Hyundai's smallest sport-ute has often been overshadowed in the marketplace, but its maker is continually improving the Tucson in hopes of turning it into a segment leader. Lots of subtle tweaks were made to the vehicle for 2012 to further improve real-world fuel mileage, although only the front-wheel-drive, 2.4-liter, automatic-transmission Tucson sees a change to its EPA fuel-mileage rating (up 1 mpg on the highway, to 32 mpg). Not so long ago -- 2010 -- the Tucson dropped its V-6 engine and was completely redesigned as a slightly larger but lighter vehicle. The 2.4-liter engine is powerful enough for most tasks, and the Tucson's impressive fuel-economy numbers are worth the extra beats it might take to reach highway speeds. The interior has lots of hard plastic, but it's nicely finished and the switchgear is well laid out. The base GL -- the only Tucson available with the relatively powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder or the five-speed manual transmission -- has cheap-feeling upholstery, but the GLS comes with a nice leatherette and cloth upgrade. The top-of-the-line Limited's standard leather is better than what's usually found at this price point, and that model also comes with heated front seats and automatic climate control and offers a sunroof and navigation. Hyundai has been on a quest to shed the soggy chassis tuning that has characterized Korean cars, and it has succeeded with the Tucson, which has merged into the small-crossover mainstream.
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