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2013 Hyundai Tucson Overview
Hyundai's Tucson continues to make inroads in the tall wagon segment with the 2013 model. Although due for a refresh (its last was in 2009), it looks like we will have to wait another year, as only minimal changes are expected. Based on the Elantra platform, this mini crossover is still a good value for the money.
Three trims are available, starting with the base GL, with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 165 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive and a 5-speed manual transmission come standard, with a 6-speed automatic available. Hyundai is known for its feature-rich trims, and this Tuscon is no exception: The GL comes with 17-inch steel wheels, keyless entry with alarm, a body-color rear spoiler, iPod input and power windows and doors.
The next two levels of trim, the GLS and the Limited, share the same 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 176 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. The GLS adds Bluetooth, cruise control, heated front seats and leatherette trim; the 6-speed automatic transmission can be mated to either front-wheel or all-wheel drive (AWD). The same goes for the Limited, which has all of the other trim’s features, plus new additions such as proximity key entry and push-button start.
The interior is clean and comfortable and surprisingly luxurious for the Tuscon's price point—you might almost think you are in a German car, rather than one from South Korea. It will seat 4 people comfortably; 5 is a little tight, but doable in a pinch.
Safety is always a consideration, especially in this segment, and the Tuscon is no slacker. Front and rear as well as dual front-side mounted airbags, antilock brakes and stability control help make the 2013 a Top Safety Pick, according to the IIHS.
Performance-wise, the Tuscon is praised for its handling and its electric steering assist, but not so much for its power. In spite of its posturing, it is still a 4-cylinder, and a full cabin and/or steep incline will remind you of that fact. But it makes up for it at the pump: The 2.4 gets an estimated 23 mpg city/31 hwy, 21/31 for the 2.0. This is in part thanks to the ECO system that works with engine and transmission to reduce fuel consumption.
Hyundai has been working hard these last years to improve brand perception, and it’s been paying off in both the quality of the company's cars and its bottom line, as Hyundai has gently nudged price points upward. The Tuscon is sure to strengthen its position.
by Stephen Moramarco
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