December 27, 2012
Third Place – 2012 Hyundai Tucson GLS AWD
2012 Hyundai Tucson GLS AWD. Click image to enlarge
“This is the sports car of the bunch,” boldly declared one tester after a turn behind the wheel of the Tucson. Fact is, it’s not that far from the truth. Phrases like ‘fun to drive’, ‘nimble handler’ and ‘makes the RAV4 feel like an old Buick’ were heard as different evaluators stepped out after their turn with the Tucson. Being the only vehicle in this test, aside from the CR-V, on all-season tires, helped amplify the Tucson’s handling prowess. As can be expected though, this ability to carve a corner has a payoff in the form of a stiff ride. Some were okay with it, while others found it too harsh. Hyundai has yet to find that magic handling with supple ride formula in this segment that makes the Honda CR-V such a joy to drive.
The Tucson tied the RAV4 for the least comfortable front seats and a few of us found excessive wind noise intruding into the cabin. Steering was stiff and crisp if not a bit artificially heavy. The gauge cluster and HVAC drew the most criticism out of the test group but were simple to operate. Despite being the smallest vehicle in the test group, rear seat room was average and impressed us with some of the most comfortable seatbacks even if the cushions felt too low to the floor.
Cargo space, at 728 L, is the smallest in the bunch, which is to be expected considering the Tucson was the smallest in the group. Strangely enough, the smaller Tucson is heavier than both the Rogue and the CX-5, which may explain its unimpressive 11.7 L/100 km fuel consumption observed during the test.
The Tucson did arrive with the lowest as-tested price. At this price point, some options were lacking, notably a sunroof and back-up camera, but all the important convenience features were present and accounted for and some nice touches, like big side mirrors, were much appreciated. Many also appreciated the Tucson’s smooth six-speed automatic and 176-hp, 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine.
When the scores were added up and people were asked their opinion on each vehicle, “good value” kept coming up when the Tucson was discussed. That is a phrase that often comes up when any Hyundai product is discussed, and it is well-deserved. The Tucson, like most Hyundai products, delivers solid value, though it still has a ways to go to catch up with our winner.
Pricing: 2012 Hyundai Tucson GLS AWD
Base price: $28,899
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $30,759