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LA 2009: Bye-bye boxy, hello 2010 Hyundai Tuscon

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Filed under: LA Auto Show, Crossover, Hyundai

01-hyundai-tucson-live-la-630op.jpg
2010 Hyundai Tucson - Click above for high-res image gallery

Hyundai just took the wraps off their all new 2010 Tuscon CUV. A right-sized (i.e. compact) crossover designed in Frankfurt, Germany - as opposed to the California designed Sonata we saw yesterday - but still uses Hyundai's new design language, the oddly named Fluidic Sculpture. Like the Sonata, the new bigger-yet-lighter Tuscon (61 pounds, to be precise) has been designed to convey a sense of motion. Of course, whether they succeeded or not is up to the beholder's eye.

Hyundai feels that the compact CUV market is growing (as does the rest of the industry), however the small crossover buyer is changing. Used to be that when people shopped for say a Tuscon, it was because they couldn't afford an Excursion. No more. The new small CUV buyer expects a higher level of comfort and refinement from their little truck-like rides. If what Hyundai's peddling proves true, the Tuscon's impressive list of standard bells and/or whistles fits this projected market to a tee (see the press release for the full lowdown).

The most impressive Tuscon attribute is in likelihood its frugal MPG rating. 23 miles per gallon in the city, 31 at highway speeds. In addition to the slight weight reduction, the Tuscon achieves these numbers via innovations such as a switch away from parasitic hydraulic power-steering in favor of an electric system. There's also an all new six-speed automatic that uses 62 fewer parts than the outgoing five-speed. Interestingly, the new slusher is built fully in house by Hyundai.

The engine of course contributes to the good-for-a-CUV mileage. The new Tuscon comes with a 2.4-liter Theta II four-cylinder that produces 176 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. You will notice that the Tuscon does not come with the more powerful Gasoline Direct-Injection (GDI) Theta II that ships with the new Sonata. We asked Hyundai if a future iteration of the Tuscon (say the 2011) would in fact receive the GDI motor. "That's a logical conclusion."

We also asked if the turbocharged GDI motor would make it into the Tuscon. "It would fit." We then asked if we'll see a hybrid version as the new Sonata will eventually show up in gas-electric guise. "No comment." Then after a pause, "We all have to get to 35.5 mpg." Finally, we asked if we'd see an all-electric version of the Tuscon. We received another "No comment" but Hyundai North America President and CEO John Krafcik did state that they will be selling an electric car in the States. As to when, "Not next year." Read the press release, after the jump.



Continue reading LA 2009: Bye-bye boxy, hello 2010 Hyundai Tuscon

LA 2009: Bye-bye boxy, hello 2010 Hyundai Tuscon originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Dec 2009 18:19:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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