$15,857 - $21,814

2016 Hyundai Tucson Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Hyundai Tucson was new.


Performance: 8.0

Reviewers are pleased with the all-new 2016 Tucson's comfortable ride quality and say it rounds corners confidently, despite not being as sporty as some rivals. While most test drivers are pleased with the optional turbocharged engine's power delivery, some point out that it's not quite as potent as some rivals' engines. That engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission that critics say delivers effortless, timely shifts. Fuel economy is close to average for the class.

  • "In the greater context of its rivals, the Tucson's performance is decidedly mid-pack, but that's a misleading statement. In the murky world of small CUVs, it's hard to pin down how they should or shouldn't perform. Just take a quick glance at the competitive powertrain offerings if you don't believe us." -- Left Lane News
  • "I drove the Tucson in midlevel Sport and top Limited trims through the narrow, crowded streets of downtown Minneapolis and the sweeping, pastoral hills of western Wisconsin; it easily maneuvered through both." -- Cars.com
  • "Beyond its powertrain, the Tucson also offers an excellent ride, touting compliant suspension and composed body lean in turns. Although we'd like a little more time behind the wheel before we call this the smoothest small crossover on the market, it's certainly among the best. But make no mistake: The Tucson isn't the crossover you get if you want to have fun behind the wheel. With a maximum of just 175 hp, the Tucson often felt taxed under hard acceleration -- especially in high-end Limited guise with multiple passengers inside. Although most compact crossovers focus on comfort and value over performance and handling, the Tucson feels especially dull and dry, even by compact-crossover standards." -- AutoTrader

Acceleration and Power

The base 2016 Hyundai Tucson has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 164 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A 175-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available and comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. According to the EPA, the base model earns 23/31 mpg city/highway, which is on par with most rivals' estimates.

Most automotive journalists find the Hyundai Tucson's optional engine to have more than enough power. Still, a few critics wish acceleration were a bit stronger and noted that there can be some turbo lag. Test drivers agree that the seven-speed automatic transmission is quick and shifts seamlessly. 

  • "The 1.6-liter is also nice and refined, with a quiet idle, and even a relatively pleasing growl when you step on it. This is an important advantage in a segment where many entries lack sophistication. … The Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5's direct-injection four-cylinders come closer to the Tucson's refinement levels but can't match the Hyundai's turbo punch and midrange torque." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The turbocharged 1.6-liter engine coupled with the new seven-speed offers plenty of power almost from the start despite a hint of initial turbo lag; the turbo performs without drama and really without much noise at all under moderate acceleration. In contrast with a CVT, the choice of dual-clutch automatic pays off in the form of quiet operation and relatively agile response to deceleration, though downshifts could still be a bit quicker." -- AutoWeek
  • "In virtually all circumstances, we were impressed with the Tucson's turbocharged powertrain, which offered smooth acceleration and very hushed noise levels. But what impressed us most was the standard 7-speed dual-clutch automatic -- a transmission typically reserved for sports cars and performance vehicles. In the Tucson, it's all about gas mileage, as it helps to deliver up to 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. But it also touts incredibly smooth shifting at virtually all engine speeds -- so smooth, in fact, that we think this transmission might just be the way of the future for compact crossovers and mainstream cars alike." -- AutoTrader
  • "In terms of power, the new Tucson's optional engine is adequate and feels about average in this class. It just does more with less thanks to turbocharging." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that while the 2016 Hyundai Tucson’s handling isn't as nimble as that of rivals like the Mazda CX-5, it offers a composed ride. Test drivers point out that the outgoing Tucson model had a noisy and unrefined ride, which is no longer the case with the current model's suspension upgrades. They note that the ride is now quiet, comfortable and pleasant. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The new [Tucson] is much quieter and its more compliant ride and better bump absorption make it long-drive comfortable. The Limited model impressed with its smoothness, but the Sport model's sport-tuned suspension reminded me of the old Tucson: It rides too firmly, hopping over bumps for an uncomfortably brittle, jittery feel." -- Cars.com
  • "The Tucson's ride and handling are to be commended too. Hyundai gave us a route that took us over broken pavement, gravel roads and questionably maintained stretches of Minnesota country highways and byways. The Tucson never put a foot wrong. It lacks the CX-5's harder edge and may not be the equal of the RAV4 or CR-V in compliance, but not so much that you miss it. It's quiet and comfortable, but capable of hustling when called upon to do so." -- Left Lane News
  • "The handling profile isn't quite as shining, sitting somewhere between the segment-leading CX-5 and a mid-grade performer like the Honda CR-V or Ford Escape. Roll is progressive, and there is more dive under braking than we'd have liked, although the Tucson feels pinned down over crests and undulating roads. Feedback through the chassis is limited, but the only vehicle in this class that really excels in that regard is the CX-5, so its absence here isn't surprising." -- Autoblog
  • "Even with the big 19-inch wheels found on the Sport and Limited trims, the Tucson didn't seem to possess the sort of impact harshness the outgoing model had on rough pavement. There is a level of refinement present that wasn't there before, which further contributes to the new model being a more complete, competitive offering in the segment." -- Edmunds

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