Hyundai’s 2016 Tucson is everything you wish you were: stiffer and sportier

Today, at the 2015 New York Auto Show, Hyundai unveiled the third generation Tucson crossover, bringing a sleek facelift, as well as advanced safety technologies and improved fuel economy to the well-loved Korean crossover.

The Tucson was never particularly aggressive looking, but not anymore, thanks to a very angle-heavy makeover of the exterior. Along with a new hexagonal grill that matches the current Hyundai design language, the crossover sports some sharp lines that replace the curvy nature of the previous model’s look. New LED twin-projector headlights and LED accents further the Tucson’s new, more serious demeanor.

Its wheelbase — now both an inch long and wider — rides on 19-inch allow wheels for the first time, featuring an asymmetrical spoke design. Twin bevel-cut chrome exhaust tips and a standard rear spoiler round out the new appearance. In short, we daresay that the Tucson finally looks pretty cool.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

Inside, the interior offers a leather-wrapped instrument panel with extra-wide contours to enhance the roomy feel. Hyundai expects the sharper looking Tucson to inspire some sportier driving, so its gone so far as to incorporate a leather-stitched pad on the side of the center console to cushion the driver’s right knee.

Touch points in general have been upgraded with soft touch materials throughout the cabin, which now has 31 cubic-feet of volume — a five cubic-f0ot increase from the previous generation.

Powering the renovated crossover are a pair of engines that have been optimized with a focus on their fuel efficiency. The first engine, offered in the base model, is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with direct injection. This produces around 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through a six-speed automatic that offers a manual shifting mode. Hyundai claims that this engine, saddled in the front-wheel drive powertrain, nets a 26-mpg combined fuel economy rating.

The second engine, available in the Eco, Sport and Limited models, is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with direct injection. It cooks up 175 ponies and 195 lb-ft. Power goes to the wheels by way of a first-in-segment seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The end result is a 29-mpg combined fuel economy rating, which is a five-mile improvement over the 2.4-liter turbo in the outgoing Tuscon.

If drivers need a little more all-weather control than the front-wheel drive models offer, the Tucson has an advanced all-wheel drive system that was developed in part by Magna Powertrain. The system packs Active Cornering Control, which transfers torque automatically to the wheels with the most traction. This is Hyundai’s version of a torque-vectoring system that brakes the wheel inside of a turn to reduce understeer. It also has hill start assist and downhill brake control to help drivers out when the inclines and declines become a bit too treacherous.

The chassis itself is, as stated before, an inch wider and 1.2-inches longer. It’s also more rigid, made up of 50 percent advanced high-strength steel, whereas the former model only used 18 percent. This means you can take turns a lot more quickly and your smartphone-obsessed kids may never feel the difference — good for you and them.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

An improved, motor-driven steering system has been incorporated to take advantage of the suspension upgrades, offering more precise feedback. The motor-driven system is more efficient than traditional hydraulic systems, reducing the friction and the extra mechanical components that drag on the setup.

New safety features come packed in the new Tucson, like automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning system, and a new pack of sensors that monitor the space around the car. These sensors result in a blind spot and cross-traffic alert system, plus all the usual handy parking tools.

Hyundai’s updated crossover will house the next generation of its BlueLink infotainment and car connectivity technology. This allows drivers to remote start the car, as well as do Google-powered destination searches and request roadside assistance. There’s also a host of diagnostic information BlueLink can provide via its remote app.

Specific pricing hasn’t been released with the reveal, so we surmise it will stay near the starting $21,650 MSRP of the outgoing model. Look for the new Tucson to show up on dealer lots in July.

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