2016 Hyundai Tucson European-Spec First Look
Among all the hot exotic cars debuting in Geneva was something much more practical: The 2016 Hyundai Tucson. The newly refreshed crossover bowed at the show boasting revised styling, new powertrains, and a completely overhauled interior, and even though the model is a European-spec car, it still provides some insight on what the U.S. version will be like when it finally arrives on our shores.
Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture styling language gives the new Tucson a much more athletic and bolder appearance than the current Tucson. It all starts at the front, where Hyundai's corporate hexagonal grille sits front and center, flanked by swept-back LED headlights. Hyundai says the Tucson's front bumper features a wing-shaped appearance, and it tried making the Tucson look sleeker by pushing back the A-pillar. You'll notice the crossover's sheetmetal features sharper character lines, and blacked-out trim around the wheelwells gives it a slightly more rugged look. Around back, new taillights remind us of those on the Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan.
Hyundai says the 2016 Tucson rides on a completely new platform, providing increased interior space despite a similar exterior footprint. The new Tucson measures 176 inches in length, 72 inches in width, and about 65 inches in height, with a 105-inch wheelbase. For reference, the current U.S.-spec version is 173.2 inches long, 71.7 inches wide, and 65.2 inches tall with a 103.9-inch wheelbase. Roomier but also more upscale, the cabin features new soft-touch, high-quality materials on several surfaces and a cleaner dashboard layout that looks like the one on the Hyundai Sonata. Although those improvements will provide a more pleasant experience for drivers and passengers, the newly available features will make it even better. The Euro-spec Tucson is now available with ventilated front seats with longer seating cushions for enhanced support and comfort. A power tailgate now opens at the approach of the key-holder, and smart parking assist with a parallel parking function makes things easier on the driver. Also available is a new version of the navigation system that works three times faster than the previous version.
Other goodies new to the crossover include active safety features. Buyers of the 2016 Tucson can now equip their crossovers with an autonomous emergency braking system that features three modes: Pedestrian, City, and Inter-urban. Lane-keeping assist is now available, as well, along with rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot detection, speed limit information function, and an active hood system that raises the crossover's hood to lessen the impact shock in frontal collisions with a pedestrian or cyclist.
Powertrains for the European version include two 1.6-liter gasoline four-cylinders, one each naturally aspirated and turbocharged, along with 1.7-liter and 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinders. The 1.6-liter gasoline turbo comes with either a six-speed manual or the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission featured in the Hyundai Sonata Eco. We expect to get the 1.6-liter engine along with the naturally aspirated, 2.4-liter four-cylinder paired with a traditional automatic transmission. As usual, both front- and all-wheel drive will be available.
Also at the 2015 Geneva show were previews of the Tucson's hybridized future: the Tucson 48V Hybrid concept and the Tucson Plug-In Hybrid concept. The 48V Hybrid concept model (shown above in white) uses a turbodiesel 2.0-liter I-4 and six-speed manual transmission plus a 48-volt lithium-ion battery, all but assuring a production version will never make it to the U.S. The Tucson PHEV concept, in contrast, pairs its turbodiesel 1.7-liter I-4 with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission, and uses a 10.7-volt lithium-ion battery. With the electric motor over the rear axle, the Tucson PHEV concept can change from RWD to AWD and FWD modes based on the driving situation.
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson will go on sale in Europe the second half of this year.