Hyundai recognized early on how important the compact crossover class would be to its success here in North America: while this nameplate was introduced in the mid-aughts, this third generation model has already reached the midpoint of its design cycle.
For 2018, this attractive little utility is carried over. The base engine is a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder that develops 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. It comes paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic, and can be had with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
If you want more power, upgrade to a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission, a feature unique in the compact crossover class.
The Tucson's Euro-inspired styling is no accident: this car was designed to be sold both here and on the continent. You also have that to thank for a nicely sorted chassis that delivers competent -- if not exactly sporty -- handling.
Inside, mid-level and premium models feature a large 8.0-inch touchscreen display, proximity key with push-button start, USB ports, Bluetooth, and a reverse camera. Most also receive a power driver's seat with lumbar support and a heated steering wheel. Heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and a hands-free tailgate helps this little Hyundai crossover run toe-to-toe content-wise with rival crossovers wearing fancier badges.
But the Tucson is small inside compared to competitors like the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Chevrolet Equinox. Interior space splits the difference between those models and the smaller HR-V, Qashqai and Trax models that are popular in the subcompact utility class. As we write this, Hyundai is readying its own subcompact Kona, which signals to us that the next-gen Tucson will be a bit bigger to better compete with its roomier contemporaries.
Standard safety equipment on the Tuscon includes a reverse camera, with the next-step-up Premium receiving blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert. Emergency autonomous braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, and HID headlamps are also available, but only on the top-of-the-line Ultimate trim level.
Fuel consumption estimates for 2.0L models are 10.1/7.8 L/100 km (city/highway) with FWD and 11.0/9.1 with AWD. The 1.6L turbo/all-wheel drivetrain is rated at 9.9/8.5.
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