The interior looks more refined than before, and in addition to new leather and leatherette/fabric options, there are plenty of new standard features and upscale extras. There are two trim levels, base GLS and the cushier Limited. With front drive and the manual, the GLS starts at $19,790 and comes with iPod/USB interface, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/satellite radio, Eco mode indicator light, tire-pressure monitoring, stability control, traction control, ABS, hill-start assist, downhill brake control, six airbags, and power windows/doors/mirrors. Both can be had with front or all-wheel drive, and options include a panoramic sunroof, navigation system, telescoping steering wheel, upgraded audio system, and rearview camera.

There are still hard plastics on the dash and doors, but overall the cabin is more modern, with cool-blue lighting on the center stack and silver buttons there and on the steering wheel. It's also much quieter than before, but there is still some road noise. Cargo volume has improved to 25.7 cubic feet behind the second row (from 22.7) and is 55.8 cubic feet behind the second row, which is less than that of the CR-V, Escape, and Rogue. Most interior dimensions improved; the cabin is roomier and is now more in line with the space provided by its competition.

So far in 2009, Hyundai has sold about 2000 of the outgoing Tucsons each month, which works out to about two percent market share. With the new model, the company hopes to lure couples without kids -- both those who haven't started a family yet and empty nesters -- and take more of the market. The vehicle goes on sale next month with pricing lower than that of comparable CR-Vs and Rogues and has a lot of value to offer. And the new styling might be enough to get this vehicle noticed in a segment that seems to grow every year.

2010 Hyundai Tucson
Base price range$19,790-$25,140
Vehicle layoutFront engine, FWD/AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine2.4L/176-hp/168-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4
Transmissions6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic
Curb weight3200-3500 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase103.9 in
Length x width x height173.2 x 71.7 x 65.2 in
0-60 mph8.8 sec (est)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ21-23/28-31 mpg
CO2 emissions0.75-0.82 lb/mile
On sale in U.S.January 2010