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First Drive: 2014 Hyundai Tucson Limited

2014 Hyundai Tucson

For nearly a decade, we have watched the Hyundai Tucson grown from a cheap low level crossover sneaking its way up the food chain for a competitive spot. In 2010 we were graced with a innovative Tucson highlighting a bubbly personality and a trendy look as it rolled into its second generation. As we roll through 2014, some of the Tucson’s top competitors have been restructured, fitting more with the times: Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Mazda CX-5. So after nearly four years of the same effervescent look, for 2014, Hyundai did some tweaking. Question is; has it worked?

Our Tucson arrived looking quite snappy as ever glazed in a Diamond Silver paint and even after four years, it is still as admirable with its smiling face and upbeat styling. Our tested Tucson came with the Limited badge which offered up new halogen headlamps with decorative LED halo accent lighting and optional retro LED taillights that turn groovy when the sun goes down. Chic 18” alloy wheels bump up the Tucson stance and the decorative black moldings add curb appeal to its overall design. This new update definitely keeps the Tucson looking up-to-date without losing to much of its original characteristics.

But, the tweaks are more than skin deep. The Tucson maintains two engine options: 2.0-liter (available on base GLS model) and 2.4-liter (standard on SE & Limited models) coupled to a six-speed automatic. Both engines are now Direct Injected which bumps up power on the 2.4-liter by 9 horsepower for a total of 182 and the 2.0-liter loses 1 horsepower for 164. Luckily our Limited Tucson had the 2.4-liter – to say the least it was a pretty good engine for its class. Power is delivered to the front wheels – AWD drive is an available $1,500 option; however, because we saved some weight not opting for the AWD, the Tucson achieved 0-60 mph in just shy of 8 seconds… not too bad. The six-speed transmission worked well with our new engine with smooth gear changes and acceleration.

Other changes include new Sachs amplitude-selective dampers, which optimizes improved handling and ride quality. The Tucson does handle fairly decently with a good range of feedback from the steering wheel, yet being light enough to maneuver around the parking lot. Ride quality is noticeably better and feels solid and robust over rough terrains. The cabin is now much more quieter with low wind and road noise. And when life’s little hiccups occur, the anti-lock braking system didn’t fail. The fuel consumption was also very good. EPA rates the Tucson at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. During our week we surpassed the EPA at 23 city and 33 highway, providing over 350 miles of range on regular unleaded gas.

Inside it is much the same as before. Transitioning from the Diamond Silver exterior to our Black interior made for an excellent contrast. The Limited features tons of standard equipment like leather with heated front seats, dual zone climate control, and power adjustable driver seat. Front seat comfort was above average with decent thigh and back support – we expected a better range of motion from the driver seat and passengers complained that the seats were too stiff. Rear passenger comfort follows the front, comfort levels are adequate and you won’t hear many complaints in the leg or headroom department.

When it comes to the final fit and finish, the Tucson present its age with the abundance use of hard plastic materials. While the dash maintains a groovy starship appearance, the hard plastics give it a cheap feel. With our black on black interior, the dark dash adds a bit of despair to the cabin. The shrewd use of silver trim helps break up the depressed mood and our $2,650 optional Technology Package with panoramic sunroof, opens up oodles of natural lighting. This Technology Package also features Hyundai’s fantastic 7” touch screen navigation system, those hipster LED taillights, and a premium audio system with subwoofer. Other standard equipment on the Limited is an available leather wrapped steering wheel  and shift knob – the steering wheel feels comfortable with manual tilt and telescoping abilities; the audio and cruise controls are laid out nicely that is easy to use and navigate. The sport design instrument cluster still maintains a fashion statement, but clashes with the dated looking dials. And when it does come to the navigation system, well, Hyundai has one of the best in the business. This 7” touch screen display not only features a fantastic back-up camera, but has a completely user friendly software system – our only compliant to this system is the voice activation software… it’s super annoying and frustrating with the systems lag time between commands and the woman on the other end gets upset if a command is spoken to soon.

Over the course, the Tucson has aged quite well. It maintains to be a good-looking crossover with a comfortable good-looking interior. It is starting to show some of its age compared to the newer redesigned competition; however, we find the Tucson is still holding strong. To us, the Tucson is still a middle of the pack crossover with tons of equipment to offer its driver and with these new tweaks, it should be enough to keep the consumers interested… at least till 2016.

2014 Hyundai Tucson FWD: $26,200
Destination: $875
Notable Standard Features:
18″ Alloy Wheels
Leather Interior w/ power adjustable Driver Seat
Dual Zone Climate Control
Rear View Camera
Carpeted Floor Mats: $110
Technology Package: $2,650
Grand Total: $29,835


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