2007 Hyundai Tucson Reviews and Ratings

Utility 4D SE 4WD

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2007 Hyundai Tucson
John Rettie

Introduction
The Hyundai Tucson is a compact SUV designed to compete with the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V and for the most part it succeeds. The Tucson comes standard with a comprehensive list of active and passive safety features, including six airbags and electronic stability control. It's aggressively priced and it comes with Hyundai's five-year/60,000-mile warranty.

We found the Tucson to be comfortable around town and on the highway, with light steering, adequate power from the available V6 engine, and a smooth four-speed automatic. The interior is nice, it doesn't look cheap, and the controls are easy to operate with big knobs. It's easy to get in and out of the front and back seats, the rear seatbacks flip down easily, and there's a decent amount of cargo space available.

We actually preferred the ride and handling of the four-wheel-drive models, even on dry pavement. On wet pavement, the 4WD models don't spin their front tires the way the front-drive models do when accelerating from a stop. In the snow, they benefit from an all-wheel drive system that directs power to the rear wheels as road conditions change. A switch allows the drive r to lock in a 50/50 torque split when creeping through drifting snow. Though not intended to be a highly capable off-road vehicle, the Tucson can certainly manage rocky, dirt two-tracks and other light off-highway duties.

The Tucson looks good, too. It's nicely proportioned with clean lines and short overhangs front and rear.

For 2007, the Tucson features some new interior convenience features, a revised model range, and an enhanced audio system. Model Lineup
The 2007 Hyundai Tucson is offered in three trim levels. The entry GLS models are powered by a 140-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The mid-range SE and top-of-the-line Limited models are powered by a 173-horsepower 2.7-liter V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.

The GLS ($16,895) comes with power windows, door locks, heated power mirrors, an 80-watt AM/FM/CD audio system, remove keyless entry, roof-rack side rails, and 16-inch alloy wheels. However, air conditioning is optional ($900). It comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, but is also available with a four-speed automatic ($18,895), which includes the air conditioning. The CD/MP3/cassette audio system is an option packaged with cruise control ($450). The four-wheel-drive GLS ($18,395) comes with the five-speed manual transmission only.

The SE comes with the V6 and front-wheel drive ($20,895) or four-wheel drive ($22,395). The SE also features upgraded cloth trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a more powerful audio system with cassette and MP3, a trip computer with two modes, air conditioning, front wiper de-icer, illuminated vanity mirrors, gray lower body cladding, a tire pressure monitor, cruise control, fog lights, and wider tires. Mirrors and door handles are body color instead of black. Options include a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, heated front seats, upgraded 200-watt audio system ($1,650).

The Limited comes with front-wheel drive ($22,245) or four-wheel drive ($23,745) and features leather seats and door trim, heated front seats, automatic climate control with outside temperature display, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, windshield wiper de-icer, and a 200-watt sound system with a six-CD changer. Lower bodyside cladding is body-color rather than gray. A power tilt-and-slide sunroof and a 200-watt CD changer package ($1,300) is optional.

Safety features on the Tucson include electronic stability control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and traction control. It comes with side-impact airbags for torso protection and side curtain airbags designed to provide head protection for passengers in both rows. Tucson has earned a five-star safety rating from the U.S. government (NHTSA) in front and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which conducts crash tests differently than the government, has rated the Tucson "acceptable" in its frontal offset and side-impact crash tests. The system rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor. Walkaround
Hyundai's larger SUV, the Santa Fe, has always drawn mixed reviews for its styling; some like its unusual curvy lines while others think it's goofy-looking. Although the Hyundai Tucson is built on the same platform as Santa Fe, it is a fraction of an inch longer in wheelbase and seven inches shorter overall, creating very different proportions and a totally different look. Where Santa Fe is elongated, Tucson is stubby and cute, not dissimilar from the Honda CR-V.

