The new 2014 Hyundai Tucson gets new technology both under the hood and inside the cabin that makes this compact SUV a more attractive choice for consumers. This week we are testing the Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD ($27,700) model that sits at the top of the Tucson lineup. It’s a smaller SUV that competes with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Ford Escape, and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. The European styling is what sets it apart from the rest and it’s a bit smaller than the competition. This SUV will be an ideal city commuter that is both agile and more maneuverable.
The Hyundai Tucson gets some updates outside, under the hood, and new technology inside. It gets some reshuffling of its trim levels and the big news for the 2014 lineup is the two available engines get direct fuel injection. Our Tucson Limited tester gets a larger 7-inch touchscreen for the Limited’s optional navigation system.
Stepping inside we can see the Tucson is smaller than most of the competition in this segment, but still feels roomy. We like the way the Tucson dash is simple and straight forward in its layout. Everything is easy to reach and operate. Materials and workmanship are more upscale than in previous generations. The front seats are comfortable and supportive. Hyundai Tucson has seating for five and will seat four adults comfortably. The seating in the Limited features quality leather with heated front seats as standard fair.
Tucson Limited gets an updated infotainment system
This Limited tester gets an updated infotainment system with a 7-inch setup with updated software on the Limited’s optional navigation system ($2,650) that includes a panoramic sunroof with tilt/shade feature, LED taillights and a premium audio system with subwoofer and amplifier. Back seat room is comfortable for two, adequate for three. But the smaller Tucson does have a bit less cargo room than the competition. But it shines in its ability to out-maneuver most of the competitors.
Let’s be honest, most SUVs aren’t supposed to be sports performance models like the new 2015 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Not many fit in that exclusive category and most are just designed to provide average transportation. But the 2014 Tucson is a bit more agile because of its smaller size compared to the rest in this segment. We enjoyed our week driving the Limited Tucson because of its more agile characteristics in the city.
High on the fun-to-drive meter
The 2014 Hyundai Tucson is powered by a newly-designed 2.4-liter engine that gets direct fuel injection technology for the first time. The 2.4-liter powerplant pumps out 182 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque which is a bump of 6hp over the outgoing model. It comes mated to Hyundai’s superb 6-speed automatic that features a driver-selectable Active Eco mode. This feature modifies the response of the engine and transmission to changes in throttle position.
Out on the road, this 2.4-liter Tucson offers crisp performance, great maneuverability and a surprisingly high on the fun-to-drive meter for an SUV. The smaller size contributes to its sport demeanor on the road. It doesn’t have the power of a V6 that’s offered in some small SUVs, but it has enough power to handle most driving situations in the city. EPA ratings for the 2.4-liter Tucson are 20/25 mpg city/highway with all-wheel drive.
We drove it around some tight curves in the mountains and in the corners, it only has mild body roll. The chassis is a bit tighter than most car-based SUVs, but this is what gives it more sporty driving dynamics. The six-speed Shiftronic automatic gearbox is smooth and shifting is excellent, giving the Tucson an advantage in efficiency over other vehicles in its class. It can be manually shifted and is a contributing factor in its sporty feel.
Feels like a sporty European
The Tucson drives more like a European crossover with its tuned chassis, and if you want a cushy ride you may want to look elsewhere. We were able to maneuver easily and quickly around the streets of Denver during the week long test drive. The Tucson is an ideal candidate for those with a small family who live in an urban setting. The South Koreans have a compelling choice for active millennials who want a smaller sporty SUV.
The 2014 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD offers enough room inside for a smaller family who still needs the utility of an SUV. It offers crisp performance and decent fuel economy with the advantage of AWD all-weather capability. Where the Tucson shines is in its great maneuverability and a surprisingly high fun-to-drive factor that sets it apart from the competition. If you’re looking for an SUV that will be an ideal city commuter, that is both agile and more maneuverable, the Tucson could be a nice fit.