The compact crossover segment is massive and intensely competitive, and every manufacturer puts forth a well-executed vehicle that will suit various lifestyles, from the rugged and off-road worthy Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk to the driver’s choice Mazda CX-5, and all the Escapes and CR-Vs and RAV4s and Foresters in between. You could draw names out of a hat and any of a dozen small SUVs would fulfill 99 percent of your needs if you regularly need room for four or five and some cargo.

What’s left to differentiate between these crossovers amounts to subtle strengths and subjective preferences and priorities: a quiet ride or performance punch; comfort or the latest tech features; cargo flexibility or passenger space. At the end of the day, it’s often the financing or incentive that will seal the deal, or just the right mix of features for the price, or perhaps it’s love at first sight with a pretty grille.

And on that note, let me introduce the latest addition to’s long-term fleet: the completely redesigned Hyundai Tucson, which arrives for 2016 ready to take on this critical segment. Although not completely unknown, the Tucson has long played second fiddle to its larger Santa Fe sibling, the Tucson’s arrival mid-2015 drove it to its best sales year ever in Canada and the United States, followed by its best January ever, though it’s still a long way off from sales leaders like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Over these next few months, we will poke and prod and pick apart every inch of Hyundai’s new Tucson to see if it lives up to the challenge of your typical Canadian family. We know it’s good, as it managed the best raw score in our comparison of smaller subcompact crossovers, but was priced well out of contention in that mini-ute segment, so we look forward to pitting it against its more natural competition.

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