Hyundai wheeled out the North American version of the ix35 in Los Angeles. The 2010 Hyundai Tucson has a better design, and a better engine, than the 2009 model.

The 2010 Hyundai Tucson was introduced to North America in Los Angeles this week.  Revealed internationally as the Hyundai ix35 earlier this year in Frankfurt for European markets, the compact crossover gets 31 mpg on the highway, up 24% from the previous generation.

This is partly due to the 60 lbs. that was shaved off the car's weight, but mainly due to the vehicle's gas-sipping 2.4-liter Theta II four-cylinder engine.  Despite the more efficient engine, there is no reduction of power compared to the last generation Tucson.  The new engine produces 176 horsepower, which is roughly equivalent to the power output of the 2.7-liter V6 installed on the '09 model.  The engine is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.

A second engine option will be introduced for the 2011 model year.  This will be a "high-mileage" 2.0-liter Theta II that is 22 pounds lighter than the 2.0-liter engine the manufacturer used to use.  Hyundai also claims the new 2.0-liter unit will achieve "better power and fuel economy" than the outgoing engine.

With its round lines and fluid styling, Hyundai is touting the new Tucson's "European design."  The new look is certainly a step up from the generic, boxy look of the last Tucson.  In order to achieve the sloping lines without compromising compartment space, the vehicle's length was extended by three inches, while the width was trimmed by a half-inch.  The overall height was also dropped by 1.8".

Four-wheel coil springs, fade-resistant dampers, MacPherson strut front, and multi-link rear suspension are all featured on the vehicle.  Hill assist and Downhill Brake Control is also included.

Sales for the 2010 Hyundai Tucson will begin later this month.  Production of the North America version already started in October.

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