Hyundai Tucson
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Overall

Hyundai’s small tall wagon continues to siphon buyers away from the class-leading Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape with its style, comfort and operating economy.

Drivetrain

There’s a new base 2.0-liter four-cylinder and an optional 2.4 for 2014 although performance and fuel consumption stats change only slightly; a six-speed automatic transmission is common to both (say good bye to the five-speed stick).

The five-passenger Tucson prides itself on providing affordable and thrifty all-weather transportation that meets or beats the competition. For 2014, both Tucson four-cylinder engines have been upgraded to direct-injection technology, which means fuel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber (instead of through the intake manifold) under very high pressure, which means it can be tailored for very specific situations and loads. As a result, the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder is rated at 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque (previously 165/146), while the optional 2.4-liter makes 182 horses and 177 pound-feet of torque (compared to 176/168). Clearly the optional engine gained the most in the direct-injection transformation, but neither manages to move the fuel-economy needle in any meaningful way compared to their respective 2013 numbers. Both engines are now linked exclusively to six-speed automatic transmissions, which spells the end for the five-speed manual gearbox that was previously standard with the 2.0. The Tucson’s all-wheel-drive system that can be ordered with both powerplants comes with a number of off-roader-type functions, including hill-start-assist and downhill-brake control for added stability on steep terrain. The Tucson runs the gamut, all the way from the affordable GL to the Limited model with big wheels, navigation, leather seating surfaces, dual sunroofs and a stereo that controls your Apple iPod and displays song selections on its screen. Aside from features, though, one of the most telling signs that you’re in a Limited is the smoother ride and reduced levels of road noise. The difference is quite dramatic, even though the vehicles look pretty much the same. Of course, you can count on Hyundai’s all-encompassing 10-year powertrain, and five-year comprehensive warranties to apply to the Tucson.

Base price (incl. destination): $22,300
Type: Four-door sport-utility vehicle
Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4 (164)
Optional engine (hp): 2.4-liter DOHC I4 (182)
Layout: Front engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 23/29 (2.0)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; stability control; traction control
Weight (lb.): 3,230