The Tucson has clean lines with a relatively big grille up front and headlamps that blend in well with the hood line and edges of the fenders. The front bumper is a large one-piece molding that begins just below the grille, houses three large air openings and two fog lights (on models that have them) and then forms a spoiler at the bottom. Yet in profile this impressive piece of plastic barely protrudes in front of the grille opening. At the back, the outer edges of the rear bumper reaches up to the tail lights; this bumper sticks out a few inches, adding protection.

Tucson's rear tailgate slopes forward, avoiding the van-like vertical look of many other small SUVs. The rear window can be opened separately from the main tailgate although it is not very big, making it ineffective for loading much more than small light stuff.

The SE comes with lower body cladding that runs from the front bumper, around the fenders and along the lower edges of the doors, to the rear bumper. Finished in matte black, the cladding is not too obtrusive. Limited features a monochromatic look, with body-color cladding as well as the same body-color mirrors and door handles as the SE.

All models come with 16-inch alloy wheels; although the wheels on SE and Limited are more intricately styled. A roof rack and tinted windows are also standard on all models.

Even though Tucson is not intended for serious off-road driving, it does have relatively short front and rear overhangs for improved clearance. This is largely thanks to the Tucson's long wheelbase, fractionally longer than that of the Honda CR-V or Ford Escape, even though both of those vehicles are several inches longer overall. Tucson's longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs is a sign of superior design. The Tucson also has a relatively wide track, which helps improve its stability. Interior
There's nothing cheap or spartan about the interior of the Hyundai Tucson, although it won't be mistaken for a luxury vehicle. Trim accents are matte black in the GLS and metalgrain in SE and Limited. The SE comes with brightly colored cloth seats that some people find too gaudy, while others like the pattern as it brightens up the interior.

Big radio and climate controls are mounted reasonably high for easy reach, as is the shift lever. The instrument pod contains three gauges with a decent-sized speedometer in the center and a smaller tachometer and fuel gauge off to the sides.

Big storage pockets in each of the four doors contain an indent for a large cup, plus room for several maps or whatever. In addition there are a couple of cupholders in the center console. It's also nice to see a proper parking brake lever in the center instead of a pedal-operated parking brake. There are no fewer than three 12-volt power outlets; apart from the usual one at the front there is one in the rear cargo area and one at the back of the center console for use by the rear seat passengers. The rear armrest also includes a cupholder that can accommodate a juice box.

Thanks again to Tucson's long wheelbase, ingress to and egress from the rear seats is good. Once inside, rear-seat passengers will find adequate head and leg room for all but the tallest people. The rear seatback splits 60/40 to fold down with the push of single lever for more cargo space; you don't have to remove the headrests. The front passenger seat folds flat also, providing room for long objects or a convenient desk for a lone driver.

A reasonable amount of rear luggage space can be hidden by a solid rear cargo cover/parcel shelf. A large washable rubber mat covers a hidden under-floor storage area. The mat also helps protect the flooring, as well as providing a non-slip surface. There are six tie-downs at the side for securing cargo in addition to three grocery bag hooks. Driving Impressions
The Hyundai Tucson performs its duties in a perfectly adequate manner. Around town and out on open highways the 173-horsepower V6 delivers adequate power for what is a relatively heavy vehicle for its size. This engine features variable-length intake runners for good power and torque across the rpm band.

The four-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. Those who want to be more in command can push the shift lever over to the Shiftronic semi-manual mode. Just a few years ago such an option was only offered on high-end sports cars.

The steering felt connected, although a tad light in feel.

The brakes were smooth and stopped the vehicle efficiently. ABS keeps the wheels from locking up and sliding on slippery or uneven surfaces, so the driver can maintain steering control even in a panic stop. Electronic brake-force distribution adjusts the front-to-rear proportioning of braking force according to the load on the wheels and continuously adjusts as the weight shifts forward during a stop. This helps improve stability under braking.

A brief drive along a rocky dirt track showed that the Tucson can manage some light off-highway duty.

