2016 Hyundai Tucson Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Turbocharged engine delivers peppy acceleration and good fuel economy
- plenty of advanced safety and infotainment features are available
- comfortable ride on rough roads.
- Slow acceleration from the SE trim's non-turbocharged engine
- clumsy low-speed shifting from the turbo engine's transmission
- certain desirable items are only offered on the Limited
- some interior materials look and feel cheap.
Why pay a premium for head-turning style? The Hyundai Tucson will look great in your driveway, yet it still delivers the value and versatility you expect from a small crossover SUV. The Tucson's turbocharged engine is a keeper, too. Ready to learn what else we like?
The sleek new styling of the redesigned 2016 Hyundai Tucson incorporates what Hyundai calls "Fluidic Sculpture 2.0" design language, which suggests it's more of an evolutionary product than a revolutionary one. After all, version 2.0 of anything is just an outgrowth of the original; it's derivative by definition. But under the new Tucson's stylish skin, there's something closer to a revolution going on. With its sprightly and fuel-efficient turbocharged engine, roomier interior and cutting-edge safety and technology features, the latest Tucson is a real threat to disrupt the compact-crossover status quo.
All Tucson models have a newly adult-friendly backseat and enhanced cargo capacity that closes the gap with segment leaders. The Tucson is 3 inches longer and 1.1 inches wider than before, and that's enough to make it considerably more competitive without diluting its endearingly maneuverable feel. There are a lot of new upscale features as well, including Hyundai's latest 8-inch touchscreen interface, LED headlights and safety features like lane departure warning and a frontal collision intervention system.
Lest you conclude that this Hyundai can do no wrong, though, we should note that the new turbocharged engine isn't available on the base SE trim, which trudges onward with a forgettable 2.0-liter engine from the previous-generation Tucson. Moreover, a number of those headline-grabbing features are reserved for the top-of-the-line Limited trim, which might test the limits of what you are willing to pay for a compact crossover SUV. But if you don't mind paying for the Limited, you'll enjoy one of the best-equipped crossovers for the price. And if you can live without those extras, the midgrade Eco and Sport trims are still nicely equipped, with the former topping out at a solid 33 mpg highway and the latter offering more creature comforts.
The 2016 Tucson occupies an interesting niche between the compact and subcompact segments. Despite the stretched dimensions this year, it's still a few inches shorter than compact stalwarts like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, which -- like Hyundai's own Santa Fe Sport -- offer more interior space but less verve. Yet the new Tucson is significantly larger than the new breed of subcompact crossovers like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, so if those models feel too cramped, the Tucson could be a sensible compromise. We also recommend the Ford Escape as a roomier option that's fun to drive, too. On the whole, though, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson is a compelling new crossover that's more of a revolution than you might think.
2016 Hyundai Tucson models
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV offered in four trim levels: SE, Eco, Sport and Limited.
The base SE comes standard with the 2.0-liter engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED headlight accents, heated mirrors, privacy glass, a rear spoiler, air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, a trip computer, stain-resistant cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks with recline, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 5-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB port, an auxiliary input jack and satellite radio.
The Eco adds the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, LED daytime running lights, foglights, roof rails and an eight-way power driver seat (with lumbar).
Step up to the Sport and you get 19-inch wheels, a hands-free power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a few new safety technologies (see Safety section below).
The Limited throws in LED headlights and taillights, upgraded interior trim with additional soft-touch surfaces, leather upholstery, a six-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system and an eight-speaker audio system.
Note that the SE can be equipped with a handful of the higher trims' basic convenience features via a pair of packages (the Preferred package and Popular Equipment package). Offered exclusively on the Limited is an Ultimate package that includes adaptive xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, an upgraded gauge cluster with a color trip computer, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, lane-departure warning and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson SE is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 26 mpg combined (23 city/31 highway) with FWD and 23 mpg combined (21 city/26 highway) with AWD.
The Eco, Sport and Limited trims step up to a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that generates 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The transmission here is a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual that works just like a regular automatic. In Edmunds performance testing, a FWD Tucson Limited made the sprint from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, which is respectably quick for this class of vehicle. The Eco features smaller tires with less rolling resistance, so its fuel economy is estimated at 29 mpg combined (26 city/33 highway) with FWD and 27 mpg combined (25 city/31 highway) with AWD. The hefty 19-inch tires on the Sport and Limited knock those models down to 27 mpg combined (25 city/30 highway) with FWD and 26 mpg combined (24 city/28 highway) with AWD.
