I recall a couple of months ago there was an announcement from Audi's execs saying that the future of vehicles is not for cars. They expected the demand and growth of the SUV segment to make it the leading segment in the auto industry. Have a look for instance, at Jaguar, Bentley and even Rolls-Royce. Jaguar already launched their SUV, the F-Pace, Bentley did the same with the Bentayga, and Rolls-Royce will follow sooner or later. Anyways, let's get back to our test car: the all-new 2016 Hyundai Tucson.
I picked up the car from the official distributor in Lebanon, Century Motor Company, for a weekend ride. I was kind of excited as my sister drives the previous generation. I was curious to find out the main differences between these two same vehicles from different generations. Hyundai nowadays has a deep problem. Why is that? They simply can't build enough cars. The company needs more factories because the demand is way higher than the supply. That's probably why in the Middle East they are number two in terms of sales. Hyundai has the fastest growing compact crossover segment.
Old Tucson versus new Tucson
The old Tucson (the one my sister drives) was really unique in style, with great value. But the new one is just as great. I remember when I'd seen it for the first time; I had mistaken it for its larger sibling: the Hyundai Santa Fe. The refinement made on the new Tucson is pretty similar to the Santa Fe. The cabin is spacious, the ride is slicker and the whole package is simply perfect. Folding rear seats is now standard, and the rear trunk cargo space isn't the largest in its segment, nor is it the smallest.
When you jump into the cockpit, there is a German strictness and feeling. The interior is filled with stuff to look at and notice immediately; tones and textures are concentrated in attentive, simple-minded fashion. Stylish details such as piano-black radio knobs and a textured rubber storage tray liner represent delightful details - and do not forget that at night the control panel is illuminated with a gorgeous lighting scheme.
The engines offered are the 2.0 liter (which was our test car) and the 2.4 liter. The turbocharged engine may arrive in our market by 2017. The qualified silence is one of the Tucson's most satisfying wonders. At almost any speed, very little wind noise penetrates the cabin, and even on terrible and poor gravel road surfaces I felt that the suspension was soft and even the handling was superb, with less body roll than the previous one.
So here's what my wind-up say is about the Tucson. The segment is crowded, to a point that you can't even select what you want. Though the base price of the Tucson is more expensive than the base price of the previous generation, people still want the Tucson.
A complete package, excellent value for money and high-tech gimmicks make it an appropriate compact crossover. So what is the real difference between the Tucson and the competition? They are all great SUVs. But the one thing that blew my mind is my test car. I had the fully equipped trim. For almost $44,000 USD (on the road) in Lebanon, it is costly - but keep in mind that none of the other SUVs offer the same options. It's practically an Audi with its LED taillights, LED running lights, LED map lights, heated and ventilated seats and steering wheel, friendly infotainment system, blind spot lights on the side mirrors, a 405 watt sound system, panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, automatic emergency braking, etc.
Rivals: Kia Sportage, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-5, Jeep Cherokee, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Chevrolet Captiva
Pros: Exterior look, interior material quality, infotainment, high-tech features, roomy cabin, superior ride
Cons: The compact crossover segment is crowded to the point it's hard to pick a vehicle, expensive price tag on the fully equipped trim
One word: value-added
2.0 L, inline-4, 164 hp @ 6200 rpm, 205Nm @ 4000 rpm
4WD/FWD, 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
0-100 km/h: 8.3 sec, top speed: 193 km/h, fuel consumption: 8.7 L/100 km
Weight: 1,520 kg