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05 July 2017

2017 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD Review

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Why was I surprised when the keys to a 2017 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD showed up on my desk? I mean, it could have been the Sedona Sunset orange color. But that’s not a big deal anymore because the shade, whether you call it Longhorn orange or Texas tan or whatever, has become part of many OEM lineups. The paint job on the compact SUV, by the way, is spectacular.

No, it was because usually, our long-term test vehicles are brand new models, newly redesigned, or have had a major powertrain or equipment refresh. The current-generation Tucson bowed in 2016, and for the 2017 model year the most noticeable improvements are rear air-conditioning vents in lower trims and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility in the Limited.

Although it’s not new, it’s amazing to me how engines are amazingly smaller as time goes on. Our Tucson is powered by a 1.6L, turbo GDI engine generating 175 hp and 195 lb-ft. Power is routed to the front wheels (and all four when necessary and on demand) via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

As is typical for Hyundai, the Limited comes with an impressive array of standard features, including downhill braking control, hill-start assist, 19-inch alloy wheels (I’m thankful every day that OEMs are raising their wheel games considerably), LED headlights and taillights, heated side-view mirrors with signal indicators, a rear spoiler, and an automatic liftgate.

The safety department is no different. The Limited arrives with blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. The interior has an 8.0-inch color LCD touchscreen with navigation, leather and heated (in the front) seats, an eight speaker, 315 watt Infinity sound system with satellite radio, and auto dimming mirror.

Our Limited totaled out $32,195 and included $125 for carpeted floor mats, the only option box we checked. That’s a long way from the rock-bottom Tucson base price of $23,595. We’ll discuss in a future update where it lands among the fierce competition from the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Outback, and others, and where the value sweet spot might be.

Before I even walked out to the car, I will admit I scanned the Monroney twice for signs of my hands-down favorite Hyundai feature: Ventilated front seats. Call me spoiled, but I’ve come to really value the feeling of cool air on my legs and back in the mid-summer sun of the Southwest. But alas, we didn’t opt for the $2,750 Ultimate package, which, in addition to the butt-cooler, comes with useful safety features such as HID headlamps with dynamic bending, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, rear parking sensors, a big panoramic sunroof, and heated rear seats.

Among the first things I’ll be interested to find out is how close the Tucson’s EPA estimate of 24/28/25 mpg city/highway/combined comes to our Real MPG figure. My 15-mile commute, most of which is on clogged city streets, tends to be hard on efficiency, so we’ll see how far a Tucson tank will take me.

I’ll also be interested to see how smart/nimble the DCT is. Transmissions haven’t always been a strong point in Hyundai vehicles, so I’ll be comparing this one to the class sales leaders. And of course, why have an AWD vehicle if you don’t take advantage of it, so Mother Nature and work permitting, we’ll head out for a snowshoeing trip or two.

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