Standard safety items on the 2016 Hyundai Tucson include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, hill-hold assist and hill descent control.
In Edmunds brake testing, a FWD Tucson came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, an average stopping distance for a compact crossover.
All trims provide a rearview camera as standard, while the Sport gets standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The Limited features all of those items plus standard rear parking sensors and a couple optional items via the Ultimate package (lane-departure warning and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection).
The Blue Link telematics suite is standard on the Limited but unavailable on the other trims. It includes emergency safety assistance and other smartphone-based features via the Blue Link mobile app. If you upgrade to the Remote package, you also get stolen vehicle recovery, a car finder and electronic parameter settings (geo-fencing, speed/curfew alerts and valet alert) and remote ignition and accessory operation via a smartphone or even smartwatch.
Although the base SE trim has an enticingly low price, the 2.0-liter engine it's saddled with is reason enough to upgrade. This was also the base motor in the previous Tucson, and we didn't especially like it then, either, finding both its refinement and its performance to be lacking. The turbocharged engine, on the other hand, is peppy and smooth, and it gets better gas mileage to boot. The turbo's only downside is its exclusive automated manual transmission, which sometimes produces harsh upshifts and exhibits a slight delay when moving from a stop.
The base and Eco trims predictably have a more composed ride with their 17-inch wheels, but the 19s (standard on Sport and Limited) are eminently livable. Impacts are well suppressed even on rough blacktop, giving the Tucson a supple, sophisticated feel in everyday driving. Around turns, the Tucson isn't as sporty as, say, the Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5, but it acquits itself well enough for a vehicle of this type. Its compact dimensions also make it easier to fit into tight parking spots.
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson's interior has a more grown-up look than its predecessor, featuring a restrained dashboard design with sensibly arrayed controls. The materials aren't optimal, however, as hard plastic surfaces remain the norm. That's fortunately less of an issue for the Limited, which gets upgraded trim that includes padded dashboard and door inserts with accent stitching. In any event, the Tucson has plenty of storage nooks for your stuff, particularly for front passengers.
On the technology front, the standard 5-inch touchscreen won't blow you away with its size or resolution, but it's quite user-friendly thanks to readily accessible virtual buttons and an intuitive layout. Not surprisingly, the Limited's 8-inch version is both more capable and prettier to look at; pity it's not offered on at least one of the other trims. On the bright side, USB connectivity, Bluetooth and satellite radio come standard on every Tucson, so there's no shortage of musical fun to be had.
Front seat comfort is satisfactory, and it's worth noting that the Tucson stands apart from other compact crossovers by offering a power passenger seat (Limited only). The rear seat doesn't slide fore and aft, which strikes us as a missed opportunity in this segment, but it's mounted higher than before and can now accommodate a couple of 6-footers without issue.
Cargo capacity has also improved. With 31 cubic feet behind the rear seatbacks and 61.9 cubes with those seatbacks folded down, the Tucson is close enough to the CR-V (35.2 and 70.9 cubes, respectively) to provoke thoughts about how important that maximum number really is. Sweetening the deal is the hands-free power liftgate that comes standard on Sport and Limited. Unlike the Ford Escape's version of this technology, which works via a foot sensor that you need to kick at, the Tucson employs a proximity sensor that opens the liftgate automatically if it senses you're standing in the vicinity with the key in your pocket.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover15.5%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More About This Model
What Is It?
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson is a fully redesigned compact SUV that is bigger in most dimensions than the model it replaces, yet still slightly smaller than top-selling segment rivals. It is available in four trim levels (SE, Eco, Sport and Limited), each of which includes plenty of equipment for their respective price points. The base SE starts at $22,525 while the Limited starts at $30,975. There are two four-cylinder engines offered, but the powerful and efficient turbocharged engine that is standard on the upper three trims is your best bet.
How Much Bigger Is It?
The 2016 Tucson is 3 inches longer, 1.1-inch wider and has a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase compared to its predecessor, which was one of the smallest vehicles in the compact SUV segment. The additional width and wheelbase is especially noteworthy, as it brings those dimensions on par with competitors like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.
The result is a more passenger-friendly cabin, especially for those in back. The 60/40-split rear seat is mounted high, providing ample thigh support, and there is plenty of legroom even with a 6-footer up front. An additional 11 degrees of seatback recline is welcome as well.
