Hyundai is riding a strong SUV wave in the U.S., adding or updating more and more models to its lineup to satisfy the intense demand for sport-utility vehicles. The latest stylish addition to its offerings is the updated Tucson, which now offers razor-sharp exterior surfacing and a unique interior aesthetics as well. We previously only had concept images of the popular nameplate, but now shots of the full-fledged production model headed to the U.S. have been released.
Looking almost exactly like the concept, the new Tucson certainly sets itself apart from other smaller SUVs on the road. However, it's more than looks that have been confirmed, as we now know that there will be a regular gasoline-powered version, a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and a performance-oriented N Line model also on the way.
The regular Tucson will get Hyundai's 2.5-liter "Smartstream" four-cylinder engine which produces an adequate 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, mated strictly to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Hybrid models get the smaller but turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 177 hp, but when combined with the hybrid system's electric motor, it produces 226 total system horsepower, making the hybrid Tucson the most powerful of the lineup.
Both the conventional Tucson hybrid and the plug-in get this drivetrain, but the plug-in receives a larger battery pack rated at 13.8 kWh as compared to the regular hybrid's 1.49 kWh. Both hybrids also get a six-speed automatic transmission as the only option, with the brand's HTRAC all-wheel-drive system available for the first time on these more eco-friendly models.
If you're interested in more in performance, however, there's an N Line version of this vehicle coming later in 2021. Typically that would mean mechanical changes as it has for other N and N Line models, but Hyundai says the alterations will likely be mostly aesthetic, with teaser images hinting at unique equipment and color selections. I guess this means buyers, in general, must be interested in aesthetic performance, not more power or better handling, or anything like that.
The interior in any of these trims is certainly a step up from the previous generation. Hyundai uses strong terms to describe it, not calling it the interior, but the "INTERSPACE." Sort of like "Outer Space," but, you know, inside. Makes sense.
Not only does it include amenities such as heated and ventilated seats, but you can activate them from the key fob on cold or hot days, pre-conditioning the car before you get in it with help from the climate control system. The accent lighting can also be adjusted to any of 64 different colors, and many driver-assistance features are standard as well such as lane-keeping, automatic high beams, and forward collision-avoidance.
For a price, you can also get radar cruise control, and the ability to pull your vehicle out of tight spots while you stand outside with the key fob, as is now available in the Sonata.
Interior connectivity tech is upgraded as well, with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available on either an 8.0-inch or 10.25-inch touchscreen display. Wireless charging is also offered, with two USB ports and a conventional 12-volt outlet provided if wired charging is more your speed. It's to be noted that this new interface is devoid of hard buttons, opting for a 100 percent touch interface.
Pricing is yet to be announced. However, the current Tucson starts at $24,875 including destination charges, so expect base prices to be somewhere in that range. The new SUV will be available in the U.S. starting in the Spring of 2021.
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