2016 Hyundai Tucson SE FWD

Frank Washington | 2/16/2016, 8:33 a.m.
Often times, frills are overrated. That was the case with the 2016 Hyundai Tucson SE crossover.

Often times, frills are overrated. That was the case with the 2016 Hyundai Tucson SE crossover.

It was front-wheel-drive, which is the next best thing to all wheel drive in winter weather. The vehicle had cloth seats they weren’t heated, there was no navigation system, there wasn’t a smart key and there was no sunroof. But the vehicle was equipped with the basics and these days the basics are a lot of stuff.

For 2016, the Hyundai Tucson was a sizable three inches longer, an inch wider and it had a longer wheelbase by 1.2 inches. The tailgate was bigger so you get more unconventionally shaped cargo into the Tucson easily.

The crossover was really spacious for front and rear seat passengers. The rear seatback adjustability had been increased to 38 degrees from 27 degrees from the previous model. Front seat passengers enjoyed a simple layout. Audio controls and settings were just underneath a small screen high on in dash and the climate controls were set beneath.

It was an easy driving vehicle. The only gripe was that the sightline looking through the D pillar window wasn’t that great. In fact the frame could be distracting.

The test vehicle had the base engine a 2.0-liter direct injected four cylinder that made 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a six speed automatic transmission that had manual shift capability.

This engine had more than enough oomph to handle everyday driving. Even acceleration was adequate, though the engine needed to be warmed up to get a quiet power surge when the pedal was pushed aggressively. The Tucson SE FWD, that’s front-wheel-drive, had an EPA rating of 23 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined.

The 2016 Tucson was quiet, it was smooth, and it handled well. Hyundai engineers enlarged the engine mounts to better absorb vibrations, rear cross member mounts were changed from direct to bushings and the use of 335 feet of structural adhesive were amongst the improvements to lower noise, vibration and harshness and get better aerodynamics.

The chassis was more rigid than the previous model because engineers used more than 50 percent high strength steel versus 18 percent on the old chassis. The suspension, fore and aft, was redesigned for more precise handling and less NVH.

They looked at all sorts of improvements like the jounce bumpers now use a hydraulic-type design for better responses over larger road impacts. The bushings are now composed of a higher-dampening synthetic rubber that is 30 percent stiffer for smoother ride characteristics. Hyundai engineers understood that it is the little stuff that makes a big difference.

And though the test 2016 Hyundai Tucson, didn’t feature a lot contemporary creature comforts, there was plenty to make the driving experience pleasurable. The crossover had Bluetooth, voice controls and satellite radio. It had USB and auxiliary jacks, a manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel and blind spot alert. There wasn’t an option in the bunch, except for the $125 floor mats.

That made a difference in the bottom line. With the $895 freight charge, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson was priced at $23,720.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.