Even with its larger overall dimensions, the Tucson still falls a bit short in terms of cargo capacity. Its 31 cubic feet of space with the rear seats raised and 61.9 cubic feet with them lowered is considerably more than before, but on paper, the cargo area remains among the smallest in the segment. Numbers can be a bit deceiving, however. Compared to the likes of the Ford Escape or Jeep Cherokee, the Tucson's cargo area is wider and easier to load, with the added bonus of a floor that can be lowered an additional 2 inches for some extra space.
What Engines Does It Offer?
The entry-level 2016 Hyundai Tucson SE trim comes with the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the outgoing base model. It's rated at 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are once again standard, with all-wheel drive optional. Its EPA rating is up one notch to 26 mpg combined (23 city/31 highway) with front-wheel drive. Opting for all-wheel drive drops that number down to 23 mpg combined.
New to the Tucson is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This engine, along with its standard seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (DCT), makes stepping up to the higher trim levels a tempting choice. With 175 hp and, more importantly, 195 lb-ft of torque, it accelerates to highway speeds with more confidence than the base engine.
In Edmunds testing, a front-wheel-drive Tucson Limited reached 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, which is quick for cars in this class. In terms of foot-to-the-floor acceleration, the Tucson may have edged out rivals, but in everyday driving conditions it comes up a bit short. There's a noticeable delay between applying pedal pressure and forward motion. Gear changes also produce inelegant lurches on occasion. Coming to a stop from 60 mph required 120 feet, which is a few feet shorter than competitors.
Despite the increased power, the 1.6-liter is the more efficient of the two available engines. How efficient depends on trim level, though. Not surprisingly, the Eco trim is the most economical choice, as smaller wheels and low-rolling-resistance tires help yield an impressive 29 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 27 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. These numbers make the Tucson Eco roughly equal to the segment-best Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 2.5 and Subaru Forester 2.5i.
Opting for either Sport or Limited trim lowers fuel economy to 27 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, and 26 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. This still tops the Ford Escape and its turbocharged engines, and is certainly well within the definition of "economical" for an SUV, especially given this powertrain's level of performance.
How Does It Drive?
Hyundai has made extensive improvements to the Tucson's steering and suspension. The latter includes more robust suspension components, upgraded dampers and new hydraulic-type bump stops. Plus, when it's equipped with all-wheel drive, an Active Cornering Control system not only sends power rearward while turning, but also applies the inside rear brakes to reduce the vehicle's tendency to push wide through turns.
It definitely doesn't possess the driver-engaging verve of a Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5, but short of those standouts, the Tucson's ride and handling are in keeping with expectations for the segment.
One distinction of note is the standard Drive Mode Select system that alters steering effort, transmission shift programming and throttle response according to one of three settings: Normal, Eco and Sport. This feature is increasingly typical on luxury cars, but the Tucson is the only vehicle in the compact SUV segment to offer it.
Even with the big 19-inch wheels found on the Sport and Limited trims, the Tucson didn't seem to possess the sort of impact harshness the outgoing model had on rough pavement. There is a level of refinement present that wasn't there before, which further contributes to the new model being a more complete, competitive offering in the segment.
What's the Interior Like?
Unlike the exterior that is both more stylish and grown-up than its predecessor, the interior design is just more grown-up — as in a khaki pants, business casual sort of way. The materials are just average, with prominent stretches of hard, scratchy plastic spread throughout the cabin that make the Tucson's cabin feel midpack at best.
There are padded and stitched leather surfaces covering the instrument panel and driver-side center console, as well as squishy door trim, but these elements are only offered on the top-of-the-line Limited trim. Even then, they don't look all that impressive. A more appreciated materials choice is the stain-resistant fabric used in models with a beige interior.
It is hard to fault the Tucson's cabin from a functionality standpoint, however. There is an abundance of storage up front, and the center armrest bin and smartphone holder are usefully large. Hyundai also continues to design and place its controls very well. We tested both a loaded Limited trim and a modestly equipped Eco, both of which had climate and audio controls that are easily reached.
The 5-inch touchscreen audio interface found on the SE, Eco and Sport isn't especially attractive or high-tech in appearance, but the layout is refreshingly simple, with easily pressed virtual buttons sharing space with song data from the radio or media player. The Limited's 8-inch touchscreen greatly expands functionality, but we experienced some slow reactions and the added features tend to complicate some menus. Whether you're tech-averse or an early adopter, the Tucson's electronics interface should meet with your approval.
