The Hyundai Tucson gets a suite of mid-cycle enhancements for the 2014 model year, and they're due to bring some meaningful improvement to this compact crossover's performance--and that'll hold true whether you most value acceleration, handling, or even fuel efficiency.
The Tucson remains about the size of a smaller (albeit quite heavy) compact car, if you go by parking footprint. That said, it does just fine with either its four-cylinder engines--although the turbocharged four that highlights the Kia Sportage SX in this class is still missing from the Tucson.
And for 2014, the engines are new. Both the 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engines get direct injection--which in both cases raises available torque and gives fuel economy a slight boost. The base 2.0-liter engine now makes 164 horsepower (down one from before actually) and 151 pound-feet of torque (up 5); step up to the models with the 2.4-liter, and they now make 182 hp (up 6) and 177 lb-ft (up 9).
There's no manual gearbox in the 2014 Tucson; all models come with a six-speed automatic transmission that includes Shiftronic manual controls. And you have a choice between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive throughout the lineup; that's new for 2014 with the addition of a 2.0-liter GLS AWD.
Handling and ride should be quite a bit different in the new 2014 model, which we haven't yet driven at the time of posting. In previous model years, the Tucson rode quite harshly, although it handled reasonably well. This year, the Tucson is getting new standard Sachs amplitude selective dampers that improve ride quality without dulling handling response.We've found the engine-speed-sensitive electric power steering to be a weak spot in some otherwise very pleasant driving dynamics; but with a revamped suspension, we're going to have to get back to you on that--in revised driving impressions to come.