an Ultimate package, which brings in ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, safety features, a panoramic sunroof and front LED map lights.
The driver’s seat is supportive, offering eight-way power support beginning with the Eco edition. The Limited edition adds a six-way power seat for the front passenger. All driver controls are well placed, and the instrument panel features speedometer and tachometer analog displays along with a digital readout for other information.
Hyundai offers two engine choices with the 2016 Tucson. The base SE edition is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. It comes paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This model is EPA-rated at 23/31 mpg city/highway.
Tucson Eco, Sport and Limited editions are powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. It comes paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The Eco edition, with its slower acceleration time and adjusted shift points, is the mileage leader here as it is EPA-rated at 26/33 mpg city/highway. Notably, the other models are EPA-rated at 25/30 mpg city/highway.
As tested, the Tucson Limited with front-wheel drive delivered satisfactory off the mark acceleration with the turbo kicking in low in the rpm band. The expected lag is discernible when gunning the accelerator, but once the turbo spools up it delivers ample passing power. Steering and handling are comparable to other SUVs in this class, with some body roll detected in the front-wheel drive model when cornering. A tight 34.9-foot turning radius is one of the Tucson’s highlights. Furthermore, all models are equipped with front and rear stabilizer bars. Braking is adequate, with disc brakes at all four corners.
In the Tucson, Hyundai offers one of the better infotainment systems on the market. All models, except for the Limited, come with a 5-inch color display mounted at the top of the center console. The Limited edition has an 8-inch color display. A rearview camera is standard for 2016.
A navigation system is included with the Limited, but it isn’t available elsewhere. This system provides the requisite apps, as well as traffic, sports, weather and stock information. As tested, the navigation system provided accurate directions with clear turn-by-turn directions.
A six-speaker audio system in the SE, Eco and Sport editions becomes an eight-speaker system in the Limited. SiriusXM satellite radio is standard and HD Radio is included with the Limited. Every model has USB and auxiliary input jacks.
At the time of this review, crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has yet to be completed for the 2016 Tucson. The previous generation model performed well in all tests, except it received a poor score for the small overlap front test. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) test results are also pending.
All Tucson models come equipped with front, front side and side impact air bags. A rearview camera, anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist are standard.
Sport and Limited editions come with blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. Moreover, the Limited includes lane departure warning, emergency braking with pedestrian detection and rear parking sensors.
Oddly, Hyundai only offers navigation with the top-of-the-line Limited, a model that costs almost $30,000. Ford, on the other hand, makes its new SYNC 3 telematics system with navigation available with the Escape SE, a mid-pack model costing thousands less. The navigation limitation, unfortunately, offsets some of the other premium features that come with every model.
Shoppers have a lot to consider in the small SUV segment, with strong models offered across the board. Likewise, consumers might consider the Kia Sportage with its similar trim levels and advanced styling. Kia also makes navigation available with its midlevel EX trim.