NEW FOR 2009:

– Improved fuel economy
– GLS trim discontinued
– Redesigned front grille and rear garnish, new 16-inch alloy wheel design, new interior cloth material and design
– Limited FWD adds fog lights
– 25th Anniversary Edition model

For 2009, the Hyundai Tucson trims its GLS trim line, but adds a 25th Anniversary Edition, in honour of the brand’s years in Canada. The special edition builds on the four-cylinder GL Automatic package, and adds a premium stereo, in-dash Garmin 3.5-inch navigation system, power sunroof, body-colour exterior handles and mirrors, and anniversary badge, for an additional $1,000.

All models now get better fuel economy, up to five per cent improvement on four-cylinder engines, and five to six per cent with the V6. The Tucson also undergoes a very minor facelift, with a new grille and rear garnish, and new interior upholstery materials.

The Tucson is available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine or 2.7-litre V6. The 2.0-litre comes with a five-speed manual in the L and GL trim lines; it can be optioned to a four-speed automatic in the GL, and is exclusive in the 25th Anniversary Edition. The V6 comes only with the four-speed automatic, in GL and Limited trim. V6 models can also be optioned with all-wheel drive.

Features on the L include 16-inch alloy wheels, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input and four speakers, cloth seats with manual four-way driver and passenger adjustment, vanity mirrors, rear centre armrest with cupholders, windshield wiper de-icer, map lights, overhead sunglasses storage, power locks, heated mirrors, power windows with driver’s auto-down, variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, tilt wheel, underbody skid plate, under-floor cargo storage, and roof rack side rails.

The GL adds air conditioning, six speakers, heated seats, rear privacy glass, and keyless entry. Cruise control can be added as an option.

The GL V6 builds on the four-cylinder GL and adds body-colour mirrors, door and liftgate handles, chrome rear garnish, and dual exhaust. The GL V6 AWD also adds fog lights.

The Limited models add active front head restraints, fog lights, side and curtain airbags, heated leather seats, leather-wrapped wheel, metal-grain interior accents, trip computer and power sunroof. Body-colour or two-tone bumpers and cladding can be added as an option.

Although it shares its platform with the Kia Sportage, the two have different styling and are built in different factories. The four-cylinder keeps the price down, but it can be anemic, especially with the four-cylinder; the V6 is a better performer overall. The all-wheel drive system is primarily front-wheel, sending torque to the rear wheels when it senses slippage. Interior space is good, and the folding seats drop easily, in a single motion, without flipping seat cushions or removing the head restraints.

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