Compact crossover design is still, to some degree, influenced by traditional SUV design; but overall the 2014 Hyundai Tucson manages to eschew that expectation to look rugged and outdoorsy.
We think that's a good thing, as it really sets the Tucson apart from other rivals. It's curved, crested, and looks quite upscale from nose to tail, almost like a miniature luxury crossover. It gets a little tall and thick toward the rear--some problems can't be resolved well with arcs of chrome trim, after all--but the angular taillamps drop some of the visual weight out of the rear end.
To put it simply, the Tucson is unabashedly curvaceous. There might be an inch of straight line in its silhouette, the rest given up to surfacing that swells at the fenders and crests at the front and rear.
Inside, the 2014 Tucson hits the same high note. The interior's just a shade less dramatic than the exterior, but it fits right in with the rest of the current Hyundai lineup. A big LCD screen sits atop the center stack, and vertical blades of metallic trim knifing into bands of tightly grained, low-gloss black plastic. You can do better in this class for fit and finish, but even after the introduction of the latest Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5, the design remains a standout.