A Whole New Thing: The 2016 Hyundai Tucson Sport

Front view of 2016 Hyundai Tucson Sport
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson Sport.
If you want a sense of just how big a leap forward the 2016 Hyundai Tucson Sport is, look no further than our review of the 2014 Tucson. The pictures alone tell the tale.  The last-Gen Tucson was a 2009 vehicle in a 2014 world.

Rear view of 2016 Hyundai Tucson Sport
2016 Hyundai Tucson Sport.
The situation called for a clean sheet of paper, and that's what Hyundai went for. Now powered by a 1.6-liter turbo four making 175 horsepower and mated to a dual-clutch 7-speed automatic transmission, the Tucson trades in not only its dowdy last-decade appearance, but improves its performance and fuel economy (now EPA estimated at 25 city/30 highway).

One notch down from the top-of-the-line Limited, the Tucson Sport has a base price of $26,150 that includes the aforementioned powertrain as well as 19-inch alloy wheels, a hands-free smart liftgate, keyless entry and pushbutton start and an audio system with a 5-inch color display. That particular feature was the source of the one and only failure we experienced with the Tucson.  Navigator and I, on our way to the preview night of the San Francisco Auto Show, were stuck on traffic on the Bay Bridge, approaching the toll plaza.  As we crawled closer, I could see the toll plaza clock said it was 6:11 p.m. But the dashboard display said it was 5:50.  Could it have not been set properly?  No, because it read 5:00 when the top-of-the-hour news hit on KCBS.  Somewhere along the way, the display (and with it the audio system, which we'd turned off after the news) froze.  Nothing would unfreeze it, including turning the car itself off and then on again as we sat in line for the tollbooth. It was only hours later, when we picked the car up from the garage after the auto show, that the display was back to reading the correct time and allowing us to use the audio system. We've had several such failures before with Ford's last-gen MyFordTouch system, but never in such a simple set-up as the Tucson's.

Interior view of 2016 Hyundai Tucson
2016 Hyundai Tucson.
The interior of the Tucson, like the exterior, is now a contemporary environment, with one of the most artistic approaches to the instrument panel in any small to midsize crossover SUV.

Apart from the carpeted floor mats for $125, there were no options on our Tucson Sport, which appears to be how Hyundai has set things up.  Want a navigation system (pictured above)? You'll need to step up to the Limited model for an extra $2,850.

Should you buy one?  A tricky question, given that the competition still consists of heavyweights like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue. But you should certainly include the Tucson in your test drives...which we wouldn't have recommended with the old one anytime after 2012.

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