Hyundai Tucson Ultimate offers near-luxury at bargain prices

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Miami's Community Newspapers

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The Hyundai Tucson sits near the smaller end of the brand’s SUV lineup — slightly larger than the Kona and a bit trimmer than the Santa Fe.

As with both of these other crossovers, the 2020 Tucson boasts a handsome exterior design, a well-equipped cabin, and a choice of two different four-cylinder engines with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Base models offer a lot to love, but if you spend more for a Limited or Ultimate model, like the test vehicle I had, the Tucson offers near-luxury appointments at bargain prices.

Looking back a little, the 2019 was the year Hyundai elevated the Tucson with a lot of updates, such as freshened looks, a revised powertrain lineup, and an all-new lineup of standard and optional tech features. So by comparison, the 2020 Tucson’s changes are modest: they’ve revamped the available colors for the exterior, and added a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, standard on Sport trim levels and above.

So here is a quick checklist of what is new: The Hyundai Tucson offers a wealth of features for the money, easy-to-use infotainment system, comfortable ride on rough roads, the interior materials are a little bit nicer than what the rivals offer, and although it has less cargo space than other brands, top rivals, the Tucson is truly one of the most well-rounded small crossovers available.

A compact crossover, the Tucson is sold in six trim levels: SE, Value, SEL, Sport, Limited, and Ultimate. The SE and the Value are reasonably well-equipped. Moving up to the other trims gets you added luxury-oriented features and a more powerful engine.

So naturally, with the Ultimate, you pick up all the standard features of the lower trims, such as automatic headlights; a height-adjustable driver’s seat; a 60/40-split folding back seat; and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Arriving at the Ultimate level, standard advanced safety features include lane keeping assist, an upgraded forward collision mitigation system, a 360-degree parking camera, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control. You also get leather-wrapped steering wheel, an upgraded driver information display, roof rails, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and keyless entry and ignition.

Also with the Ultimate, you get the 2.4-liter engine and 18-inch wheels. Throw in a hands-free liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, wireless smartphone charging, and an eight-speaker premium audio system, the Ultimate is the way to go.

Topping the list — pun intended — is a panoramic sunroof, automatic high-beam headlights and wipers, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and an 8-inch touchscreen display with navigation.

Inside the Tucson’s dapper cabin, occupants are treated to well-built surroundings with user-friendly controls and a European-style design. It’s a bit on the monochromatic side with the all-black color scheme but my Ultimate offered the beige upholstery which added some nice contrast. Fold the Tucson’s rear seats flat and there is room for 22 carry-on suitcases; with the seats up, it held seven.

Handling-wise, the Tucson is competent but not sporty. And fuel economy may not be as good as other class leaders, coming in at 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. But on the upside, the ride is very smooth and refined. Body roll is well controlled, the steering is well weighted, and overall the Tucson changes direction with confidence.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson Ultimate has sharp detailing, it is quiet, smooth and comfortable — and loaded with enough features to please anyone. It really looks stunning in white, too. Go for it!

Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.


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