Thick roof pillars and a small rear window reduce rear visibility, but thankfully a rearview camera is standard on all trims. The addition of rear cross-traffic alerts and parking sensors on higher-trimmed Tucson models further remove the guesswork out of backing into a tight spot.
What Features Come Standard?
In total, you get more equipment for your money in this new Tucson than before. With its base price of $22,525, the 2016 Tucson SE comes standard with alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, downhill brake control, hill-start assist, Drive Mode Select and the 5-inch touchscreen interface and satellite radio. These items are frequently optional among similarly priced competitors. Typical features like a rearview camera, height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seats, Bluetooth phone connectivity and iPod/USB/auxiliary audio inputs are also standard.
Besides its more powerful and efficient engine, stepping up to the Eco ($25,045) mainly adds some exterior aesthetic improvements. The Sport trim ($27,045) adds 19-inch wheels, a hands-free and height-adjustable power liftgate, push-button start, blind-spot and rear-cross-traffic warning systems, heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Finally, the Tucson Limited is the top of the line, boasting several features not available on even the priciest of its competitors. These include standard LED headlights, a power-adjustable passenger seat and Blue Link emergency telematics, as well as options like an enormous panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats (all included in the Ultimate package). Leather upholstery, navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, upgraded interior materials and the bigger touchscreen are also standard on the Limited.
What Kind of Safety Technology Is Available?
The Tucson earns a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The "+" is the result of the Automatic Emergency Braking system optional on the Tucson Limited. Although that technology is available on many competitors, only the Honda CR-V can match the Tucson's pedestrian detection technology.
Standard safety features include the usual assortment of airbags and stability control, plus a rearview camera and a driver-side blind-spot mirror. Standard on the Sport and Limited are a blind-spot warning system, a lane-change assist function that essentially extends the blind-spot warning system, and a rear-cross-traffic alert system that comes in handy when backing out of parking spots. A lane-departure warning system is available on the Limited, but we found it overly sensitive to pavement seams.
Also standard on the Limited is Hyundai Blue Link 2.0. Like other emergency telematics systems, it provides automatic crash notification, an SOS emergency assistance button, upgraded road side assistance, stolen vehicle tracking and remote door lock/unlock. The optional Remote package upgrade also allows you to use a smartphone (or smart watch) to start the car remotely, adjust the climate control, lock or unlock the doors, honk the horn and flash the lights. It also notifies you if the alarm goes off.
What Competing Models Should You Also Consider?
Given the 2016 Tucson's smaller size and emphasis on style, we recommend that you compare it to compact SUVs that are geared more toward singles or couples without children. If you are looking for something more family-friendly, a Honda CR-V or Subaru Forester offers more space.
The 2016 Ford Escape lines up well with the Tucson given its interior space and energetic turbocharged engines. It has a leg up on the Tucson in regards to its driving dynamics and interior quality, but its electronics interfaces and interior storage aren't as appealing.
The Mazda CX-5 is an Edmunds "A"-rated compact SUV that offers engaging driving dynamics, thrifty fuel economy and a well-made, spacious and comfortable interior.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
You are looking to step up from a compact or midsize sedan into a small SUV, but don't need (or want) something clearly intended for moms and dads. Or maybe you place superior value at the top of your list of priorities. Either way, the Tucson delivers a compelling package.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
It's not the most efficient SUV in the class, nor is it the most spacious. You also might not find the driving experience and interior ambience as refined as some of the class leaders.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson Overview
The Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson is offered in the following submodels: Tucson SUV. Available styles include Limited 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Sport 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), Eco 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), Eco 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), and Sport 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM). Pre-owned Hyundai Tucson models are available with a 1.6 L-liter gas engine or a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 175 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson comes with all wheel drive, and front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed automated manual, 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson?
Price comparisons for Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson trim styles:
- The Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson SE is priced between $15,499 and$22,590 with odometer readings between 14757 and121640 miles.
- The Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited is priced between $19,777 and$26,990 with odometer readings between 17215 and89572 miles.
- The Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson Eco is priced between $17,499 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 33687 and84817 miles.
- The Used 2016 Hyundai Tucson Sport is priced between $18,990 and$21,990 with odometer readings between 36869 and79598 miles.
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Which used 2016 Hyundai Tucsons are available in my area?
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Should I lease or buy a 2016 Hyundai Tucson?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.