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Roseville, Calif. – When one sees or hears the “redesigned” term, don’t automatically assume that it means tremendous strides of improvement. Often times the revamped vehicles are overhyped and not much better than the original.

With that in mind, we were a little skeptical when learning that the Hyundai Tucson had been redesigned for 2016. It didn’t take long to discern that this wasn’t a hype job – the Tucson’s improvements are for real.

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Previously an uninspiring competitor to the top-selling compact crossover sport utility vehicle competitors, the new Hyundai Tucson has reemerged with more style, sophisticated technology, a better choice of engines, and has bumped up the fuel economy as well.

Although the price for the base model has increased by nearly $1,000 to just under $23,000, the new improvements are worth an extra grand. It’s also good to know that like all Hyundai vehicles, the Tucson benefits from the powertrain warranty that’s good for 10 years/100,000 miles.

2015 Hyundai Tucson

  • Mileage estimate: 21-26; 26-33
  • Price estimate: $22,700 to $31,300
  • Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain:10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/unlimited; corrosion: 7 years/unlimited

Hyundai has reinvented the Tucson and made it a credible challenger to such stalwarts like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The Ford Escape, Kia Sportage and Mazda CX-5 are three other notable five-passenger, compact SUVs.

The redesign improved the Tucson in a number of areas, adding a fuel-efficient turbocharged engine, a roomier interior, some cool technology and safety features, plus greatly reduced two major weaknesses: noise and ride quality.

The 2016 Tucson has much better curb appeal as well. It has taken on a bolder exterior styling and features a sloped roofline, squared-off front end, and has Hyundai’s large trapezoidal grille.

The fuel-efficient (26-33 mpg), peppy turbocharged engine is a major upgrade. It’s a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder that generates 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual. The turbo model comes standard with front-wheel drive but all-wheel drive is an option.

The other Tucson engine is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, and has a six-speed automatic transmission.

Regardless of the engine selection, the new Tucson provides a much better ride. It handles turns more effortlessly and has a sportier feel. The turbo model incorporates very smooth gear shifting.

Although it could easily get overlooked, the Tucson is slightly larger – 3 inches longer, 1.1 inches wider – than its predecessor. There’s good head and leg room for driver/passenger, and second row occupants. However, three adults remains a definite squeeze in the backseat.

The Tucson comes equipped with solid cargo space, offering 31 cubic feet behind the rear seatbacks. With the second row folded, that room increases to 61.9 cubic feet. Those numbers still don’t match the CR-V (35.2 and 70.9 cubic feet).

One cool feature of the Tucson that will be appreciated for anyone who’s hauling around kids is the unique cloth upholstery. It’s an odor and stain resistant fabric that doesn’t allow spilled liquids to seep into the material. Not only does it prevent stains and odor, it’s pretty easy to clean up.

Car shoppers looking for a subcompact SUV should put the Tucson on their list. The revamped model has plenty of fine qualities and is a solid choice for a number of reasons.

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