Friday, May 2, 2014

Hyundai's Tucson is particularly nice for the price

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – One of the oddities of this car-reviewing game is … well, let’s call it chance.

What are the odds of getting a 2014 Hyundai Tucson sport-utility vehicle right on the heels of a nearly $63,000 Lexus GX 460 SUV and a $40,500 Acura RDX sport-ute?

I know what you’re thinking: No contest.

No way the Hyundai stacks up again those Lexus/Acura luxury liners, right?

But hold the phone.  When I took a long, hard look at the standard features in the tested 2014 Hyundai Tucson Limited FWD and looked at the bottom line on my loaded-up version of the Tucson – $29,835 – I was feeling pretty good about things.

I mean, let’s face it, if you’re shopping the Hyundai lot for an SUV, you’re not thinking “no contest.”  Truth is, you probably looked at the sticker prices on the Lexus and Acura offerings and, upon careful examination of your household budget, thought, “no chance.”

And that’s one of the reasons that vehicles like the Hyundai Tucson exist.  It’s a fairly priced, yet nicely equipped SUV that will do the job without bringing your savings account to its knees.

My tested Tucson was particularly alluring along this line.

Consider the long list of features wrapped into the enticing manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $26,200: 18-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, downhill brake control, “hillstart” assist control, automatic headlights, power/heated side mirrors, leather seating surfaces (ditto the steering wheel and shifter knob), heated front seats and a rearview camera.

Nice, right?  I’m happy with just that.

But the tester added a Technology Package that included a tilt/slide panoramic sunroof, LED taillights, a 7-inch touchscreen navigation display and a premium audio system.

Now, I’m really happy.  And I’m still under $30,000 on the bottom line.

The 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine had adequate pop with 182 horsepower.  Yes, the Tucson did have to noisily exert itself on steep uphill climbs and hard accelerations into freeway traffic.

No problem for me.  I did not expect a bank-vault-quiet road burner for this niche.

Fuel mileage was pretty good at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the open road.

Everything worked nicely and was within easy reach from the cockpit seat.

Styling is fairly conservative, but the front end is angular enough to look sharp when the Tucson is parked on the street.

Overall, this Tucson is a good vehicle worthy of a solid “B” grade in this niche.

And sure, if you have the money to spend on a more luxurious, horsepower-laden SUV, I’m not going to stop you.

But I’m guessing most Tucson buyers are most content with what they get, and happy that the household checkbook still has a little something left on which to live.

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