Experienced by Leon Brittain
From its engaging facade complimented by a chrome grille and sporty LED wrap-around headlamps with seamlessly integrated turn signals to the curvy, sculpted rear tailgate, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson proves that compact doesn’t necessarily equate to minuscule and boring. In fact, our time with the Caribbean Blue 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder powered Korean SUV was anything but boring.
With a family of five I’m always challenged with deciphering between vehicles that can comfortably accommodate everyone while also handling the extracurricular school gear and cadre of equipment for the four sporting activities the kids participate in. Not a problem with “Baby Blue,” the nickname my household affectionately coined for the Fit Fathers evaluation unit. Although rear legroom leaves room to be desired when all three kids were in transport we found plenty of space for packages, groceries and gear with kids in tote (61.9 cu. ft. of cargo when seats are folded down and 31 cu. ft. when seats are up). With the fold-flat rear seating laid down a whole new world of cargo opens up for additional functionality. Along with the door-mounted cup holders, passengers in the back were treated to the toasty comfort of heated seats, an unexpected luxury typically found in vehicles of higher value. Needless to say this was an instant favorite for the kids on those chilly, O’Dark-30 winter mornings in route to school.
Other noteworthy Tucson interior amenities included the standard, user-friendly 8” touchscreen display which houses the navigation, audio, rear camera and Blue Link Telematics. Collectively the system is intuitive and simple to operate, even for my 7-year-old daughter Nia who easily shifted between the Disney Channel and Nav like clockworks. For gadget happy families you can stay connected and charged to your devices by way of two 12V 180W outlets, an auxiliary outlet and the convenience of a USB port found nestled within reach of both the driver and the passenger. To bring the outside within, a larger than life panoramic sunroof hovers overhead to the ambiance of the black leather laced interior in my vehicle. Suffice to say, our journeys to and from games, practices and classes where always comfortable and engaging.
As previously mentioned, powering Baby Blue is a 1.6 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder which cranks out a respectable 175-horsepower and produces 195 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is matted to a 7-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) for a smooth ride and optimal fuel savings. Admittedly, there were occasions where I felt supplemental power was needed at lower RPMs for better acceleration, but such performance would of course come at the cost of reduced fuel efficiency. Though the prices for gasoline are finally reasonable, I’d opt for the Tucson Limited’s 30 HWY MPG fuel economy (33 HWY MPG for Eco model) any day over an incremental performance increase which becomes a moot point once rolling and dashing through the concrete jungles and beltways of the nation’s capital where I reside. However, AWD and 19” sport alloy rims were perfect for the cold, snow-filled conditions here on the East Coast.
Safety wise, Hyundai equips the Tucson with an abundance of tech features including Lane Change Assist, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Warning, active front head restraints to help reduce whiplash injuries, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and Hillstart Assist Control and Downhill Brake Control which made my heart beam with joy when Noelle, my 12-year-old son, asked about the related icon and proceeded to explain its meaning rather successfully.
With a MSRP of $22,700 for a 2016 Tucson SE, my Limited model equipped with AWD tipped the scale at $32,510 ($29,900 MSRP for FWD model) which is reasonable considering the bevy of standard features. Consumers can choose between SE, Eco, Sport or Limited variants of the new Tucson. I enjoyed my winter week with the 2016 Tucson Limited AWD since it provided all the essentials necessary for an active Fit Fathers lifestyle and wish it was around going into the spring sport season!