A new look and new technology upgrades should make the 2016 Hyundai Tucson a solid blend of fashion, features and maneuverability. A larger cabin should also improve the Tucson's versatility -- and competitiveness -- among its rivals.
Muscular new look; growth spurt should deliver more room for passengers and cargo; updated with modern driver aids and safety features.
Lackluster engines and dull driving character appear likely to carry over.
Built on a new chassis, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson promises a roomier, classier interior, updated safety features and a more rugged look.
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson will kick off the model's third generation with a new look, a roomier cabin and updated technology. Adopting the same square-jawed attitude as other recently redesigned Hyundai models such as the Sonata, the new Tucson will feature a prominent hexagonal grille, LED headlights perched high on the hood line and a more curved and creased profile that imparts a more rugged look.
What we know so far is based on the European model; we'll have to wait until the New York auto show in April before we learn specifics about the model destined for American showrooms.
The 2016 Tucson will be longer than today's model, perhaps as much as 3 inches in overall length and 1 inch wider. Based on the European specs, it will also be more than 1 inch lower. This kind of growth probably won't be apparent to the eye, but Hyundai says it helps open up the interior to more efficient packaging and passenger space.
What's Under the Hood?
European buyers will get a choice of multiple engines and transmissions, including an optional diesel, while North Americans will likely only see 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
What's the Interior Like?
Hyundai says to expect more high-quality, soft-touch materials in the cabin, including optional leather upholstery, as well as improved comfort and ergonomics. Upgrades extend to the options list as well, including heated and cooled front seats, a hands-free liftgate, and parking assist for parallel and perpendicular spaces.
The longer wheelbase and body gave Tucson designers more cabin room to work with, and Hyundai says the new crossover will make more efficient use of its space and offer 18.1 cubic feet of luggage space behind the raised second row (bear in mind these are likely based on European volume measurements, which differ from American standards). This may help alleviate what we've found is one of the current Tucson's flaws: limited cargo space and only adequate passenger room compared to its rivals.
What Kind of Features Will It Offer?
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson will offer several modern safety and driver aids, including semi-autonomous emergency braking that can reportedly factor persons, objects and speed to deliver three levels of appropriate braking force. Blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist and rear cross-traffic alert will also be available.
How Much and When Is It Available?
The redesigned Hyundai Tucson will be available at dealers this summer. Pricing has not been announced, but given that the Tucson vies for the same shoppers as several other very good small crossovers, expect pricing to remain ruthlessly competitive, despite the new chassis and feature upgrades. The current Tucson starts at around $22,500.
What Else Is Out There?
There is no shortage of choices among compact crossovers. The Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, for example, two models that defined the emerging segment more than a decade ago, remain consistently excellent.
That said, your choices aren't limited to Honda or Toyota. The Ford Escape remains a favorite for sharp style, a high-quality interior and advanced technology, while the Mazda CX-5 is a deft blend of practical and performance. If you'd like the ability to get farther off paved roads, the Jeep Cherokee is both a comfortable highway traveler and a capable dirt scrambler.