We drove both four-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive models on pavement, and somewhat to our surprise found that we liked the ride and handling of the 4WD versions slightly better. This might seem counterintuitive, but it was probably because the 4WD models pack a little more weight over their rear wheels, making them better balanced overall, even though they are slightly heavier. What's more, the 4WD models didn't spin their front wheels on wet and slippery roads, as the FWD models tended to do. All told, the 4WD option is worthwhile and we recommend getting it.

The four-wheel-drive system is a part-time setup, but once engaged it operates more like full-time all-wheel-drive, automatically routing power to the end of the vehicle that can use it best. (Unlike all-wheel drive, traditional part-time 4WD, the kind associated with older pickup trucks, does not alter the torque split according to conditions.) Most of the time the electronic brain sends most of the power (up to 99 percent) to the front wheels. Then as road conditions change the system diverts up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels. Called Electronic InterActive Torque Management, Tucson's Borg Warner system is essentially the same system Hyundai installs in the AWD Santa Fe, except that Tucson provides an additional mode that allows the driver to lock in a 50/50 torque split for really slippery conditions. The lock automatically disengages above 20-25 mph, or when the ABS is activated.

We did not have the opportunity to drive the base model with a four-cylinder engine. This is a relatively sophisticated power plant, with four valves per cylinder and Hyundai's continuously variable valve timing. Still, it produces only 140 horsepower at 6000 rpm, and 136 pound-feet of torque at 4500. Judging from the modest performance of the V6-powered Tucson, we expect anemic acceleration from the four-cylinder. Summary
The Hyundai Tucson is fully competitive with the established players in this segment and we've found the quality to be good. Tucson is no barnstormer as far as performance goes, but the V6 engine provides enough power to satisfy most people. Tucson costs hundreds of dollars less than its rivals yet it comes loaded with comfort and convenience features as well as a full complement of safety features.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent John Rettie is based in Santa Barbara.

Model as tested
Hyundai Tucson SE 4WD ($22,395)
Basic Warranty
5 years/60,000 miles
Assembled in
Ulsan, South Korea
Destination charge
600
Gas guzzler tax
N/A
Base Price
16895
Price as tested
22995
Options as tested

Model Line Overview
Model lineup
Hyundai Tucson GLS FWD 5M ($16,895), GLS FWD 4A ($18,895), GLS 4WD 5M ($18,395); SE FWD 4A ($20,895), SE 4WD 4A ($22,395; Limited FWD 4A ($22,245), 4WD 4A ($23,745)
Safety equipment (standard)
dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags; front and rear side curtain airbags, front seat belt pretensioners, anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic stability control, traction control
Safety equipment (optional)
N/A
Engines
2.7-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Transmissions
four-speed automatic

Specifications as Tested
upgraded cloth upholstery; air conditioning; cruise control; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter; AM/FM/CD/cassette/MP3 audio; trip computer; power door locks; power heated mirrors; power windows; intermittent wipers with de-icer; remote keyless entry; illuminated vanity mirrors; tire-pressure monitor; fog lights

Engine & Transmission
Engine
2.7-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Drivetrain type
four-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
173 @ 6000
Transmission
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
20/26
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)
N/A

Suspension
Brakes, front/rear
disc/disc with ABS, EBD
Suspension, front
independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Tires
235/60R16
Suspension, rear
independent, multi-link with struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar

Accomodations
Seating capacity
5
Head/hip/leg room, middle
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, front
38.5/52.4/42.1
Head/hip/leg room, rear
38.8/51.2/37.2

Measurements
Fuel capacity
N/A
Trunk volume
65.5
Wheelbase
103.5
Length/width/height
170.3/72.1/68.1
Turning circle
35.4
Payload
N/A
Towing capacity
2000
Track, front/rear
61.0/61.0
Ground clearance
7.7
Curb weight
3548

2007 Hyundai Tucson
Sam Moses

Introduction
The Hyundai Tiburon has been freshened up for 2007, and the SE, our test model, has gotten a suspension that's meant to carry it with the big boys, the European sports cars. The entry-level Tiburon GS, the one that goes for less than $17,000, uses a four-cylinder engine with a five-speed gearbox, but the SE moves up to a 2.7-liter V6 with a six-speed manual.

