Hyundai is on a mission: to fill its showrooms with such a tempting succession of strongly styled, strongly valued 2010 models that you just can’t ignore them anymore. It’s working.
Hyundai started on this image rampage with the compelling Genesis sedan in 2008 and followed up in 2009 with the frisky coupe version. Hyundai was one of only two automotive brands to improve its sales after the auto industry dug out from under the disaster that 2009 turned out to be.
Now Hyundai’s turning up the heat on the competition with the 2010 Tucson crossover utility vehicle. The all-new, second-generation Tucson certainly fits Hyundai’s recent winning formula: it’s good-looking in a funky, hip sort of way; its driving manners are likely to exceed your expectations; it’s efficient and it’s an undeniable value.
If you’re saying to yourself, “Gee, that’s a lot of superlatives,” imagine what the class leaders, Honda and Toyota, must be thinking.
The Honda CR-V was the best-selling compact crossover last year and the eighth best-selling vehicle in the nation. The spacious 2010 Tucson has a longer wheelbase than the CR-V, yet gets better fuel economy and is nearly $1,500 cheaper. The front-wheel Tucson with automatic transmission gets 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway; the CR-V earns 21/28 mpg.
Over the years, we’ve seen more than a few of these numbers games. An automaker’s new widgetmobile slays the segment’s best-seller on paper, but doesn’t really measure up when the rubber meets the road.
No such games with the 2010 Tucson, though. It’s more than just a “numbers” car. Dynamically and aesthetically, the new Tucson equals or exceeds what the competition is offering on just about every front.
A revised new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder combines with the lowest weight in the class (when comparing front-drive models) to impart the Tucson with a genuinely energetic feel when accelerating. In a wise gambit, Hyundai’s dumped the former Tucson‘s optional V-6.
Hyundai’s graceful new 6-speed automatic transmission gets down to business without any of the fussiness we’ve come to loathe from many of the new generation of multi-speed automatics. And just for the record, Subaru and Toyota are still skating by with lame 4-speed autos in the Forester and RAV-4. There’s a standard 6-speed manual on the base Tucson GLS for those who either still savor self-shifting or have honed in on the silly-low $18,995 base price.
Hyundai’s trained us to expect an embarrassment of standard equipment and the 2010 Tucson upholds that tradition.
But to maximize the Tucson as an all-around package, we’d move up to the GLS with the Popular Equipment Package option, which includes leatherette seats, Bluetooth phoning capability, nice 17-inch alloy wheels and soft interior paint.
Offered in GLS and Limited trims, the Tucson also comes with an all-wheel drive option. We’d take the system just to eliminate the sometimes-lively torque steer the front-drive Tucson offers; even then, you’re out the door for less than 24 Grand.
The Tucson’s interior is attractively laid out and functional to a fault. It’s not as cheerful as the CR-V’s and not as airy as the Forester, and the deep binnacles for the speedometer and tachometer are old school, but not in a pleasant way. Those are hardly deal-breakers, particularly when remembering the Tucson’s price points.
Like just about everything Hyundai’s been doing lately (the coming replacement for the Sonata is likely to be a game-changer, too) the 2010 Tucson is an impressively complete effort. The 2010 Tucson’s easy-to-appreciate design, emphasis on fuel-efficiency and obvious value will tempt more customers to the Hyundai showroom. — Bill Visnic, Motor Matters
Next New On Wheels: 2010 Ford Transit Connect
Next Bonus Wheels: 2010 Mazda5
2010 HYUNDAI TUCSON GLS AWD
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger compact AWD CUV
BASE PRICE___________________ $23,195 (as tested: $23,990)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ 16-valve DOHC I-4
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 176 at 6000 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 168 at 4000 rpm
RANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
HEELBASE____________________ 103.9 in.
VERALL LENGTH_______________ 173.2 in.
URB WEIGHT__________________ 3,382 lbs.
UEL CAPACITY________________ 14.5 gal.
PA MILEAGE RATING___________ 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
BMW 5 SERIES GT: Those of us who were around in the 1950s might recall that the term Gran Turismo was used to describe Italian-built cars that combined the performance, handling, and styling of a luxury sports car. Well, today’s 2010 5 Series Gran Turismo, or GT, carries on this definition with, style, luxury, comfort and the performance of a BMW. The most unique feature of the 5GT is its cargo space — yes, the trunk. Below the rear window is a conventional sedan trunk lid that opens to reveal a fully enclosed trunk, sealed off from the passenger cabin by a movable partition. (Source: Down the Road, Motor Matters)
VICTORY MOTORCYLES: Cruising — or touring bikes — represent the fastest growing segment in today’s motorcycle marketplace. Yes, sport and superbikes are fast and loaded with the latest technology, but they don’t really cut the mustard in terms of comfort, especially where covering long distances are concerned. Joining the futuristic Victory Vision cruisers for 2010 are two new Cross series cruisers: the Cross Roads, and the Cross Country. (Source: 2-Wheeling Today, Motor Matters)
ASK AUTO ADVICE: With winter cold weather the power windows on my 2004 Ford Explorer do not work properly until the interior temperature is warm. I suspect the problem is the rubber window seals. Is there a lubricant that can help? Answer: If the problem is related to the rubber seals then any kind of silicone spray lubrication will help. However, the problem is probably a weak power window motor. (Source: Ask the Auto Doctor, Motor Matters)
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010