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The Hyundai Tucson surprises

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

By Tony C. Lesesne

Not long ago, I got the chance to test the 2019 Hyundai Tucson, a surprisingly attractive SUV that I see more on the streets than before. I was immediately struck by its attractive exterior. Look at that! You’d never guess it was a Hyundai. But then again, the brand has reversed perceptions to the point where it is considered elegant.

The Tucson achieves its place in the market by being a practical SUV with a comfortable interior, packed with technology, and a reliable reputation. The Tucson seats five people comfortably. Up front, the seats have space and support, even for me. The hatchback enables you to get 31 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the rear seats down gets you nearly 62 cubic feet of room.

On the city streets, its smooth and surprisingly agile. The Tucson comes with a 164-horsepower four-cylinder engine, but higher trims feature a 181-horsepower four-cylinder. Standard tech features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

When it comes to safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2019 Tucson a Top Safety Pick. It earned the highest rating of Good in all six IIHS crash test categories. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Tucson an overall crash test rating of five out of five stars. Impressive huh?

Simplicity and style can work harmoniously and I can’t overstate the fact that so much of this car comes standard. That includes a pretty impressive tech and safety package. One look at the clean, well-organized dash and center stack and you’ll appreciate the elevated infotainment screen protruding from the middle.

Let me get back to the drive. I wasn’t expecting a high-performance SUV so I took my time to learn the natural shift sequence of the Tucson. By the second day of testing, I had learned how to get the feel of the vehicle to squeeze more acceleration and performance out of it. By the third day, I found the Tucson responsive, agile and sturdy. I could tell the engineers gave some thought to what it should and should not be.

Starting around $23,000, the Tucson ranks among the least-expensive vehicles in the class. With a packed list of standard features and solid performance. the Tucson is an easy pick.

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