As you know, we've had a 2010 Hyundai Tucson in our long term fleet for almost a year now, so its time for us to render our verdict on this Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V challenger.
Over the last year we've really enjoyed the all new Tucson for a number of reasons beginning with it's looks.
Our tester was finished in the most popular color combo (Cotton White/Black/Saddle interior) and we can't say enough about how gorgeous the exterior of this crossover presents itself.
Full 2010 Hyundai Tucson Photo Gallery
Hundreds of times cruising through SoCal we've been stopped at signals or where we've parked and been not only complimented by people about how much they love it but also commenting that they couldn't believe it was a Hyundai until they saw the badge.
And it's not surprising to us because the previous generation Hyundai's were doughty looking at best.
Vehicles that screamed bargain basement.
And it would be an understatement by us to say that we've never seen any auto company make such massive design improvements across product lines in as much as Hyundai has done in the last two years.
Kudos to to them and it's nothing shorter than amazing.
Hyundai, PLEASE keep the hits like these coming.
And if you see the new Tucson in person we urge you to take a long walk-around because it really pops in person.
From ALL angles, whether you're at Lake Tahoe or cruising Hollywood..
Just look at the images below and how it doesn't look AT ALL out of place strolling Hollywood next to some of the best vehicles on the planet.
And it doesn't disappoint on the inside.
The sexy two-tone Black/Saddle interior gives the vehicle the appearance of a much more expensive vehicle than it is.
We especially liked the addition of the panoramic glass roof and the roomy feel of the cabin.
It always felt premium inside and like we were driving a much higher priced vehicle compared to the others.
If someone told the average Joe it was a Lexus, I would bet they would believe them.
It looks THAT good.
Especially against the homely, 'play it safe' Toyota and Honda designs.
WINNER here: HYUNDAI
But 001, HOW does it drive?
If I could put my finger on the most impressive thing Hyundai is done, it would be that not only have they made some really good looking vehicles but compared to their competition they are the 'drivers' of the bunch.
Or should I say the 'BMW's' of the group?
Just like in the Sonata and Equus vs. their competitors, the Tucson just feels more agile, in control and more connected than the soft and sloppy Rav's and CR-V's.
The Tucson is just a real joy to drive around town and its size and proportions make it the perfect grocery getter, weekender or daily driver.
Power is reasonable although it won't drop you back into the seat when you hit it, but that's not the object of this go-to crossover.
It's strengths are good looks, feeling of luxury, ease of driving/parking, practicality and being just the right size for most people.
It has great storage and space as well.
Very flexible to most peoples needs.
We had the AWD Limited version and in our year of use (7000 miles) we NEVER had to go in for service outside of oil changes.
No rattles, no niggling aggravation, NOTHING.
Not even a SIGN of trouble or an inkling.
It was also great to have Bluetooth, XM and MP3 connectivity all integrated nicely.
And that all comes included for a significant savings over RAV4 and CR-V.
The Hyundai pricing of the Tucson like all their other products is unbelievably aggressive.
Even though we had a loaded Limited AWD that just crossed the 30k MSRP barrier it's great to know you can lease a really well equipped GLS (including SAT radio, MP3 and Bluetooth) for LOW to mid 200's depending how good of a negotiator you are.
Hard to beat that deal on this beauty.
Plus, the warranty BLOWS theirs away.
And we LOVE that.
So 001, you've always told us that there is NO perfect vehicle and never has been, no matter how much you spend.
So let us know where the Tucson disappoints.
They only two flaws I could find (one minor, one not so minor) were:
1. Positioning of the Nav screen makes for lots of sunlight hitting it for most of the day. There needs to be a design change to embed it deeper or reposition it to correct that. Stuff is hard to see with sun hitting it.
2. Gas mileage. Although we've been blown away with how good mileage is on Sonata's and Elantra's, the Tucson should do MUCH better than it showed us. Our average in town mileage was a measly 17MPG and on highway runs the best we could do was 23 in conservative driving. Not that much worse than the RAV but way worse than the CR-V. The CR-V got 23/28 in our tests. It would be great if Hyundai can do some magic to better the Tucson mileage.
In closing, we get to test a lot of vehicles, mostly in the premium space.
But the Spies can honestly say we're going to miss this really enjoyable, fun to drive 2010 Hyundai.
It's just right and if you buy or lease one, you will LOVE it.
Toyota and Honda, you have your work cut out for you because the Tucson is the new champ in this space.
Full 2010 Hyundai Tucson Photo Gallery
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