The 2014 Hyundai Tucson is not trying to be a luxury car. And these days, that’s an admirable quality.
The Tucson is simply a solid compact SUV that delivers a reasonable amount of room in a well-rounded package. It doesn’t pretend to be more than it is and it doesn’t deliver any less. If you’re trying to be even slightly pretentious, you’d better move along.
The Tucson starts out at $22,325 for the GLS model. For that price you’ll get cloth seats and a 164 horsepower, 2.0 liter engine. I haven’t tested that drive train, but I’m assuming it’s not going to wow you. Cough up a couple thousand more and you bump up to the SE with the 2.4 liter four-cylinder. That’s the same motor that came in my test car, which was the Limited model. I’ll be the first to admit that its 182 horsepower isn’t spectacular. But, to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised. The six speed Shiftronic transmission did a good job of wringing every ounce of power. From a dead stop it moved up to freeway speeds in reasonable time. I’ve driven cars with more horsepower that were less impressive. The mileage is reasonable, although I was expecting a little more from the four-cylinder. It gets 21 mpg around town and 28 on the highway (the 2.0 liter only gets one mpg better). I can only assume that Hyundai’s efforts to give the Tucson some spring in its step takes away a little mileage. Frankly, it’s a reasonable trade-off.
Don’t forget Hyundai’s standard 10 year/100,000 mile warranty. The company started offering that when their cars were good, but people weren’t noticing them. Now that Hyundai builds solid cars the warranty becomes a huge bonus.
You’ll hear some folks claim that the ride is stiff and that the feel isn’t very responsive. Probably true, but I don’t think the average Tucson driver will notice or care. If you’re just using it to drive around town and run errands, it will do just fine.
The Tucson styling is now five years old, but it still looks great. That’s because it was so far ahead of the pack when it first came out that other car makers had to catch up. While it no longer stands out as a trend setter, you won’t think of it as yesterday’s design. Personally, I like the Kia Sportage just a touch more, but the Tucson isn’t far behind.
Inside, the Tucson is comfortable and reasonable. Again, it doesn’t try to over impress. It simply delivers everything you want. The styling on the dash is nice and clean. In fact, it was as good as any car I’ve driven minus the luxury trim pieces. My test car had the technology package (which costs an extra $2,650) with a 7-inch display screen. Rear leg room was better than some rivals, although overall cargo space is slightly less. You decide which is important. My test car also had leather seats. Not fancy, but a nice touch for a car that cost $29,835.
And therein lies the key to the Tucson’s charm. You’re not getting anything fancy. You’re not getting luxury. You’re getting a great looking compact SUV that is stylish and practical. There are others living in that same price range and doing a great job, but you won’t be disappointed if you opt for the Hyundai Tucson.