2016 Hyundai Tucson
So far, Hyundai has resisted taking a plunge into the rapidly expanding pool of pint-size subcompact crossovers. But, that’s understandable as their quart-size Tucson compact ute delivers a lot more space for about the same price. Well now there’s a new Tucson, and that more for less aptitude just got even bigger.
The Hyundai Tucson has been around long enough to play a major role in Hyundai’s growth, from upstart act to Broadway box office smash.
For 2016, introducing a little more razzle-dazzle to the audience is a good play, and one consistent with most recent Hyundais. The front looks very big and bold for a compact crossover ute, and there are lots of lines flowing from there to the rear.
It very much looks like a scaled down Santa Fe, and when in Limited trim, with 19-inch wheels and LED headlights, it should help reel in those “elusive but highly sought after” younger buyers.
Dimensions have been stretched over last year, it’s both longer and wider; and of course that translates to more room in the cabin for both people and parcels.
Base engine is a 2.0-liter I4 with 164-horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque. Up level trims get a smaller, but stronger, 1.6-liter I4 with turbo assistance that spins up 175-horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque.
It also adds a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission, while the 2.0-liter makes do with a traditional 6-speed auto. Both engines can be had in front and lockable all-wheel drive with active cornering control.
At our test track, our turbo equipped Limited felt spirited, but far from muscular off the line; with trips to 60 taking a mundane 8.4-seconds. Torque is pretty good down low, running out of steam at the high end; but it’s certainly adequate for a compact ute. The ¼-mile pass took 16.5-seconds at 86 miles-per-hour.
As for the DCT transmission, it proved adequate, with some occasional hesitations to get going from a stop. We also got a “high transmission temp” warning during our track day. Braking distances averaged a short 120-feet from 60; but with a long travel from the squishy pedal.
The chassis feels willing and able, with a composed non-floaty feel that’s more firm than plush. But during hard corners, the “traction control monster” awakens easily, keeping you from exploiting that feeling too much.
Taking in the scenery at a more relaxed pace, the ride is surprising enjoyable. It’s noticeably quieter and more compliant than before. The last Tucson was in a word “rough”. So Hyundai’s, increased attention to ride and handling is really paying off.
As for the ever-important drive environment inside, ergonomics are great, as is seat comfort.
The smooth looking IP is dominated by either a 5.0 or 8.0-inch center touchscreen. Hyundai’s infotainment system works well, among the best in the business, and includes a standard back-up camera.
Despite numbers that indicate there’s a bit less legroom for rear seat passengers than before, it felt plenty roomy to us. And it enabled cargo space to go way up; now 31.0 cubic-ft. behind the standard split-folding rear seats, 61.9 cubic-ft. with them folded. That’s 20% more than the average subcompact ute.
Hyundai’s hands free smart lift gate is also available.
Despite the small stature, there’s full size safety here; with an automatic emergency braking system that worked flawlessly in our barrier test. Sudden stops were abrupt enough to leave some skid marks on the pavement.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 24-City, 28-Highway, and 26-Combined. So our average of 26.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular was right on. The Energy Impact Score is about average for all vehicles at 12.7-barrels of oil use and 5.8 tons of CO2 emissions yearly.
And now the fine print. Base Tucson stickers for $23,595. That’s a grand more than last year. The top Tucson Limited AWD starts at $32,195.
Those higher admission prices do put a crimp in our rave review, as they are now a good deal more than a comparably equipped subcompact ute, while still less than the bestselling compacts. Still, the Tucson is fresher and better equipped. Star qualities that should impress both the critics and the masses; keeping Hyundai’s marquee shining bright.
- Engine: 1.6 liter I4
- Horsepower: 175
- Torque: 195 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 8.4 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 16.5 seconds @ 86 mph
- EPA: 24 mpg city / 28 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 5.8 tons/yr
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined