The Tucson is Hyundai’s smallest SUV in North America, first introduced in this current generation as a 2010 model. Thus it’s styling is the oldest in the Hyundai showroom, not fully embracing the company’s freshest Fluidic Sculpture themes other models have.

Luckily it still remains smart in its appeal with clean and simple lines that give it a trim and athletic stance. I like that the lower body is still lined with black plastic trim which makes for better long term wear in rough country like here in the desert.

While 17” alloys are standard on all Tucson’s, our Limited trim grade came with larger 18” wheels. It had HID headlamps and heated side mirrors as well, but does not offer a power lift gate.

Heated and ventilated leather chairs headlined the interior experience as did a large 7” touchscreen top-end audio and navigation system. Included was a rear-view camera and a power opening panoramic sunroof which many in its class don’t offer at any price.

The cockpit design is basic to function and doesn’t offer some of the outlandish styling flourishes found in the competition. Controls are laid out where they are easy to find and reach, the steering wheel offering many of them right at your finger tips.

The infotainment system once past it’s legal disclaimer was easy to use and learn. The menus and touchscreen controls are intuitive and respond well to the touch. It was also for the most part easy to see in most lighting conditions.

While the lower cushion of the rear seat is fixed and offers no adjustment, rear seat backs do have a two-stage reclining function. They also fold with a 60/40 split which extends the cargo area to a large useable space with a flat load floor.

The Tucson offers a fully independent suspension with struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. New Sachs amplitude selective dampers at all four corners improve ride and response for 2014 and newer models.

The Tucson has a number of driver aids for more challenging conditions like down-hill descent control as well as hill-start assist which keeps you from rolling backwards. It offers 6.7” of ground clearance which isn’t as much as some, but adequate for most soft-roading.

Under the hood of our Tucson Limited is a new for 2014 2.4 liter GDI engine with 182 horsepower which is paired with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. It offers both an Active ECO mode for fuel savings and a manual shift capability for more fun.

The EPA rated our 2014 Tucson at 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. Our week with the Tucson netted us 24 mpg combined as promised. These numbers aren’t class leading, but not bad either.

The 2015 Hyundai Tucson arriving at dealers now is mechanically and stylistically identical to the 2014 model here. There are some revised option packages and the LED tail-lamps optional on our Limited are now standard on it.