2010 Hyundai Tucson Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Redesigned compact crossover SUV
  • "Fluidic" design language featuring new hexagonal grille treatment to be rolled out to all Hyundai models
  • Bigger inside and out, with more head, leg, storage and cargo room
  • Available dual-zone climate control
  • Available dual-panel sunroof over both rows of seats
  • Available rearview camera system with Smart Park Assist
  • Available leather seating
  • Available Smart Key ignition and locking
  • Standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 6-speed manual transmission
  • Available 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • Available 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Production for North America begins in November of 2009 in Ulsan, South Korea

Introduction

2010 Hyundai TucsonHyundai is paying much more attention to design than it has in the past, and the all-new 2010 Tucson represents more evidence to that effect. Endowed with the company's emerging "fluidic" design language, Hyundai wants buyers of the new Tucson to choose its redesigned compact crossover SUV for emotional reasons as well as rational ones. As one of just two automakers to actually increase U.S. sales during the staggering recession of 2009, and with quality concerns a thing of the past (check out how well Hyundai products fare in J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction surveys), the Korean company can afford to spend more capital honing its designs. But the Tucson is more than just another pretty face; it's bigger inside and out than the previous model, and it's both more fuel efficient and faster to accelerate, according to the company.

We expect Hyundai to debut the North American version of the new Tucson at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December, in advance of the SUV's arrival at dealerships during the first quarter of 2010. The details shared here are based on information released during the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, where Hyundai divulged data about the ix35, which is the Tucson's name in global markets.

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Design

2010 Hyundai TucsonHyundai says that the new 2010 Tucson's sweeping, gently curved lines characterize the "Fluidic" design language the company is rolling out across all of its models and says the hexagonal grille, debuting on this model, is "a defining look that will serve to unify the family of future Hyundai products." With all these Buick-rific bulges and swells and indentations, it's almost certain that the Tucson's standard 16-inch wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires will look undersized. Good thing 18-inch wheels, seen here, will be available. And, thankfully, Hyundai has resisted the urge to slap fake fender vents on the new Tucson.

Inside, the new Tucson features more head and leg room than the old model. Hyundai has added front-seat travel to help make taller people more comfortable, and a manually adjustable tilt and telescopic steering wheel should help drivers of varying heights find a comfortable driving position. Storage and cargo space is improved, too, with a larger glovebox that can be cooled by the air conditioning system, a bigger cargo area, and more space to stash portable music players near the USB port and auxiliary audio input jack.

The 2010 Tucson features Supervision gauge cluster illumination in Hyundai's signature blue backlighting, and an indicator that the company calls an "ECO coach" illuminates to help the driver maximize fuel economy. Dual-zone climate control is available, as well as a dual-panel sunroof over both rows of cloth or leather seats. Hyundai says the Tucson's interior color choices will be Black monotone, Beige two-tone, or Black monotone with Brown leather seats.

Hardware

In North America, the new 2010 Hyundai Tucson will be offered with a standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine or an optional 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard with the smaller engine, with a 6-speed automatic optional. Buyers selecting the more powerful 2.4-liter engine will get the 6-speed automatic as standard equipment.

Hyundai claims that its new 6-speed automatic is smaller and lighter than any other one on the market. It includes lifetime transmission fluid, and improves acceleration while simultaneously increasing fuel economy, the automaker says. The new transmission will feature Hyundai's Shiftronic manual shifting feature for more aggressive driving, the company states.

As before, all-wheel drive will be available on the Tucson, which is suspended by MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link independent setup in back.

Safety

2010 Hyundai TucsonThe redesigned Hyundai Tucson is expected to arrive with the usual phalanx of air bags complemented by features like anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control. New features for the Tucson include a rearview camera that displays what's behind the Tucson in a small screen embedded in the rearview mirror, as well as integrated repeater signal lamps in the Tucson's folding mirror housings.

What's most interesting, however, is that in a panic braking situation, the Tucson's emergency flashers automatically illuminate to signal to following motorists that they'd better scrub significant amounts of speed, and do so quickly.

Technology

You'll notice in photographs that the new Tucson has a navigation system. In global markets, where the SUV will be known as the ix35, navigation is available. But in the U.S., it is not. Americans will, however, benefit from new Hillstart Assist Control, which holds the Tucson still on a hill while the driver switches from the brake pedal to the accelerator, and Downhill Brake Control, which limits speed on steep, downhill, off-road descents.

When equipped with the available reversing camera, the Tucson will also have Smart Park Assist to help guide the driver into a parking space. Up-level models are also expected to be equipped with smart key ignition and locking, with a push-button starter.