All Tiburons are equipped with anti-lock brakes, a tire pressure monitor, side airbags, and a 220-watt Kenwood MP3 sound system; other models or options include a four-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual control, electronic stability control, and a 440-watt Infinity sound system.

The lines from the side are rakish, and the 12-spoke SE wheels look great. The seats are comfortable and well bolstered, and the instruments are back-lit in a cool blue, with sharp gunmetal accents on the instrument panel.

Hyundai compares the Tiburon to the Honda Civic Si and Scion tC, but we don't see much similarity to those coupes. It seems like the Tiburon is more like the Mitsubishi Eclipse or maybe even the Mazda RX-8, both of which cost thousands more, but also make much more horsepower.

Hyundai is fairly new at the sports car game, but they've done good job, especially considering the price. The V6 engine makes a modest 172 horsepower, but it also makes a nice throaty sound when you rev it to redline, 6500 rpm. When you look into the rearview mirror, the high spoiler reminds you that you're in a sports car.

The engine's torque comes on low, so it's easy to drive. The SE's six-speed gearbox is good, and the clutch is smooth, but the shift lever has too long of a throw to feel tight. Heel-and-toe downshifts are almost possible because of the pedal locations.

The SE suspension is firm, but not uncomfortable. The payoff comes in the corners, as the front-wheel-drive SE grips the road better than the Mitsubishi Eclipse, although not as well as the rear-wheel-drive RX-8. The Tiburon SE also stops well, having 12-inch cross-drilled front rotors.

Hyundai claims its warranty is America's best, with five-year/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000 miles limited powertrain. Tiburon buyers also get 24-hour roadside assistance at no charge for five years. Model Lineup
Hyundai Tiburon comes as four models, beginning with the inexpensive GS ($16,595) which uses a DOHC 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission or optional ($1100) four-speed automatic with Shiftronic manual control. Standard equipment includes power windows, doors and heated mirrors, air conditioning, keyless entry, a 220-watt Kenwood MP3 sound system, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Cruise control isn't standard; it comes in a package with the sunroof.

The Tiburon GT ($19,295) uses a DOHC 2.7-liter V6 with the same transmission options as the GS, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, there are black leather seat bolsters with cloth inserts, an automatic climate control system, and cruise control. The optional sound system, with the sunroof in the Sun and Sound package, is a 440-watt Infinity system with six CD player, MP3 capability, and subwoofer.

The GT Limited ($21,595) brings in the luxury, with that Infinity sound system and a red leather interior.

The SE ($21,995) is the "track-tuned" model. It uses the 2.7-liter V6 with a six-speed gearbox, multi-gauge cluster, high rear spoiler, red front calipers on big vented rotors, aluminum pedals, and the red leather seats with black cloth inserts. The suspension is tuned for hard cornering, and there's electronic stability control with Brake Assist and Traction Control. The standard sound system is the 220-watt Kenwood that's in the GS, and the sunroof is optional.

Safety equipment that comes standard includes anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitor, and side airbags. Walkaround
The Hyundai Tiburon has nice, rakish lines. From the side or three-quarters rear profile, it looks like it should start rolling off downhill. A crease on each side extends precipitously, from above the rear tire and slightly higher than the door handle, to a point on the front fascia below the headlamp. A crevice down by the rocker panel accentuates the slope of the crease. It's a lot of styling work to make the car look forward-leaning, but in the end it works.

The 17-inch alloy wheels on the SE are handsome, a sort of starburst 12-spoke pattern; imagine six headless and armless gingerbread men, joined in a circle at the neck.

