By Nitish Rele

Introduced in 2004, the compact Hyundai Tucson has undergone a makeover in the past. But the inside out redesign and power train change for the front-wheel or all-wheel-drive 2016 SUV appears to be major. And for the better, we must say.

Mated to a 6-speed auto transmission, the base SE trim comes with a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder engine putting out 164 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm and 151 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm. However, the Eco, Sport and Limited versions are equipped with a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine cranking out 175 hp @ 5,500 rpm and 195 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 4,500 rpm while coupled with a 7-speed auto gearbox. Hyundai claims EPA estimates are up by 5 mpg in the Eco. The front MacPherson strut and multilink rear suspension have been re-engineered while body rigidity, sound damping and safety have improved with the use of 50 percent advanced high-strength steel. The SUV is now 3 inches longer, 1.2 inch more in wheelbase and 1.1 inch in width. This contributes to more passenger/cargo room and utility space.

Designed at the carmaker’s Frankfurt Design Studio, the sharp-looking Tucson retains an even prominent hexagonal grille and sculptured hood, aggressively raked wheel arches, upright windshield, LED daytime running lights and tail lamps, sporty bumper and chrome dual tips.

The cabin in the 2.0 base model continues to offer an array of standard conveniences such as a/c, drive mode select (eco, normal, sport), 3.5-inch multi-information display, tilt/telescopic steering column, 5-inch touchscreen display with rearview camera, 6-way height adjustable driver’s seat, center console, 60/40 second-row seat with recline/center armrest, power door locks and windows. Cargo space is 31 cubic feet, that’s up by 5.3. And the dual-level cargo floor can be lowered 2 inches for flexible storage needs. A first for Tucson is the hands-free lift gate and lane departure warning system.

Starting at $22,700 for the SE, the Tucson is a heck of a deal. Both power trains result in a responsive ride, sharp handling and decent overall cornering balance.

And Hyundai’s five-year, 60,000-mile basic, and 10-year, 100,000-mile power train warranties should convince you to sign on the dotted line.

Test-drive the Hyundai Tucson at Brandon Hyundai, located at 9915 Adamo Dr. in Tampa. Call 628-5555 or visit

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