It’s been just over three months since my wife and I purchased our 2016 Hyundai Tucson, and I wanted to give you a update of what the ownership experience has been like and add additional details to the original review and the follow up that I wrote. Let me start with what I call minor annoyances as they do not detract from my decision to get the Tucson:
- Sirius XM was our biggest pain point. We got a three month trial as part of the purchase of the Tucson and the music part of it worked fine and my wife and I really liked that. We also liked the fact that we could listen to Sirius XM on our smartphones. But our three month trial was also supposed to supply traffic info to our navigation system. That would have been handy as the navigation system simply plots either the fastest or most direct route between points “a” and “b” without taking traffic into account. But it never worked and attempts to get this remedied were unsuccessful. Plus the customer service that we got while trying to fix this has been really, really bad as the standard responses from Sirius XM Canada were “we’ll send a command to refresh your radio” which never worked and promises of getting their tech support involved never materialized. Thus we’ve decided to let the trial lapse without signing up. That sucks for Sirius XM Canada as we were considering signing up and now because of this they’ve lost a potential customer. Related to this, we also found a major security hole with Sirius XM Canada’s online portal and the way they create new accounts that can leave people wide open to bad guys on the Internet doing bad things. Hopefully they’ve remedied that. But if they haven’t, they’re likely to get pwned sooner or later. On a related note, Sirius XM Canada is extremely aggressive about trying to get you to sign up. They’ve made numerous calls to my wife and I, sometimes while we’re having dinner which is an excellent way to annoy those you are calling. There’s also a lot of e-mail and snail mail that gets sent to us as well. One thing that I do note is that the offers to sign up kept getting better every time as each offer was a significant discount off their regular monthly rate for a limited time, or a significant discount if you signed up for a year. Read into that what you will.
- There’s only one USB port. That’s a problem on long road trips seeing as this vehicle seats five and everyone has a smartphone these days. To fix that, we’re likely going to have to resort to 12v to USB adapters to keep devices charged on long road trips. The upshot to that is the USB port has no problem charging high current draw items like tablets.
- At startup, the infotainment system connects to your phone over Bluetooth. When it finds it, it then says “The contact download is starting. Some phones require additional confirmation. Please check your phone and confirm the download if necessary.” The problem with this is that it not only interrupts any other audio that is playing, including navigation commands (or if you have audio turned off, it will still say it), it also displays this text on top of any graphics that are on the touchscreen with the exception of the backup camera. Fortunately, there is a workaround that stops this from happening that I found on the Hyundai Forums. Simply delete the phone from the infotainment system, delete the infotainment system from the phone’s Bluetooth section, and re-pair the two. But what really needs to happen is that there needs to be an option to disable this message both audibly and visually so that you never have to see it. Perhaps a future software update will address this.
- While the infotainment system in general and the navigation system specifically is pretty much idiot resistant, I will note that if you are searching for a street name with the word “highway” in it, such as “Highway 7” which is a major route just north of the City Of Toronto, you have to enter “Hwy-7” as it will never find “Highway 7.” That’s something that will drive users nuts. Perhaps a future software update will address this as that’s not idiot resistant.
- The welcome lights issue that I reported on haven’t been addressed yet. However, according to this post on the Hyundai Forums, there is a fix that is available to US customers. Hopefully Hyundai Canada gets this fix to Canadian customers ASAP.
Now over to the things we like:
- Though the Tucson is smaller than the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV-4, at least on paper, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with the amount of interior space that you get. I had to pick up a pair of people from Pearson Airport after they flew in from the United Kingdom and they had no problem getting in and relaxing after a long flight. I should also note that they were both over 6 feet tall and they commented that there was “loads of space” in the back.
- There’s a lot of cargo space in the back for stuff with the seats upright. I was able to fit multiple large suitcases with ease back there when I had to pick up those people from the UK at the airport.
- Fuel economy is pretty good. It tends to be between 9 and 11 L/100 KM’s which is very good as far as I am concerned. Plus if you use ECO mode, you can get your fuel economy down to the low 9 L/100 KM’s range or lower easily. Though the driving experience isn’t nearly as fun.
- The backup camera with rear parking assist and cross traffic alerts is a welcome feature to have as I am certain that this avoid us hitting something in the parking lot of a grocery store or Home Depot. I should also point out that the clarity of the camera in all lighting conditions is excellent.
