Page 1: Intro
CHICAGO, IL - crossover suvs are what consumers want, and the compelling new 2005 Hyundai Tucson aims to deliver. Sized to compete with the stalwart Toyota RAV4 as well as newcomers like the Pontiac Vibe, Mitsubishi Outlander and Suzuki Reno, the Tucson is a small crossover that slots in beneath the Santa Fe in the South Korean automaker’s lineup. Three levels of trim include standard GL, mid-level GLS and upscale LX.
Based on the Elantra sedan’s front-wheel-drive platform, the 2005 Hyundai Tucson shares with that excellent economy sedan its base engine. The Tucson GL is equipped with a 2.0-liter inline four cylinder with variable valve timing, tuned here to make about 140 horsepower and 136 lb.-ft. of torque. Given the GL’s base curb weight of 3,240 pounds, we’d suggest sticking with the standard five-speed manual transmission to make the most of this motor. If you insist, a manually interactive Shiftronic automatic is optional.
Adding four-wheel-drive only taxes the standard four-cylinder, and we’d recommend opting for the 2.7-liter V6 engine, which develops 173 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque. The V6 is only available with the Shiftronic automatic transmission. Either engine is covered by a ten-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The 2005 Hyundai Tucson’s optional 4WD system is Borg-Warner’s Electronic InterActive Torque Management design that can route up to 99 percent of the power to the front wheels. Up to half of the engine’s power can be transferred rearward as road conditions and wheel slippage warrant. A 4WD Lock feature allows the driver to lock the system for a steady 50/50 split, but there is no low gear for serious off-roading.
Every 2005 Hyundai Tucson comes equipped with a four-wheel-independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and four-wheel-disc brakes. ABS is an option across the board. Other standard goodies include rear seats and a front passenger seat that fold flat to accommodate cargo, a rear cargo mat, and cargo tie-down hooks. Hyundai claims that maximum cargo capacity is 39.9 cubic feet, which would rank it at the bottom of the segment – we suspect this measurement does not include any space above the vehicle’s beltline, and we’d guess that the Tucson could actually hold about 60 cubes of cargo.Standard features on the 2005 Hyundai Tucson GL include side airbags, side curtain airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, power heated side mirrors, remote keyless entry, roof rack side rails, rear wiper, CD player with six speakers, and privacy glass. Adding the optional V6 includes a Shiftronic automatic transmission, front windshield wiper de-icer and a tire pressure warning system. Cruise control and fog lights are options on the Tucson GL.
The Hyundai Tucson GLS adds a V6 engine, Shiftronic automatic transmission, front wiper de-icer, tire pressure warning system, radio with cassette and MP3 capability, fog lights, body color exterior trim, body cladding, bigger tires and different wheels, cruise control, illuminated ignition, deluxe cloth upholstery, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Traction control is optional.
Page 3: Value
Tucson LX adds a CD changer and leather seats; traction control is optional. Any 2005 Hyundai Tucson can be equipped with ABS and 4WD. Other options include a power sunroof, front seat heaters, and an alarm system. Family resemblance to the Santa Fe is distinct, but the 2005 Hyundai Tucson is toned down and much more attractive. It’s more like a five-door, jacked-up hatchback than a true SUV. The interior is nicely designed and functionally laid out, with an easy-to-clean plastic cargo floor under the removable rubber mat. Dimensionally, the Tucson’s key attributes are on par with the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Toyota RAV4 (with the exception of the cargo capacity measurement).
If this value-packed proposition appeals to you, the Tucson goes on sale late this summer. Expect prices to start at around $16,000 and top out at about $23,000.
--Photos courtesy of Hyundai Motor America