2016 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T: Third Time’s a Charm [Review]

The number three shows up often in idiomatic expressions. “Three’s company” describes a situation in which one person needs to take a hike, “three sheets to the wind” comes from nautical lingo to describe one who has had too many drinks, and “third time’s a charm” is reserved for cases in which the first two attempts were less than stellar and the third is a success. Fortunately for Hyundai, the third generation of the Tucson is indeed a charm. Our tester arrived wearing a “Mojave Sand” paint job and a beige interior. Perhaps not the most attractive combination but given the desert-themed name, we can see what Hyundai was going for. Multiple shades of brown aside, the redesigned Tucson is orders of magnitude better looking than its predecessor. Dare we say downright handsome?

2016 Hyundai Tuscon

Powered by a 1.6-liter turbo making 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque mated to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic, the Tucson was lively once it decided it was ready to move. Unfortunately, stepping firmly on the accelerator from a stop produced noticeable hesitation during which the car seemed to be asking the driver, “you sure you wanna do this?” On the plus side, the engine was quite efficient for a vehicle with such proportions and decent ground clearance. A day trip up into the Rocky Mountains west of Denver yielded an overall mpg of just over 32, or so the vehicle’s computer told us.

The Tucson’s interior was draped in beige and well laid out with plenty of interior passenger space. A good number of TFL staffers are in the 6-foot-plus club and three of us took it to lunch comfortably without anyone calling “shotgun!” on the trip back to the office. Cargo volume behind the rear seats was also impressive, coming in at 31.0 cubic feet (61.9 with the seats folded down). There was a surprising amount of hard plastics inside a vehicle with an as-tested price of $28,570, but the AWD Hyundai hit the mark in so many other ways that we could get past that. Indeed, this third-generation Tucson is a charmer, but check out the other available exterior colors (such as the blue one in the video below) before ordering yours in Mojave Sand.

buy itOn the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

Hyundai’s handsome crossover earns a “Buy It!” rating. The Tucson’s strong fuel economy numbers, roomy cabin, and nice ride are its winning attributes. Points were taken away for the hard plastic interior pieces and engine lag when trying to launch from a dead stop.

2016 Hyundai Tucson Sport AWD

  • As-tested Price: $28,570
  • Engine: 1.6L turbocharged I4
  • Power / Torque: 175 hp @ 5500 rpm / 195 lb-ft @ 1500-4500 rpm
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch auto
  • EPA-estimated Fuel Economy: 24 mpg city / 28 mpg hwy
  • Curb Weight: 3,499 lbs
  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Passenger Volume: 102.2 cu-ft
  • Cargo Volume: 31.0 cu-ft

Watch below and see why the 2016 Hyundai Tucson earned the title of “most improved crossover of the year.”