All images by Anne Proffit
After spending a week with a 2011 Hyundai Tucson GLS PZEV FWD, just one down from the top-of-the-line Limited model, I have to say that, overall, I do like this machine for its value, its affordability and, as is the case with most Hyundai products these days, its overall quality.
The PZEV nomenclature designates a vehicle that has partially zero emissions controls and, as an added feature on this Tucson, the mileage is superb for a machine weighing 3203 pounds - it's rated at 22/31 mpg using regular unleaded. I was shocked to find my second tank, consumed in rather spirited driving, amounted to an average of 33 mpg from the 14.5-gallon tank! Not bad, eh?
The 2011 Hyundai Tucson GLS is powered by a 170-horsepower (at 6000 rpm) in-line 2.4-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine; it makes 163 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm and redline is 6250 rpm, enabling the Tucson to loaf at 2200 rpm at 70 mph. Shifted by a six-speed automatic transmission with manual capabilities, the Tucson is smooth and capable, albeit not a champ at stoplight derbies.
MacPherson struts at the front and multi-link rear suspension includes dual stabilizer bars; while the ride is on the firm side, with the short wheelbase Tucson it's all doable. Four-wheel disc brakes have electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, as well as downhill brake control and hill-start assist.
Hyundai fits traction and electronic stability controls for the Tucson GLS. Motor-driven power steering has a wee bit of numbness on-center that's unnoticeable after a few days. Turning circle is a nice 34.7 feet. Twinned five-spoke alloy rims sit on Kumho 225/60R17 tires. They are quiet and compliant.
This is a compact SUV/crossover at 173.2 inches length, 71.7 inches width, 66.3 inches height, riding on a 103.9-inch wheelbase. Ground clearance on this front-wheel-drive model is 6.7 inches
With a starting price of $22,640 including destination, the Chai Bronze/black cloth Tucson driven here has two options. The navigation package includes a central navigation system with 6.5-inch touch screen, rearview camera, premium CD-based, satellite-radio-equipped audio with external amp and subwoofer and automatic headlights for $2000 and carpeted floor mats for $180, bringing the total to a value-filled $24,740.
There are double 12-volt plugs at the base of the central stack, along with auxiliary, iPod and USB plug-ins and cables. There's a grippy floor to this area and open buttresses so we can reach in from the side. The driver's window is one-touch only; all others must be operated with finger firmly on-switch. The grippy leather steering wheel has audio controls on the left, the excellent cruise system on the right, while the phone operations on the lower left and right of the steering wheel.