For 2007, the Hyundai Tucson loses a model: the GL four-cylinder model with all-wheel drive has been discontinued. All four-cylinder models are now two-wheel drive, and AWD is restricted to V6 models. As well, only the GLS and GL V6 FWD with Leather Package receive a metal grain centre stack, and Warm Silver exterior shade is replaced with Platinum Silver. Metallic paint, a $125 option in 2006, is now no-charge.

The Tucson comes a choice of two engines: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 2.7-litre V6. The GL comes with a five-speed manual transmission that can be optioned up to a four-speed automatic (but only if the air conditioning package is also added); all V6 models use the autobox.

Features on the GL include 16-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, roof rails, rear washer/wiper, power windows, power locks, heated mirrors, CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, and floor mats. Adding the air conditioning package to the GL also includes keyless entry and privacy glass.

The GL V6 adds two-tone side cladding, cruise control, body-colour outside mirrors and handles; an available Leather Package adds heated leather seats, leather-wrapped wheel, and metal grain centre stack. The GL AWD model also adds fog lamps.

The GLS V6, in all-wheel drive only, adds heated leather seats, leather-wrapped wheel, metal grain centre stack, fog lamps, power sunroof, and side and curtain airbags.

The Tucson platform is also found at Kia, as the Sportage, but they have different styling and are built in separate factories. When it was released as an all-new model in 2005, the Tucson was very close in size and styling to the Santa Fe, but since that model is now larger and redesigned for 2007, the Tucson has this spot in the Hyundai line-up to itself.

The Tucson is nimble, fun to drive and very well equipped for its price, but the V6 is the better choice; the four-cylinder can be anemic, especially when mated to the automatic. The folding seats are a brilliant design: simply pull a handle, and they drop to form a flat floor, without flipping seat cushions or removing head-restraints. Seating is comfortable, controls fall easily to hand and the ride is smooth: this is a well-done little SUV.

Connect with