- The hands free liftgate is a brilliant. If you have your hands full with stuff, you don’t have to fumble for the fob, nor do you have to wave your foot under the bumper (good luck with that if you have balance issues or you’re on uneven ground) to get the rear liftgate to open. Simply walk up, stand there for three seconds and the liftgate opens. This feature alone is worth the price of admission.
One thing that we didn’t get with the Tucson was a privacy cover. It’s an option, but in our opinion it should be standard. So we ordered it and a rubber mat for the cargo area from Hyundai Of Oakville and here’s a look at the result.
Now over to a question that I’ve got from a reader. They want to know the details on the all-wheel-drive system as there isn’t a whole lot of info on it. The system that Hyundai using comes from Canadian auto parts supplier Magna who supplies the all-wheel-drive hardware to car companies like BMW. Dubbed Dynamax, this is a very sophisticated system that provides you with traction in all conditions. Rather than wait for a slip to occur and react to it, the system anticipates events and adjusts to them in almost real time by sending and receiving information to the control electronics of the car. That way, the system tries to be one step ahead of the car, which means you get ideal torque and traction at all times. To add to that, the system has torque vectoring capabilities which I’ve found to be useful in situations such as taking an on or off ramp a bit too quickly (which for the record I’ve done and this system has bailed me out of that situation). In this application, a mechanical differential splits front-rear power distribution. The left-right power split is via inside-wheel braking, which under-drives the inside wheel relative to the outside wheel traveling the greater arc. All of this works and works pretty well. We’ll have a good chance to test this system this winter. Assuming that winter ever makes an appearance in Southern Ontario as it hasn’t thus far. I’ll report back as to how it does in those conditions.
Another question that I got from a reader is how do I deal with the fact that this trim level doesn’t come with a CD player. My answer is that it doesn’t affect me or my wife for three reasons:
- We listen to a lot of AM and FM Radio. Plus while we had a trial of Sirius XM, we listened to that too.
- The music that we want to listen to is located on our respective iPhones.
- You can use a USB stick full of MP3s to play music from. If you need help doing that, I’ve wrote a post on the Hyundai Forums on this topic here.
I should note that lower trim levels do come with CD players.
There’s another item that I’d like to highlight. There is a rumor that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is coming to the 2016 Tucson in the form of a software update. I think that’s great if that’s true and I hope it is a free update as Hyundai charges for their software and map updates. Thus it would really suck if they charged for this one. I’ll post a story on the update process and my experience with CarPlay/Android Auto if that update appears. Having said that, there’s already a software update that includes updates to the maps for the navigation system. But at $235 US, it’s a steep price to pay to make sure that you don’t drive off course.
Speaking of software updates, the Tucson got a software update at my first oil change which was at 6000 KM’s. The software update is for the engine control module. Apparently there was an issue where the engine control module thinks that the engine is not warming up quickly enough, and therefore it would throw a error code which could result in the Check Engine Light being turned on. I haven’t had this issue, but it is nice to know that it is not going to happen in the future. Speaking of oil. Thus far, I can find no evidence that the engine consumes oil unlike our previous vehicle. That’s something that my wife and I are thankful for.
Finally, we’re looking at replacing the Hankook all season tires that came with the Tucson with all weather tires. Let me explain the difference between the two. All season tires are tires that work in three seasons. Spring, summer, and fall. Below 7C they don’t provide optimal levels of traction. Since we live in Canada, that’s bad. Now many people use dedicated winter tires, but there’s the expense of extra rims, tire pressure sensors, and the cost and hassle of swapping tires twice a year and storing them. Thus there’s a new class of tires that called the all weather tire that works in all four seasons and is winter rated (which is denoted by a picture of mountain with a snowflake inside it on the sidewall of the tire). That takes away the hassle of swapping tires and storing them while giving you traction in any condition. The specific tire that we’re considering is the Nokian WRG3. Seeing as this is the company that invented the winter tire and they are from Finland which gets a fair amount of snow, we feel that this is the best choice for us.
I’ll be posting another update in three months and I should have some more things to say about our experiences with the Tucson, along with anything else my wife or I encounter. Please keep an eye out for it. Also, if you wanted to see the original review of the Tucson, click here for that along with the follow up that we did after we bought it.
UPDATE: The “welcome lights” have been fixed. Click here for details.