2016 Hyundai Tucson Expert Review

4.4 Overall Score
Performance 4.1 Comfort 4.0 Styling 4.0 Value 4.5

Editor's Overview

The Hyundai Tucson enters its third generation for 2016 as an all-new compact crossover SUV. Long a competent but rather uninspiring competitor to best-sellers like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, the 2016 Tucson has reinvented itself with a stylish exterior and smart interior to pose a credible challenge to the segment's leaders.

You'll Like The 2016 Hyundai Tucson If...

If you want a small SUV with style, sophisticated technology and great fuel economy, put the 2016 Hyundai Tucson on your consideration list. Another big draw is Hyundai's excellent powertrain warranty that's good for 10 years/100,000 miles.

You May Not Like The 2016 Hyundai Tucson If...

Though its interior space has grown, the revamped Tucson's cargo capacity still trails that of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Also, it isn't as quick as a turbocharged Kia Sportage or as nimble as a Mazda CX-5.

What's New

The Hyundai Tucson is totally revamped for 2016. Slightly larger than its predecessor, it has fresh sheet metal that is both stronger and more stylish, a larger interior, and loads of new tech and safety features. A 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder replaces the larger and less-efficient 2.4-liter 4-cylinder.

Interior Features

The Tucson's 2-row, 5-passenger interior has improved in both size and sophistication. While base SE models make do with a 6-way manual-adjust driver's seat, even climbing one trim brings the more comfortable 8-way power-adjust version with lumbar support. We applaud the use of buttons and knobs for climate and audio functions even in higher-spec models to complement the touch screen. Also noteworthy are the Tucson's near flat-folding rear seats and dual-level cargo floor. A particularly thoughtful feature is the ability to store the cargo tonneau cover underneath the floor. The optional panoramic sunroof is huge, but rear-side visibility is hampered by small, narrow windows.

Exterior Features

The 2016 Tucson's new suit will likely be one of the first things you notice – and among the biggest initial draws to Hyundai's compact SUV. Treated to the automaker's latest "Fluidic Sculpture 2.0" design, the Tucson now looks like the rightful little brother to the Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport. The new Tucson has a sporty, forward stance, sharp creases below the side windows, and Hyundai's large trapezoidal grille. Just as impressive is what you cannot see: The Tucson's new chassis now uses more than 50 percent high-strength steel, vs. 18 percent for the former model.

Driving Impressions

The 2016 Hyundai Tucson has made great gains in terms of overall comfort. Most appreciated are its well-insulated cabin that keeps outside sounds at bay, a new suspension setup that yields a more composed ride even on gravel, and steering that feels less artificial than past models. The 1.6-liter turbocharged model we tested had adequate power for most duties, but we would have requested a few more ponies under the hood for passing situations. A new drive mode selector that includes a Sport setting does help when you need more verve, however, as it makes the Hyundai's throttle, engine and shifting more responsive. Regarding the latter, the 1.6-liter Tucson is the only SUV in its class to use a 7-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission. The new setup grants smooth shifts, is eager to kick down when needed, and helps attain fuel economy of up to 33 mpg in Eco trim.

Pricing Notes

The 2016 Hyundai Tucson has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $23,595 for a base SE. The more efficient Eco model begins just over $25,000, while the well-equipped Tucson Sport trim starts just over $27,000. A top-line Limited edition bows at $30,795. Adding all-wheel drive to any model is an additional $1,400. Go full boat on a Limited Ultimate and you can reach the mid-$30,000 mark. At these prices, the new Tucson starts just below the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV and Nissan Rogue, and is nearly identical to the Ford Escape. The Hyundai Tucson's cousin, the Kia Sportage, begins a few hundred below the Tucson. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Tucson. Because this model is all-new, we have yet to predict the Tucson's residual value. In general, though, Hyundai's star has lifted in recent years.

Notable Equipment

The 2016 Tucson is available in four main trims: SE (base), Eco, Sport and Limited. If you go with the least-expensive model, you'll still get an automatic transmission (an added cost in some rivals), backup camera, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and a 5-inch touch screen AM/FM/CD 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, and USB and auxiliary inputs. Stepping up to the Eco model brings the more efficient yet more powerful 1.6-liter turbo engine, roof rails and LED daytime running lights, while the Sport model adds blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats, push-button start, and a power liftgate with the proximity open feature.

Notable Options

At the top end of the Tucson food chain is the Limited trim that comes with leather seating, LED headlights and taillights, a chrome grille and door handles, a power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. That model also gets an upgraded infotainment system with 8-inch touch-screen command module, 405-watt/8-speaker audio system, and Hyundai's Blue Link 2.0 smartphone interface. If this still isn't enough, there's the Ultimate Package that includes ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, lane-departure warning, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking system with pedestrian detection.

