Small SUV’s, just about every manufacturer sells one but only a few dominate sales mainly the CRV, Rav-4 and the Escape so how about the all-new 2010 Hyundai Tucson? The previous generation Tucson was well, let’s just say forgettable. But this is a new Hyundai, which now produces heat after heat. It certainly resonates with the company’s succession of eye-catching design. This Tucson was conceived in Germany and as such possesses some European flare and is a true style leader in the segment. If you haven't noticed, Hyundai doesn’t envision a bright future for the V6 engine, not in the new fuel conscious world.
So that engine is no longer offered. What we have here is one motor for all trims known as theta2 its Hyundai’s new 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder rated at 176 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque. It’s a modern all aluminum engine with continuously variable vale of timing, a variable induction system and as piece have certified when sold in green states. For those of you who still like to shift for yourself, the Tucson is one of those few SUVs left to offer a manual transmission. A six speed unit, mine however is the Tucson GLS all wheel drive which come standard with a Hyundai developed six-speed automatic, returning fuel economy estimates of 21 mpg city and 28 highway.
Those numbers best the CRV by 1 mpg. Other areas where the Tucson shines are on its curb weight, the lowest in the class, best-powered weight ratio and smallest turning diameter. Why then do I feel largely unmoved by the Tucson?
Unlike every other Hyundai I’ve driven in the past few years, the Tucson doesn’t leave me saying, “Wow, that’s impressive!” I love the new sheet metal. The interior is very stylish too with quality materials and an excellent optional navigation package. Those are multitude of convenience features and decent storage areas. It has a four lock for the all wheel drive system, downhill brake control and hill start assist. The Tucson packs it in for an asked tested price of $26,090.00. But as for the drive, I didn’t notice the improved suspension and steering changes, the Tucson drives just fine but certainly doesn’t move the excitement needle like a Mazda CX-7 and doesn’t elevate above the rest of the class. I'm so used to being wowed by Hyundai that after spending a week with a Tucson, the best I could muster was, it’s fine. I prefer something that’s a little more fun to drive but the Tucson does bring easily, manageable SUV utility, lots of features and a strong dose of style at a competitive price. For Drive Time on Yahoo Autos, I'm Steve Hammes.