Driven: 2010 Hyundai Tucson Page 2

July 15, 2010
Ride quality in the Tucson is good, though we noticed a bit more choppiness than in the Equinox we drove the previous week. Impact harshness over bumps was a little harder than many would like—especially from the back seat—yet the Tucson has an underlying softness that allows it to bound over railroad tracks and larger heaves. That said, the interior is a very quiet place, soaking up most road and wind noise.

When we were asked to park in a field for an event, and the only space remaining was in a particularly loose, muddy portion, the Tucson’s all-wheel drive system moved smartly, letting the front wheels spin a bit before sending more power to the rears. Likewise, the system should prove useful for snow or sand.

With AWD, as we tested the Tucson, EPA ratings stand at 21 mpg city, 28 highway, and over a week of mostly around-town driving we averaged 23.

First-class for features, with a few niggles

You sit quite high up in the Tucson and have a great forward view of the road, with a driving position that’s a little more perched than in other crossovers, though just as in most vehicles of this type rearward vision isn’t the best. The back seats felt roomy enough for two lanky adults, yet the cushions remain a bit on the short side.

One other niggle in our test vehicle was with connectivity of the premium audio system, which comes with a panoramic sunroof, nav system, and rearview camera as part of the Premium Package. The system sounded great, but we tried to bring along some MP3 music stored on a USB stick and it would only stream ten-second bursts of music interspersed with five-second pauses—as if a streaming connection couldn’t keep up. We tried the same thing with two other USB sticks and had the same issue.

Our test vehicle, an all-wheel-drive Limited model, came priced just short of $30k with that package. Standard equipment on the Limited is very generous, with leather upholstery, heated front seats, Bluetooth, keyless entry, fog lamps, and steering-wheel audio controls all among the included features. Oddly, telescopic steering adjustment still doesn’t come in all Tucsons, but our test Limited (as well as GLS models with a $1,700 Popular Equipment Package).

Overall, the 2010 Hyundai Tucson might not provide a driving experience that’s anything special, but just sitting inside, it can feel like a more expensive vehicle. And first impressions count.

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