The body has undergone a makeover: front and rear fascia, headlights, taillights, hood, front fenders and twin exhaust tips are all new. The redesigned nose and the tail don't seem so sleek, however; they're rounded and nubile. The Tiburon's butt isn't as big as that of the Mitsubishi Eclipse, and the rounded trapezoidal tail lamps are graceful; the spoiler on the SE is a nice touch, high but not too high. But take away the spoiler on the other three models, and there isn't much left to draw the eyes.

From head-on, the Tiburon misses the opportunity for something dramatic. Above the bumper there's one thin slit that might add mystery but doesn't demand a second glance. The horizontal slats in the wide air intake under the front bumper are reminiscent of a 2001 Chrysler Concorde, which itself copies the look of some Ferrari grilles. A lot has been lost in the double translation to the Tiburon. Interior
The seats are comfortable and well bolstered, with lumbar and butt support, leather with nice cloth inserts. The three spokes of the leather-wrapped steering wheel are fairly fat, but the leather feels nice in your hands. The instruments are backlit in cool blue. The speedometer is on the left and tach on the right, with temperature and fuel between them, plus a digital display for the odometer and average speed. The gunmetal accents on the panel look nice.

The center stack is squarish, with two big round climate vents over smaller ones on top of the dash; they handle the strong air conditioning. The usual instruments run down the center, with reasonable controls without bran-teasing challenges to figure out. There are two cupholders, a small glovebox, door pockets and a small single-chamber console between the seats. Our SE had the sunroof and we opened it to the Pacific sky, which came through with a loud whoosh. There's an optional wind deflector for the sunroof, but our test model didn't have it.

The rear seats offer 29.9 inches of legroom, which isn't much but isn't bad for a two-plus-two coupe. The Eclipse has 29.2 inches and the RX-8 only 23 inches, although the RX-8 does have those small rear doors that help rear passengers enter and exit. But the RX-8 only has 7.6 cubic feet of trunk space, about half as much as the Tiburon and Eclipse.

We had a couple of problems, namely our right toe making contact with some low-hanging thing under the dash, every time we moved our right foot from the brake to the throttle. And there's a horrendous blind spot behind the right C-pillar, when you look over your shoulder in that direction. Driving Impressions
Hyundai's boast that the Tiburon SE can hold the road as well as European sports cars might be going a bit far, but the road-holding is quite good for the price.

The nicest thing about the Tiburon might be its throaty, hollow exhaust note. It's really fun to run up through the six-speed gearbox and enjoy the sounds. A lot of hot sports cars don't sound so hot, but the SE does a great job of delivering that sensual enjoyment, so good you forget there's just 172 horsepower. The redline on the tach is 6500, but the V6 will rev to 7000 before the rev limiter cuts the engine, and it sounds so good you often want to take it that far.

And when you look into the rearview mirror, you see the high spoiler to remind you that the Tiburon is at least trying to be cool. It does block visibility out the rear, which might be inconvenient because if you're always revving the engine to redline, you might want to keep an eye out for the cops.

The aluminum double-overhead-cam V6 is mounted transversely. It makes 181 pound-feet of torque, which isn't a ton, but it's all there at a low 3800 rpm, and that means a lot. Cruising along at 75 mph in sixth gear, 3500 rpm, you can mash the throttle without downshifting, and the SE accelerates well; of course, it'll squirt away better if you downshift to fifth. Just don't expect neck-snapping acceleration from the 172 horsepower, which has to pull the Tiburon's 2986 pounds.

Even with only 181 pound-feet of torque, the torque steer from the front-wheel drive is noticeable.

The gearbox, called the ZF, is good, but the shifts aren't so sharp because the lever has a long throw and the linkage isn't as tight as it might be. However the clutch action is smooth, especially on the upshifts, and that compensates a bit for the long throw; so overall, the upshifts work.

