Compact SUVs have spent the last ten years dividing themselves firmly into two camps. The first are vehicles which take the off-road capabilities of full-size sport-utility vehicles and apply them on a 7/10ths scale. These rugged trucks still employ a full frame, robust four-wheel drive systems with a locking differential and a suspension that is designed to take on even the harshest of wilderness trails. They display the same general handling characteristics found in the larger SUV's but generally feature less powerful engines.
The second group of compact sport-utility vehicles chose to emphasize the passenger capacity and better than average cargo room of this class of vehicle. Instead of aping the big boys, these small trucks are built upon sedan platforms that trade in four-wheeling heroics for a smooth and comfortable ride. Since they are usually lighter than traditional SUV's, their fuel economy is often more akin to that of a four-door automobile than a thirsty pickup, and their engines don't have to provide high amounts of torque in order to impart acceptable performance.
Hyundai has yet to venture outside of the compact SUV field, preferring to concentrate on their strengths as a car-focused company rather than take on the very competitive truck-based people mover market. After releasing a series of smaller crossover vehicles, the automaker found that they were able to translate their success as an inexpensive, value-driven brand into the world of SUV's. This led to the decision to move the popular Santa Fe onto a larger platform and introduce a brand new compact sport-utility vehicle to replace it.
The Hyundai Tucson hit the scene in 2005 and quickly found an audience with buyers who might have considered purchasing the Honda CR-V but who were attracted by the Hyundai's low price and excellent reputation for quality. With a friendly front end and generally conservative overall styling, the Tucson was a safe choice for many families looking for the safety of all-wheel drive combined with the excellent visibility offered by a tall ride height. Hyundai's excellent warranty has also helped drive a steady stream of traffic into their showrooms and behind the wheel of this small passenger truck.
This article discusses the best used compact SUV available from Hyundai, the 2005 - 2007 Tucson, and examines some of the features and capabilities that have made it a favorite amongst those looking for a small, inexpensive and competent sport-utility vehicle.
2005 - 2007 Hyundai Tucson
One of the 2005 - 2007 Hyundai Tucson's main strengths is its utter lack of pretentiousness. Whereas other compact SUV's may suffer from delusions of grandeur when it comes to performance or luxury, the Tucson is an extremely straightforward proposition that is completely upfront regarding what it has to offer buyers.
The base model Tucson is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 140 horsepower. If more grunt is required, upgrading to a 2.7-liter V-6 offers an additional 33 ponies along with a four-speed automatic transmission to replace the entry-level Tucson's 5-speed manual. The automatic is optional with the 4-cylinder, and both vehicles can also be ordered with four-wheel drive that actively manages the amount of torque being sent to each wheel based on the detection of any traction loss. Electronic stability control is a standard feature for all Tucsons, helping to make it quite surefooted regardless of weather conditions.
All trim levels of the 2005 - 2007 Hyundai Tucson come with power windows and door locks and air conditioning, with the V-6 edition of the compact SUV adding in a better stereo system, The upscale LX edition of the vehicle doesn't go overboard in terms of luxury features, but it does provide leather seats to help soften up the interior. The Tucson feels bigger inside than its diminutive sheet metal would suggest, and passenger space is more than adequate for up to five people. Cargo space tops out at around 65 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, and a rubber mat and several well-placed tie-downs help to ensure that luggage stays in place while the vehicle is in motion.
Functional, competent and well-designed, the 2005 - 2007 Hyundai Tucson is a better than average low-buck alternative on the used compact SUV market that doesn't give up a lot in comparison to pricier offerings from major players in the segment.