SUV of the Year

Hyundai Tucson: 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

Ambitious CR-V Fighter Gets Sharper Styling, New Powertrain Option

Ambitious CR-V Fighter Gets Sharper Styling, New Powertrain Option

We Like: Its strong value, numerous features, attractive styling.

We Don’t Like: The numb steering, iffy transmissions, rental-grade base model.

The new Tucson is a pretty compelling package on paper. It packs more space, looks sharper, gets better fuel economy, and has a new turbocharged engine option, a fancy dual-clutch transmission, and all the features you could ask for.

Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other SUV of the Year contenders at the links below. Check out the SUV of the Year evaluation process HERE, and read about the evolution of our Of The Year awards HERE.

Judges appreciated its long list of available safety, comfort, and convenience features; the solid, confident handling; and the AWD model’s capability on our dirt track. “At first glance, $32K USD as-tested seems expensive, but you do get a lot for your money,” Christian Seabaugh said. “A fun turbo engine, a very good dual-clutch transmission, AWD, heated seats, and a good nav system.”

There were flaws, however. Multiple judges complained about the numb steering. Several also took issue with the inconsistent gloss and grain of interior materials from one panel to another. “The Tucson’s material quality and texture vary by location and where they matter most,” Chris Walton said, “where a person’s hands naturally fall.” Similarly, although we all agreed the seven-speed dual-clutch was better than the six-speed auto, Ron Kiino, Jason Cammisa, and I were let down by the slow, tedious engagement when starting from a stop.

The biggest mark against it was the rental-grade SE model (pictured above). Everyone agreed it was underpowered. “As nice as the loaded example is,” Seabaugh noted, “this one is bad.” It also struggled the most of any vehicle on our dirt course. Front-wheel drive and tires optimized for fuel economy colluded to make this the only vehicle that couldn’t consistently finish the hill climb, which doesn’t bode well for consumers in bad weather climates.

2016 Hyundai Tucson SE Limited AWD
Base Price $23,595 $32,195
Price As Tested $24,320 $32,320
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 2.0L/164-hp/151-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 1.6L/175-hp/195-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4
Transmission 6-speed auto 7-speed twin-clutch auto
Length x Width x Height 176.2 x 72.8 x 64.8 176.2 x 72.8 x 64.8
Wheelbase 105.1 in 105.1 in
Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 3,296 lb (59/41%) 3,606 lb (58/42%)
Acceleration, 0-60 mph 9.7 sec 8.3 sec
Quarter Mile 17.2 sec @ 81.1 mph 16.5 sec @ 84.5 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 123 ft 128 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.82 g (avg) 0.81 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.9 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) 27.6 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 23/31/26 mpg 24/28/26 mpg
Energy Consumption, City/Hwy 147/109 kW-hrs/100 miles 140/120 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 Emissions 0.75 lb/mile 0.76 lb/mile

2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contenders: