2014 Hyundai Tucson Review

Is Hyundai’s Cute Ute Right for You?

2014 Hyundai Tucson Review

Here’s the problem with most new compact crossovers: they’re too damn good. Subaru’s Forester will surprise you with its outstanding fuel economy, the Mazda CX-5 wins votes with its handling and the Jeep Cherokee’s looks are a real head-turner. OK that last one isn’t necessarily a compliment, but the point is that it’s hard to be a memorable quarterback when you’re sitting in a room filled with first stringers.

FAST FACTS

1. Pricing starts at $22,305 and climbs to $31,205 fully loaded.

2. Engines include a 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder.

3. Those engines make 164 and 182 hp respectively.

4. Official estimates suggest 20/25/22 mpg city/highway/average.

5. Five-speed manual disappears for 2014 model year

That’s a problem that Hyundai – like many others – is stuck dealing with.

In its first generation, the Tuscson had several aesthetic similarities to the Ford Escape. It was sort of boxy looking albeit with chunkier body pieces than small crossovers streaming from the Blue Oval brand’s factories in Ohio and Missouri. 

Starting with the 2010 model year, Hyundai abandoned the old Tucson in favor of a model carrying the kind of streamlined style seen across the current product line. Its sales more than doubled in the first year. Now, more than ever, people buying compact crossovers have their pick of an incredibly competitive product range.

Time to be Picky

Like a well-to-do real estate investor right after Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae imploded, the market is your oyster. With the power of choice in the palm of your hand – or computer screen as the case may be – it seems silly to settle for less. But listen, folks, I’m no well-heeled cheapskate searching for McMansions on the cheap. I’m more of the first home type, hoping to score something affordable that won’t embarrass me after a first date.

2014 Hyundai Tucson 04

So, take a moment to think of the Tucson as if it’s an entry-level condo instead of a crossover. It’s affordable, functional and stylish. It’s also impractical for a big family and unsuited for intimidating criminals. The last two are better left to something like a Chevrolet Suburban and Jack Bauer. 

The point is, car companies are a lot like people trying to sell homes in a down market. Little touches can make all the difference and Hyundai gave its Tucson a major spritz for 2014. New projector headlights with LED daytime running lights are like a bowl of mints in the foyer. Optional LED rear lamps make the caboose nicer to stare at and re-designed 17-inch wheels (18’s if you upgrade) help the car look fresh even though it’s been on the market for a few years.

“NU” Metal Makes Driving Nicer

2014 Hyundai Tucson 06

Any real estate agent worth their “commish” will tell you that new appliances are another big selling point and Hyundai has that covered here, too. This year, the company scrapped its outdated 2.0- and 2.4-liter four pots in favor of direct-injected mills with the same displacement. The 2.0-liter “Nu” engine is one pony weaker with 164 hp, but gains five lb-ft of torque. Its 2.4-liter “Theta II” cousin offers 182 (six more than the old 2.4) and nine lb-ft of twist for a total 177. More importantly, the engines offer broader powerbands, meaning their output is more accessible than before.

Both of those engines come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission in front- and all-wheel drive configurations. That’s right, Hyundai dropped the five-speed manual for this year.

Now, you might expect the new engines to offer improved fuel efficiency and in the base 2.0-liter model that assumption is correct. Official estimates call for a single MPG improvement in the city to 23 while highway and average fuel economy remain at 25 and 29 MPG respectively. That still trails others in the segment like the Forster’s 27 combined MPG. Mazda’s 2.0-liter CX-5 does even better with an average 28.

Hyundai provided a fully-loaded “limited” model as the test car, and it came with the 2.4-liter engine and all-wheel drive. In that configuration, the friendly feds suggest an average 22 MPG, which is actually a downgrade by one mile per gallon over last year. In the city, you’re supposed to see 20 MPG while the highway stickers at 25. The bulk of our week with the Tucson involved short trips in the city and the car reported a regrettable 15 mpg, although that should come with a disclaimer. It rode on winter tires in weather cold enough to make Rudolph’s red nose call in sick. Only a few individual trips lasted much longer than the car took to properly warm up, so you can probably expect to beat that abysmal figure by a wide margin.

Small Changes to Cabin Equipment

2014 Hyundai Tucson 02

The cabin also comes with new standard features like artificial leather trim on the door panels in all models, although Hyundai removed the leather-wrapped shift knob from the mid-grade Tucson, instead restricting it to the top “limited” trim.

Seat upholstery remains the same this year with cloth on the base car, a mixture of cloth and leatherette for mid-level models and leather for the highfalutin limited trim. That’s not all Hyundai keeps for its most expensive version, either. There’s also a technology package that costs $2,650 and adds the LED rear lamps mentioned earlier along with a panoramic sun roof, seven-inch touch-screen navigation system with traffic updates and a premium stereo.

The “infotainment” system is intuitive albeit weak at searching for destinations. Pre-programmed points of interest and intersections are one thing, but more obscure locations like a nightclub might be more challenging.

The panoramic sunroof is also disappointing. Half the fun of having a big-ass glass panel overhead is how much light it lets in, but the headliner cover is manually operated and split in two parts. You won’t be able to reach the back half while driving and to a certain extent that defeats the purpose. For the price, I’d steer clear of the tech package.

Cramped Cargo Area

2014 Hyundai Tucson 03

In all cases, the Tucson has an ergonomic, intuitive cabin complemented by comfortable seats. With all the seats raised, there are 25.7 cubic feet of carrying space, which is far cry from the Subaru Forester’s 34.4. It’ll get the job done, but don’t try loading any big boxes back there without lowering the rear seatbacks. With such a sloping rear end, the cargo hold proved to be just big enough to fit one very disgruntled golden retriever. On a side note, Resolve Dual Power carpet cleaner works wonders on dog vomit. Sorry, Hyundai…

It could have been the cramped critter cabin cargo area that prompted Buddy the dog to lose his lunch, but that’s not the only possible culprit.

The Tucson isn’t “sporty” by any means, but its small size and competent engine make it engaging enough. Feedback from the electrically boosted steering can feel artificial if you’re a professional child (read car reviewer), but it really isn’t anything to fuss over.

Rough Ride

2014 Hyundai Tucson 01

For 2014, Hyundai is offering premium Sachs dampers across all models rather than just the mid- and top-tier variants. Macpherson struts in the front and multi-link equipment in the rear are standard fare for vehicles like this and corners feel appropriately unremarkable.

If anything, the suspension is too stiff. With an egalitarian approach to transmitting bumps, all sorts of pavement imperfections are perceptible through the posterior, big or small (the bumps, not the bums). Maybe this is where some of the blame for Buddy’s barf belongs.

In typical Hyundai fashion, the Tuscon is priced to be cheaper than most of the vehicles it competes with. A base two-wheel drive GLS model starts at $22,305 including an $855 delivery fee. Our limited model with the optional technology package came to $31,205 including the same freight charge.

The Verdict

2014 Hyundai Tucson 07

Hyundai’s refreshed Tucson gets just enough to continue competing, but it’s a far cry from being a segment leader. Sub-par fuel economy and questionable cargo practicality in the name of style would be enough to drive us to another open house before signing on the dotted line.

  • Buddy

    I purchased the limited model last April, have 12000 on it now and am impressed with the car. The acceleration is surprising and driving is a pleasure. The mpg averages 28 with my driving. 30.5 on straight hwy driving. My wife and I both enjoy the vehicle.

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked