Christopher Little

Outside the Box: 2016 Hyundai Tuscon

The new Hyundai Tuscon is bigger, stronger, and more efficient than before. Fully redesigned for 2016, the 3rd generation Tuscon brings much-needed enhancements to driving dynamics with an all-new drivetrain, fully revised suspension, and a stiffer body. There’s a lot riding on this new Tuscon. Not only is it launching in North America, but the new Tuscon is also going on sale in Europe. Will this new compact crossover have global appeal?

Hyundai Tuscon 2

The bones of the Tuscon have grown three inches longer and an inch wider that before. With more than 50% high strength steel and increased use of structural adhesives, its bones are stiffer than ever as well. Wrapped in a body styled by Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture 2.0 design language, the 2016 Tuscon is a damn good looking crossover. And to back up those new looks, the Tuscon has an appealing new driving personality.

Hyundai Tuscon 4

The more rigid platform allowed Hyundai engineers to fit a suspension setup that was 20% stiffer than the previous model. Front MacPherson struts and an independent, multi-link, rear suspension translate to better body control without making the Tuscon uncomfortable. But the Hyundai’s biggest improvement comes from its new drivetrain. The Eco, Sport, and Limited models get a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder paired with a segment-first seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The engine, also found in the Sonata Eco, makes 175hp and 195lb-ft torque. Hyundai brands their in-house gearbox the “EcoShift” transmission to dispel any hopes of a Nurburgring lap time run, but it’s a sharp-shifting unit that bests any CVT. A base SE model is available with Hyundai’s 2.0L four-cylinder and six-speed automatic transmission. All trims are offered as either FWD or AWD models.

Our FWD Tuscon Eco tester represents the lowest cost of entry for the 1.6L motor, and it’s well worth it. The low end torque and snappy transmission propel the Tuscon around town effortlessly. The revised suspension and new electric steering filter out the harshness of the roads while keeping up with the responsive drivetrain. Inside, there’s not much glam in this mid-tier model, but superb seats and great interior materials prevent this crossover from feeling like it came off the bargain rack. The simplicity of the interior feels rather genuine. Aside from a panel of black switches next to the driver and the tiny screen, the manual HVAC controls and buttons for the radio don’t disappoint.

Hyundai Tuscon 6

With an as-tested price of $25k and an EPA estimated 29 combined mpg, the 2016 Hyundai Tuscon is a superb value. Even without a long list of standard equipment, the Tuscon offered a better drive than the CX-5 we tested previously. Higher trim levels will bring more features, but the FWD Eco model we drove proved that the new Tuscon is an appealing global platform even without the bells and whistles.

-Christopher Little

2016 Hyundai Tuscon Eco
$24,150
Eco 1.6L 7-speed EcoShift DCT $0
Winter White $0
Destination Charges $895
As Tested MSRP $25,045

Related:
Progression: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

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