Originally published on April 1, 2015
Concepts are one thing; commodities are another. Any car show has a plethora of attractive sheetmetal that’s meant for the imagination only, but a good-looking car you can actually buy? That’s a little more like it.
Meet the attractive little Tucson, an entirely new version of Hyundai’s smallest crossover. Right off the bat, Hyundai’s knocked one out of the park with the looks of this car; it has all the rightness of the Santa Fe, just in a smaller package.
Just before we delve into the details on the Tucson, a brief overview of Hyundai’s light truck strategy. During the presentation, Hyundai touched on their core strategy for controlling a slice of the growing crossover market (three sizes of crossover), and trotted out their Santa Cruz concept trucklet once again. As a sidebar, they really should build this thing – with the Tacoma, Frontier, and Canyon/Colorado as large as full-size trucks used to be, a light-duty pickup that’s small enough for city use could have the kind of success the old Datsun pickup trucks had when they first rolled out.
As for the Tucson, that’s intended to be a flexible vehicle as an entry-level offering for those who don’t need the family-carrying capacity of the two sizes of Santa Fe. But don’t think of it as entry-level in terms of pricing: the Limited trim of this is jam-packed with stuff.
The Tucson’s new front end features LED lighting surrounding the handsome Hyundai grille, and there are LEDs around the back and hidden in the doorhandles as well. The wheelbase is slightly up, and the raked wheel arches give it a bit more aggressive look without overdoing it. The one concern is the 19″ alloy wheels – sure, they look great now, but just cost out replacing a set of tires. Calm down Hyundai, you aren’t Porsche.
The interior of this car is very well done indeed. Restraint has been used with regards to piano-black trim, and the overall effect is pleasing to the eye. Lots of soft touch materials surround driver and passenger, and there are all kinds of gee-whizz features like ventilated front seats and a giant panoramic sunroof. The switchgear has little chrome accents to match the knobs for the stereo – praise be! real knobs! – and the seats are quite comfortable. Cargo space is up over the old Tucson, and now stands at a plenty-roomy 513L. The rear cargo floor can be recessed for maximum carrying capacity, or raised to stand flat when the seats are folded.
A single USB outlet is flanked by twin power outlets, and there’s a space below it that’s big enough to store a heap of smartphones. A backup camera and a 5″ LCD touchscreen are standard on the car.