Don't be scared. It's only dramatic styling.
Hyundai has done an outstanding job of dragging itself away from being a cheap econobox automaker to building stylish and feature-packed genuine value cars and crossovers. The Tucson is a solid example of that and, following a gentle refresh for 2019, Hyundai is lining up a new generation to debut in 2020 for the 2021 model year and our intrepid spy photographers have caught a prototype out in the wild.
The next generation Tucson looks to be a big deal for Hyundai as it continues to play in the ultra-competitive subcompact crossover segment. While there was no change in powertrains and features for the recent refresh, the new version promises to pack a lot more into a small vehicle.
We're looking forward to a new range of drivetrains for the 2021 Tucson and, in particular, the all-new Theta3 engine that's to be connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Base models for the US market should be the Theta3 engine in both non-turbo and turbo 2.5-liter guises. Europe will probably get an updated version of the smaller 1.6 liter GDI engine in turbo and non-turbo form as well as, possibly, a diesel option. A very likely drivetrain option globally is the new 2.0 GDi HEV hybrid, which already debuted with the new Hyundai Sonata.
Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions will be available and in-car connectivity is high up on the list of features for Hyundai. Design-wise, Sangyup Lee, the vice president of styling at the Hyundai Design Center, claims the 2021 Tucson will be something that "will freak you out."
Hyundai has also been talking about a medium-sized pickup truck, and have settled on using the next-generation Tucson which may explain why we caught it testing with a trailer. The truck is most likely going to be called the Santa Cruz when its unveiled around a year after the new Tucson. Our latest intel also suggests both vehicles will be produced at Hyundai's Alabama plant in the US.