When you share a border with a saber-rattling big mouth who hates your guts, you tend to adopt a no-sudden-moves policy. So it is with hypercautious Hyundai. Into its showroom full of creditable but thoroughly unimaginative vehicles comes the new Tucson, the South Korean automaker's belated rival to the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V, and the Ford Escape. The Tucson breaks no new ground in terms of styling, engineering, or packaging but, like all Hyundais, finds favor with its generous warranty, high content, and decent quality.
Based on the compact Elantra, the Tucson is nonetheless only slightly smaller than Hyundai's Santa Fe, which was derived from the mid-size Sonata. The company tells us that the next Santa Fe, which is more than a year away, will be bigger and beefier, la the Kia Sorento.
The availability of a V-6 in the cute-ute segment sounds noteworthy, but, despite its 173 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, the Tucson's noisy 2.7-liter DOHC V-6 is anything but. The base engine is the Elantra's 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter DOHC four, matched to a five-speed manual or the unlovable four-speed autobox that's teamed with the V-6.... Read full article