2010 Hyundai Tucson Limited FWD

Wow, another great Hyundai interior! And another reminder of how Hyundai is breathing heavily down Toyota's neck. Why? I just drove a Toyota RAV4, and it was priced at $28,761, slightly more than this Tucson at $28,090. Both were front-wheel-drive four-cylinder models, but the Toyota is saddled with a four-speed automatic, whereas the Tucson has a much more modern six-speed automatic, which helps the Hyundai achieve 2 mpg better on the highway, according to the EPA. This from an engine that is nearly identical to the RAV4's in size and output. Interestingly, Hyundai has two different horsepower and torque ratings for its Theta II engine: the standard 176 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque, or 170 hp and 163 lb-ft in the so-called "green states"; with that state of tune, the Tucson qualifies as a PZEV, or Partial Zero Emission Vehicle.

Back to the Tucson's interior: it rivals the Chevy Equinox's as the best in this segment. Rich materials and excellent panel fits in this modern, fresh, well-designed, high-quality cabin with great ergonomics. The RAV4's interior, by comparison, is pretty ho-hum. Our test Tucson had a $2800 premium package that includes Hyundai's superb navigation-system interface, a sunroof, and a rearview camera, along with premium audio.

I also liked our tester's brown exterior paint, which Hyundai calls "chai bronze." And the two-tone leather is very upmarket, as well; our tester had baseball-mitt brown with black trim.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

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"...let's face it, "steering feel" probably occupies about the same spot on the compact crossover buyer's priority list as 'does it fly?'"The voice of reason.

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