The Hyundai Tucson compact SUV emulated the popular boxy styling of the times when it debuted in 2005. While most of Tucson's current competitors still cling to typical crossover shapes, designers at Hyundai have never been bashful about bucking a trend, as evidenced by the Tucson's attractive shape.
For 2014, Hyundai revises the trim names of the Tucson. Formerly called the GL, GLS and Limited, the crossover now becomes the GLS, SE and Limited. The 2014 Tucson has new projector headlamps with LED accents that provide a modern, trendy look. A panoramic sunroof with roof side rails adds an upscale touch. Base prices start at $21,450 for the GLS, $23,500 for the SE and $26,200 for the Limited.
All models get new engines for 2014. The new 2.0-liter Nu GDI benefits by replacing the multi-port fuel injection with a direct injection (GDI) system. Horsepower remains about the same at 164, but torque increases from 146 to 151 lb.-ft. That's just enough to produce a better driving feel compared with the previous multi-port version. Tucson with the 2.0-liter GDI engine gets an EPA estimated 23/29 mpg city/highway fuel economy figure with a ULEV emissions rating.
The 2.0-liter Tucson is adequate for running errands and commuting, but if you want better performance there's the 2.4-liter Theta II GDI engine -- the same one used in the Sonata and Santa Fe Sport. Direct injection increases horsepower from 176 to 182 and torque from 168 to 177 lb.-ft. This engine gives Tucson the ability to tow up to 2,000 pounds. Tucson SE and Limited with the 2.4-liter engine deliver EPA estimated fuel economy of 21/28 mpg.
All Tucson models use a six-speed automatic transmission with manual control. Tucson's Active ECO System modifies engine and transmission control to smooth out throttle response. The driver can realize up to a 5 to 7 percent increase in real-world fuel economy by turning on Active ECO. All 2014 models are available now with AWD.
Tucson benefits from an upgraded suspension, called the Sachs Amplitude Selective Damping system. This helps smooth out the somewhat stiff and choppy ride of the previous model.
Inside, the high-tech cockpit comes standard with tilt and telescopic steering wheel, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, power windows, power door locks, fold-away mirrors and remote keyless entry with alarm and panic button. Front cupholders are illuminated with blue light for nighttime drives. The Tucson Limited has dual front automatic temperature control with CleanAir Ionizer that improves air quality when the heater or air conditioner are running.
The entry-level Tucson GLS now comes with three years of Hyundai's Blue Link telematics service, as well as Bluetooth hands-free phone capability. The SE and Limited variants add a new 4.3-inch color touchscreen with rearview camera while Tucson Limited buyers can step up to a new and more-intuitive third-generation navigation system with a larger 7.0-inch touchscreen and HD radio.
This new display offers a simpler user interface, enhanced voice recognition commands and improved navigation screens. The system is more intuitive for commonly used tasks. Simple pop-up messages now appear to help pair a cellphone and the voice recognition software understands street addresses and cities all in one sentence. The route screens display speed limits and details the next three maneuvers. One or two button pushes now complete most functions.
Tucson GLS and SE trims have a 160-watt AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers. This system includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio and iPod/USB auxiliary inputs. An available premium audio system with navigation pumps out 360 watts of sound and includes an external amplifier and subwoofer. It also plays compact discs, accesses digital music files employing Bluetooth streaming audio and allows driver and passenger to access their personal listening devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs.
2014 HYUNDAI TUCSON GLS
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger compact FWD CUV
BASE PRICE___________________ $21,450 (as tested: $22,325)
MOTOR TYPE__________________16-valve 4-cyl. w/GDI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 164 at 6200 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)________________ 151 at 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 173.2 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb)___34.7 ft.
CURB WEIGHT__________________ 3,232 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY_________________ 15.3 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway