Within the compact SUV segment are two-box designs looking like, well, two boxes. Thrown into that upright, angular mix is the Hyundai Tucson, which fits into the campus of Tucson's University of Arizona far better than the arid landscape which more closely typifies Tucson. This is a sport utility with urbanity, competing against the relative sameness offered by Honda's CR-V, Toyota's RAV4 or (even) Hyundai's corporate cousin, Kia.
As described by KBB.com's reviewer, the Tucson's "adept handling comes at the expense of ride comfort, with the tires seemingly transmitting every bum and road blemish into the passenger cabin." In short, it's not a Honda, but those liking its size, responsive and individualistic sheetmetal shouldn't care. More in the review:
Build and Price
Although Hyundai's success is built on its value proposition, the pricing gap between it and its Japanese competition is often narrow. While a Tucson GL can be purchased for just over $21K, so can a RAV4. The majority of Tucsons are sold in the mid-$20s, and a Limited can be optioned to well over $30K. Spec your own here.
Hyundai's mid-level Tucson, the GLS, is the sweet spot in the Tucson lineup. With its standard 6-speed automatic and (optional) all-wheel drive, anticipate an investment of just under $26K.
What's New and/or Next?
Introduced with an all-new redesign in 2010, the clock is ticking for this generation of Tucson. However, revisions for 2014 are substantive; most notable is an all-new 2.0 liter four - with direct injection - as standard equipment. Also, new dampers improve ride quality, and both infotainment and navigation receive enhancements and refinements.
Hyundai as a brand, along with the Tucson as Hyundai's compact SUV, has been on a roll. The Tucson's sales numbers fully reflect its popularity, as indicated by this enthusiastic review: "Looks great, handles great (mine is a 5-speed manual and it's actually fun to drive in the mountains!), perfect for my wife and I and our little one. The seats are comfortable and it has all the standard features we need to get us around."
Others to Consider
Few compact SUVs are as big on style as the Tucson, but you wouldn't have a problem finding a roomier, more practical alternative in the segment. But even if you're ready to make the move to Tucson, make sure you've toured all your compact SUV options for 2014.
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