We can't say the same for the downshifts, at least not with heel-and-toe downshifting, because the gas pedal is quite a bit lower than the brake pedal. So you can't fit the toe of your foot on the brake pedal and your heel on the gas. As serious as Hyundai was about the track-tuned suspension, it's surprising they missed something simple like the pedal position for sporty downshifting.

The ratios are fine; sixth gear is a tall overdrive designed to deliver better fuel mileage. It's basically an extra gear on top, because the ratio of fifth gear (0.86:1) is almost the same as the fifth gear (0.84:1) in the five-speed gearbox on the GS model. Still, the SE has the lowest fuel mileage (18 city, 26 highway) among the Tiburons.

We got a chance to test out the brakes, running the Tiburon SE hard on a downhill run to the Pacific Ocean through Malibu's canyons. The SE's larger rotors (12-inch diameter front, compared to 11-inch on the other Tiburons) are cross-drilled for cooling, the first time Hyundai has tried this technology that's not uncommon to high-performance cars. The SE won't stop like, say, the BMW Z4 M Coupe we recently tested; but the brakes are good and solid, and don't forget we're talking about a $22,000, four-seat sports car here.

The suspension is pretty firm on a choppy freeway, but not unbearably so, and it's reasonably comfortable over mere ripples. You might consider this firmness a reminder that it's ready for heavy duty in corners. The SE handles them just fine, although again, it's not in the same league as a car like the M Coupe, because it's not in the same price league. However, the structural rigidity of the Tiburon exceeds that of the BMW M3, according to Hyundai.

The Tiburon SE has its limits when driven aggressively through switchback curves, but handles the situation well. It does a better job than its main competitor, the Mitsubishi Eclipse, and isn't that far off from a Mazda RX-8, and both of those cars cost thousands more. Summary
The freshened 2007 Hyundai Tiburon is a stylish four-seat sports car that can be bought for $17,000 to $22,000. Its competition is the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Mazda RX-8, which cost about $4000 and $6000 more, respectively. The Tiburon comes with either a four-cylinder or V6 engine; even with the V6, the power is modest but the exhaust note sporty. The transmission, suspension, brakes and bucket seats are all good. If you want a new sports car but don't want to spend a lot, the Tiburon is worth considering.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Sam Moses filed this report from Santa Monica, California.

Model as tested
Hyundai Tiburon SE ($21,995)
Basic Warranty
5 years/60,000 miles
Assembled in
Ulsan, Korea
Destination charge
600
Gas guzzler tax
N/A
Base Price
16595
Price as tested
23495
Options as tested
power sunroof ($900)

Model Line Overview
Model lineup
Hyundai Tiburon GS ($16,595); GT ($19,295); GT Limited ($21,595); SE ($21,995)
Safety equipment (standard)
frontal airbags, side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes, tire-pressure monitor
Safety equipment (optional)
N/A
Engines
2.7-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Transmissions
6-speed manual

Specifications as Tested
leather seats with cloth inserts, automatic climate control system, power windows and door locks, heated mirrors, keyless entry, 220-watt MP3 audio system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, aluminum pedals, fog lights

Engine & Transmission
Engine
2.7-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Drivetrain type
front-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
172 @ 6000
Transmission
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
18/26
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)
N/A

Suspension
Brakes, front/rear
disc/disc with ABS, 12.0-inch drilled front, 10.2-inch solid rear
Suspension, front
independent, MacPherson struts, anti-roll bar
Tires
215/45R17
Suspension, rear
independent, multi-link, anti-roll bar

Accomodations
Seating capacity
4
Head/hip/leg room, middle
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, front
36.5/51.6/43.1
Head/hip/leg room, rear
34.1/44.7/ 29.9

Measurements
Fuel capacity
N/A
Trunk volume
14.8
Wheelbase
99.6
Length/width/height
173.0/69.3/52.4
Turning circle
35.8
Payload
N/A
Towing capacity
N/A
Track, front/rear
59.1/59.1
Ground clearance
N/A
Curb weight
2986


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