Hyundai likes to name its crossovers after cities in the American Southwest. So here's the 2017 Hyundai Tucson, which is little brother to the slightly larger Santa Fe Sport and the larger still Santa Fe. It's a mainstream player in the increasingly mainstream compact crossover SUV market segment.
For those unsure of exactly what a crossover is, the Tucson is a perfect example of the species. It's a vehicle that looks like an SUV in form, but is built more like a car. That means a unified body structure instead of a separate frame, a transverse-mounted engine powering only the front wheels with all-wheel drive as an option and a supple and nimble independent suspension. What carries over from truck-based SUVs is that crossovers are larger and more flexible in their use of space. In sum, a crossover is an SUV that's as comfortable as a car. And crossovers are the most popular transportation of choice as the 21st century marches on.
Hyundai redesigned the Tucson last year so there's not much that's new about the vehicle for 2017. That noted, the 2016 redesign saw the Tucson grow in size and in the attractiveness of its tailoring. And like so many other vehicles, it's now available loaded to the gills with technology, including an advanced crash-avoidance system, to keep the driver from doing anything stupid. So it's no wonder the Tucson gets the very highest safety ratings from the United States government and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Almost unique in this crossover size class, the Tucson is available with two distinct four-cylinder engines. Both use Hyundai's Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) system, but the SE model's standard 2.0-liter engine is naturally aspirated and rated at 164 horsepower. The ritzier Eco, Sport and Limited models are all powered by a still fresh 1.6-liter engine that, thanks to turbocharging, is rated at 175 hp. The SE comes with a conventional six-speed automatic transmission while the other three models use an advanced dual-clutch seven-speed automatic.
It's no surprise the best fuel economy is available in the front-drive Eco model with the turbo engine. That one rates out at 28 mpg combined (26 city/32 highway). The worst mileage is in the SE with all-wheel drive and the 2.0-liter engine. That one comes in at 23 mpg combined (21 city/26 highway).
The small crossover segment seems to get a new entrant every month. To sort them all out and find the best one for you, use every tool here at Edmunds. And then let us help you find the best 2017 Hyundai Tucson from a great dealer.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.