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First Drive: 2010 Hyundai Tucson

Another surprise from the Koreans.

by on Jan.28, 2010

Longer, wider - and lighter, the 2010 Hyundai Tucson is also more fuel-efficient than the outgoing model.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Korean-made products lagged low on the list of models automotive journalists sought to review.  And they weren’t held in all that much higher esteem by the motoring public.  But anyone who still thinks of cars like the Pony when the name, Hyundai, is spoken, is in need of some reeducation, and a simple way to do that is to spend a little time behind the wheel of the 2010 Hyundai Tucson.

To be blunt, there wasn’t all that much to like about the original, 2005 edition.  It was the sort of product about which kinder critics will use the phrase, “cheap-and-cheerful.”  Not so now.  The latest generation of the Korean carmaker’s entry-level crossover maintains the positive value story of early Hyundai products pitched on price alone.  But the ’10 Tucson is a surprisingly attractive, solidly built and well-equipped offering that should give some of the better-known entries in the segment, like Toyota’s RAV4, a real run for the money.

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Like most of its competitors, Hyundai has moved away from traditional truck-like SUV design.  The 2010 Hyundai Tucson has a sweeping, graceful appearance that reflects what the maker dubs its new “Fluidic Sculpture” language.  There are a number of nice details and, thankfully, the Korean maker’s stylists avoided buling up with too many of the lines and creases that seem to be de rigeur in today’s automotive world.