Selections for compact crossovers are getting better and better with well-established names like Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and Honda CR-V still being crowd favorites. However, Hyundai is making a case for its 2014 Hyundai Tucson, which is its latest entry to the compact crossover segment. Hyundai integrated the Tucson with excellent technology and features, allowing it to go neck and neck against its competitors and making it up to date in all respect.
NEW FOR 2014 TUCSON
– Base GL model discontinued
– New SE trim slots
– Direct fuel injection
– Blue link telematics
– Optional all-wheel drive
UNDER THE HOOD
The 2014 Hyundai Tucson comes with two choices of four-cylinder engines: the 2.0 liter engine and 2.4 liter direct injection engine. The first option powers up the base GLS model and is rated at 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft torque. Meanwhile, the 2.4 liter direct injection engine, which is rated at 182 horsepower and 177 lb-ft, keeps the SE and Limited models revving. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard across Tucson levels, while all-wheel drive is optional for all models as well.
ON THE ROAD
Somehow the 2014 Hyundai Tucson makes for a good drive because of its responsive handling and firm suspension. With its compactness–smaller than the Elantra sedan–maneuverability even in tight spaces is easier and sharp turns are made without difficulty, though changing lanes would require more attention due to the blind spots created by the rear quarter windows. Impact harshness is not at all hard and the vehicle dances well in the curves. However, road noise can be quite a problem, especially during hard acceleration in rough-road conditions.
When it comes to safety, government crash tests give Tucson a four out of five rating, including frontal and side impacts. It also received a good rating in all categories of the tests administered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety except for the new small overlap front test, where it received a poor grade like many other current vehicles.
INSIDE THE 2014 TUCSON
Stylish is the best word that can be used to describe Tucson’s cabin. Its dashboard is sleek with clearly labeled controls that are within easy reach. And though its interior panels and dashboard are made from hard plastic, their fine texture gives them a more luxurious feel.
The standard tilt-and-telescoping wheel of Tucson complemented with adjustable seat (6-way for GLS and 8-way for SE and Limited) makes it easier for tall drivers to handle the car with comfort. However, second-row passengers might find the rear area a bit small because of the sloping roof and the seat cushions’ low placement. Fortunately, the Tucson now has a reclining feature for its rear 60/40-split seatbacks, allowing for extra space for passengers or cargo.
The hauling ability of Tucson is quite good, but still lags behind its main rivals, Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester. Its cargo room is at 25.7 cubic feet and can be expanded by up to 55.8 cubic feet when the seatbacks are folded down–spacious enough to accommodate a couple of big boxes.
All three trim levels of 2014 Hyundai Tucson–GLS, SE and Limited–are generously equipped.
The GLS has standard equipment like 17-inch alloy wheels, power windows, air conditioning, door locks, keyless entry, power accessories, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel that has auxiliary audio controls, height-adjustable driver seat, reclining and split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity, 6-speaker sound system integrated with iPod/USB and a satellite radio.
Move up to the SE level and you can have bodyside cladding, roof rails, rearview camera, heated mirrors and front seats, automatic headlights, fog lights, 8-way power driver seat, front vanity mirrors that can be illuminated and rear climate vents.
The Tucson’s top line model, Limited, comes with 18-inch wheels, exterior accents made of chrome, rearview camera, keyless entry with push button start, automatic dual climate control, automatic dimming rearview mirror with Homelink and BlueLink telematics suite.
All 2014 Hyundai Tucson levels are equipped with safety/security features, such as a hillstart assist and downhill break controls. However, an optional technology package is available only to the Limited model, which includes LED taillights, panoramic sunroof, improved navigation system that has a 7 inch touchscreen, HD radio and a premium sound system.
Photo credit: hyundaiusa.com