Category Archives: 2006

Tucson and Elantra Make Back-to-School Cars Lists by Kelley Blue Book’s

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 09/03/2008 Kelley Blue Book’s recognized the 2008 Hyundai Tucson as a “Top 10 New Back-to-School Car” and the 2006 Hyundai Elantra as a “Top 10 Used Back-to-School Car.” The “Top 10” lists are designed to help students and parents decide which vehicles are best to consider for their next automotive purchase by offering expert advice from editors and top recommendations for getting to and from class in an economical and reliable new or used car.

“There are so many options these days, in both the new- and used-car realm, for safe, fun and affordable back-to-school rides,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst, Kelley Blue Book and “Hyundai offers vehicles that are better built and better equipped than ever before, and more importantly, they include potentially life-saving standard safety features at prices that parents and students will find difficult to beat.”

The 2008 Tucson boasts safety and convenience with standard safety features like active front head restraints, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and six airbags. It also offers new entertainment upgrades to better fit a student’s lifestyle, such as standard XM Satellite Radio® and an auxiliary audio input allowing drivers to listen to music from their iPod® or mp3 player.

The affordable 2006 Elantra earns high marks with a comprehensive list of standard and available safety features, earning five stars in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a “Good” score in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) crash testing. With more interior volume than key competitors Civic and Corolla, the Elantra provides comfortable and versatile seating for all.

All of the new cars on this year’s Back-to-School lists from Kelley Blue Book’s feature starting New Car Blue Book Values of less than $18,000, while all used cars have a Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail Value of less than $12,000.

“We’re very honored to have our vehicles recognized by as a smart option parents should consider for their children,” said Tim Benner, national manager, Product Development, Hyundai Motor America. “The Tucson and Elantra come equipped with robust standard safety packages, expansive interiors and fuel-efficient engines – all at an affordable price. The Elantra and Tucson exemplify the quality and value that parents are looking for when they are shopping for the household fleet.”


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through almost 800 dealerships nationwide.

Long-Term Wrap-Up: 2006 Hyundai Tucson

Long-Term Wrap-Up: 2006 Hyundai Tucson

Another adventurer took our Tucson to Colorado over a holiday weekend. He wrote that freeway ride quality was smooth, allowing passengers to easily doze off. As the road took him higher in elevation, it started to snow, and the Tucson really began to shine. In near-whiteout conditions with little traction on the road, it “was nothing short of phenomenal — over icy, windy, snowy roads, the vehicle was perfect, never giving us any white-knuckle moments.”

Additionally, our Tucson went to Mammoth Lakes, a popular summer and winter destination five hours north of Los Angeles, where it served as pack mule for an editor who embarked on a multi-day camping trip with friends and family. “I was impressed with the amount of gear the cargo area held — the rear became downright cavernous with the second row folded,” she logged.

More often than the occasional out-of-town excursion, the Tucson was enlisted to battle Los Angeles traffic. Not surprisingly, its compact size made it easy to maneuver around our busy, congested streets and a piece of cake to parallel park and fit into tight spaces. For that reason alone, it was always a popular choice among staffers, but there were a few discouraging details worth mentioning.

The 2.7-liter V-6 is small and offers a respectable amount of horsepower, but for such a small vehicle it still felt sluggish and didn’t offer the fuel economy we would’ve expected. In fact, the Tucson only got one mpg better average fuel economy than the much bigger and heavier 3.5-liter Honda Ridgeline V-6. Of course, this small V-6 is one the Hyundai’s had for a while, and we’d expect a newer generation engine soon. Likewise, the four-speed automatic seems to slip away much of the available power, and it sure would be nice not to buzz at near 3000 rpm at highway speeds.

Likewise, editors cited the lack of storage areas and cubbies in the doors and center console. As for overall ride and handling, comments were mixed: Some staffers felt the steering was comparable with that of other vehicles in its class, while others found themselves correcting halfway through most turns, usually having to dial in more input than expected. Some of that, we suspect, is in the suspension design, while some is probably inherent in what a compact SUV’s design parameters will allow, especially at this price.

Our Tucson went through four standard service procedures, and not once did we have additional issues for the dealer to investigate. That says a lot for its reliability.

In summing up our experience with this Hyundai, one editor noted, “It’s easy to say the Tucson is a good value — it’s got a V-6, airbags, stability control, good interior room, back-country capability, all for under $24,000. But there are a few other good vehicles also in that ballpark.”

Maybe Hyundai isn’t the first name that comes to mind for most shoppers, but this little SUV served us well for the 12 months and 23,000 miles we had it. Worth a look if you’re ready buy in this segment.

2006 Hyundai Tucson 4wd Limited
Base price $18,445
Price as tested $23,320
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 4-door, 5-pass
Engine 2.7-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6
SAE net hp @ rpm 173 @ 6000
SAE net torque @ rpm 178 @ 4000
Transmission 4-speed automatic
0-60 mph, sec 10.7
EPA, city/hwy 19/24
Total mileage 23,105
Average test mpg 18.1
Observed worst mpg 10.8
Observed best mpg 24.9
Average distance per fill-up 190.9
Average cost per fill-up $29.76
Average cost per gallon $2.90
Number of services 4
Overall service cost $332.48
Problem areas None

By Scott Mortara
Photography by Julia LaPalme