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#14

in 2009 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $9,903 - $14,286
Original MSRP: $18,070 - $25,620
MPG: 20 City / 26 Hwy
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2009 Hyundai Tucson Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

While the Hyundai Tucson's power and handling aren't quite up to par with top rivals, improved fuel economy for 2009 increases the SUV's appeal.

  • "The 2009 Tucson boasts a tighter turning radius than many other compact SUVs on the market, and its easy maneuverability and spacious interior offer an overall comfortable ride." -- Car Gurus
  • "The 4-cylinder engine is fine for commuting, but it lacks the power to give Tucson and Sportage confident highway merging and passing ability. The V6 is stronger, but it is still weaker than some rivals' 4-cylinder engines, with little power reserve for passing." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Tucson is easy to drive and requires little correction on straightaways, but handling is relatively humdrum compared to the Ford Escape." -- Cars.com
  • "Get behind the wheel and you'll find that the 2009 Hyundai Tucson feels carlike on the road; while not exactly sporty, its driving dynamics are pleasant enough. Ride quality is smooth without being too isolating. Recent power hikes in other small crossovers have left the Tucson at a bit of a power deficit, however." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

Although fuel economy has improved by 4.6 percent for this year, the Tucson's four-cylinder and V6 engines haven't -- and they continue to underwhelm reviewers. According to the EPA, the 2WD Tucson achieves 20/25 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission (20/26 mpg with the manual) and 18/24 mpg with the V6 engine.

  • "We prefer versions with the V6 engine since it provides class-competitive power and is smoother than rivals' fours, if hardly more potent." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Many other compact SUVs don't offer a V6. Though both engines seem underpowered during highway acceleration, the Tucson's V6 is smoother and quieter than the I4 and presents a nice alternative for those seeking a bit more muscle." -- Car Gurus
  • "The availability of a V-6 in the cute-ute segment sounds noteworthy, but... the Tucson's noisy 2.7-liter DOHC V-6 is anything but." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

Test drivers provide mixed reports on the Tucson's handling.

  • "Ride quality is a Tucson and Sportage asset. They're composed and comfortable around town and absorbent over all but sharp bumps at highway speeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Tucsons lean toward the cushiony end of the ride-and-handling spectrum, rather than the sporty side. The ride is pleasantly smooth on most surfaces, but undulating pavement and even moderate bumps can transmit some roughness to occupants." -- Cars.com

Next Steps: 2009 Hyundai Tucson

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