Favorite Features

SMART POWER TAILGATE

While competitors offer motion-activated power tailgates that lift with, say, a kick of the foot, Hyundai uses proximity to sense your intentions. Stand for a few seconds near the tailgate with the key in pocket or purse, and the Tucson will automatically raise the rear door while you leave both feet on the ground.

YES ESSENTIALS STAIN PROTECTION

The interior of a small SUV can be a busy, potentially stain-inducing place. That's why Hyundai Tucson models with cloth seats come with YES Essentials fabric technology. In addition to fighting stains, the seat fabric helps repel foul odors and even reduces static electricity.

Under the Hood

Two drivetrains are available in the 2016 Hyundai Tucson. The base SE model uses the carryover 2.0-liter naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission, while the rest come with the fresh 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 7-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available with either engine in lieu of the standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) setup. The AWD Tucson has a "lock" feature that grants up to a 50/50 torque split between the front and rear wheels for better traction in slippery or off-road conditions. While you may equate turbocharging with speed, the application here is more for fuel economy, which allows the Tucson's smaller engine to be rated up to 33 mpg, a 5-mpg gain over the past 2.4-liter engine. In other welcome news, this turbo engine does just fine running on regular gasoline.

2.0-liter inline-4

164 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm

151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (FWD), 21/26 mpg (AWD)

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4

175 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm

195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/30 mpg (FWD), 24/28 mpg (AWD), 26/33 mpg (Tucson Eco, FWD), 25/31mpg (Tucson ECO, AWD)

Editors' Notes

The Hyundai Tucson enters its third generation for 2016 as an all-new compact crossover SUV. Long a competent but rather uninspiring competitor to best-sellers like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, the 2016 Tucson has reinvented itself to pose a credible challenge to such stalwarts. Along with an eye-catching exterior design, this 5-passenger SUV now boasts some of the latest technology and safety aids available, such as automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. The Tucson's new 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder still isn't the strongest in its class, but it does earn up to 33 mpg. With a starting price of under $24,000 and improvements upon its former self in almost every category, the new Tucson is ready to take on the segment's best.

Road Test Video Reviews

2016 Hyundai Tucson Owner Reviews

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Review of the 2016 Hyundai Tucson with Bluetooth and plenty of storage

2016 Hyundai Tucson Sport

My 2016 Hyundai Tucson is a great SUV. The AWD performs well in various weather conditions. I've had no major issues with the vehicle, but if I did my vehicle is still covered under bumper to bumper warranty for approximately 2 years or 80,000 miles. When buying my car I was most impressed with the length of the warranty. If I could change anything it would be the size of the entertainment screen, the larger screen is only an option for the limited model. I find the front seat comfortable but other drivers find the bottom seat hard and feel some mild discomfort after long drives. My model is the 1.6L turbo, I did choose this option after reviewing multiple issues with the 2.0L engine found on various websites. When accelerating from a complete stop in normal or eco mode I often feel a lag not felt in sport mode. With many cup holders and a larger compartment between the seats there's plenty of storage. I love the USB port for charging my phone and Bluetooth for listening to music and taking hands free phone calls. A second USB port in the rear seat would be helpful for passengers. Apple carplay would be another nice feature not available in the 2016 Tucson models. I feel the gas mileage is adequate for the size. I would personally always pick a SUV over a sedan for the safety over better gas mileage. The large backseat is very roomy for three adults. The backup camera works very well.

- Jessica S

Dependable with tons of features.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

This car is an extremely comfortable ride. The driver’s seat has powered adjustments (the passenger’s seat, however, is manual). Steering is smooth and easy, and there are controls on the steering wheel for phone calls and the radio. There is also Bluetooth capability if you want to listen to your phone. As soon as you get in, if you left the radio on Bluetooth mode, your music immediately starts playing. Visibility is excellent. There are also a lot of adjustable settings. There is one that makes the volume go down as your speed increases, which I do not use but am fascinated by. Also, there is an eco mode, which gauges your driving habits and adapts to them to get the highest possible gas mileage, and there is a sport mode, which increases the horsepower and torque. I could go on about the features, but overall this is an excellent, reliable car.

- Elizabeth W

Safe, reliable, and comfortable vehicle.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

There have been zero issues with my vehicle so far. The performance of my vehicle has been absolutely amazing. It drives incredibly well in all types of weather, especially snow and ice covered streets. Which also adds to the reliability of the vehicle itself. It has been incredibly reliable the entire time that we have owned it. The comfort is outstanding. No one in my family has ever complained about the comfort level of the car. We have done a 14 hour drive in this vehicle with no issues. The features in the car are great as well. The only thing that I wish this specific model had in it was a navigation system. However, that was not a deal breaker because it has been rated one of the top safety vehicles for its brand and model. Which is important when you have a family to transport around.

- Ali S

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