It's only been five years since the Hyundai Tucson first went on sale, but a lot has happened since then. The crossover segment has exploded, now with dozens of vehicles to choose from, while the traditional SUV segment is on the wane. The Tucson went on sale in the middle of this transition, as a crossover with boxy, traditional SUV-like styling. It remained basically unchanged as competitors underwent major redesigns, including the RAV4 (in 2006), CR-V (2007), Escape (2008), Forester (2009), and the new Rogue (2008). Now, the 2010 Hyundai Tucson has shed its conservative exterior and comes to market with a sportier, more carlike attitude.

There's no mistaking the 2010 for the previous Tucson, as the styling has now gone far more curvaceous, employing what Hyundai refers to as "fluidic sculpture design." Its angles and side profile are reminiscent of the Nissan Murano and Rogue, as well as the Subaru Tribeca, which is about as far as you can get from the first-gen. It comes on 17-inch wheels with 18s optional. The Limited and GLS we drove were shod with Kumho Solus KL21s, 225/55R18 (Limited) and 225/60R17 (GLS) -- both sizes are mud and snow rated.

While it's based loosely on the new Elantra's platform, the Tucson's chassis is much stiffer. According to Hyundai, the Tucson's bending rigidity is 38 percent greater than that of the Rogue. Wheelbase is 0.4 inch longer than in 2009, and the crossover is 2.9 inches longer, an inch wider, and 0.9 inch lower. The fully independent suspension uses struts in front with coil springs, plus a 19 percent larger, hollow stabilizer bar (it's more lightweight). Rear suspension is a multilink design with a 29 percent larger stabilizer bar. Track is about two inches wider, and its turning circle is seven inches tighter.