The last few times that I’ve traveled and rented a car, I’ve driven SUVs such as the Jeep Cherokee and Nissan Rogue. I did like the ride being up higher than other small cars and found that these SUVs are pretty comfortable as well. When I was forced to replace my Mustang I decided to look into getting into something different. I did not want a Ford product based on my experience with the quality of the Mustang and didn’t find a really appealing vehicle at GM. I was seriously considering a Rogue but looked at the Hyundai Tucson based on my mom’s experience. She has a 2012 Hyundai Sonata sedan and it came very generously equipped for a base model and has had excellent reliability so far over eight years.
The Hyundai Tucson is a small crossover SUV. It came on the market in 2005 but the current generation, like all of Hyundai’s cars, is light years ahead of the older ones in terms of style, features, and quality. I chose the Sport model which sets itself apart from the base (SE) model with very sharp 19″ aluminum and black painted wheels (rare for an SUV) and different lower body trim. Considering the price being in the mid $20,000 range it is outfitted with lots of safety features like blind-spot/lane change monitoring, heated outside mirrors and seats, and power/automatic liftgate. The stereo has satellite capability but its layout is rather basic and there’s no navigation available on this model.
It has a 1.6L turbocharged engine making 175hp with a 7 speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. There can be a bit of lag at the start of acceleration at times for those who aren’t used to driving a turbo and a DCT transmission so it’ll take me a bit of getting used to. A dual-clutch transmission is like an automated manual. In a regular automatic transmission, there’s a torque converter to transfer engine revolutions to the gears using the pressure of hydraulic fluid. A manual transmission engages the gears with a clutch that the driver operates. In a DCT there are two clutches, one for gears 1,3,5 and 7 and the other for gears 2,4,6 and reverse and an electronic control module commands the engagement/disengagement. When first gear is engaged, the second gear clutch is ready; first can disengage and second can engage in as little as 10 milliseconds making it way faster than any human could shift. The end result is a far more efficient unit allowing for better gas mileage. I’m getting better mileage with it than my Mustang; its about 26mpg in mixed driving and I can get as much as 34mpg on the highway. The only drawback is that it tends to be not as smooth shifting especially in low gear as a traditional transmission. That’s my only complaint about this car. Otherwise the Tucson has a very well controlled and quiet ride.
As usual with all of Hyundai’s vehicles today it comes with a bumper to bumper warranty for 5 years but my initial impression after almost 2,000 miles is that its a well-built car. I’ve only had one mechanical issue in 40,000 miles – the blind spot sensor. The Tucson is made in Ulsan, South Korea at the largest car factory in the world and is sold in many countries. My Tucson took a very long journey to get to my home. From South Korea, it was shipped by boat across the Pacific to the Panama Canal, through to the Caribbean side, then up to the U.S. and up the Atlantic coast to Brunswick, Georgia to Hyundai’s processing center. From there it was loaded on a truck and driven a few hundred miles to a dealer in Alabama, and then I drove it a couple hundred miles home.
Check out some pictures of my new ride!