Customized factory vehicles with more than such things as added paint stripes once were rare. But more began to appear to make standard models stand out when the market became increasingly crowded. The 2017 Tucson "Night" is a good example of a mildly customized factory offering.
Like the regular Tucson, the Tucson Night is a worthy compact-but-roomy four-door hatchback SUV with a distinctive look. List prices are $27,800 for the front-drive model and $29,200 for the all-wheel-drive Night version I tested. It was powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 175 horsepower. The entire regular Tucson range goes from $22,700-$32,175.
The other available Tucson engine is a 2.4-liter four with 164 horsepower, but the turbo engine provides superior, lively performance. The 2.4 comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The turbo works with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic that should be smoother at stop-go low-speed driving, but otherwise performs adequately.
Hyundai says the Tucson Night has a "new blackout monotone attitude." How so? Well, it features 19-inch black finish alloy wheels with black lug nuts and red valve stem covers, panoramic sunroof with dark tinted glass for a blackout look, black cladding, aluminum pedals and heated gloss black side mirrors with turn signal indicators.
The Night version's exterior colors are (mostly) romantically named Caribbean Blue, Dazzling White, Coliseum Gray and Black Noir Pearl. My test Tucson Night had Caribbean Blue paint, but by far the best looking color is-you've probably guessed-Black Noir Pearl. It simply goes best with this Tucson's "Night" description. To my eyes, anyway, the black-finish wheels looked rather odd on my test Tucson Night
The Tucson Night AWD gets an estimated 24 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on highways, which is so-so for a compact turbo SUV. Top Tucson estimated economy is 26 and 32 for the front-drive "Eco"model.
The Tucson Night is fairly well-equipped with items including a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, power locks and windows, air conditioning, push-button start, AM/FM/CD audio system, power driver's seat, tilt/telescopic wheel with audio, cruise and phone controls, 12-volt power outlets and a 3.5-inch LCD multi-information display, reclining rear seats and a good amount of storage areas.
The Tucson Night's floor height calls for a little extra effort to enter, but occupants sit high. The quiet interior has supportive front seats and comfortable space for four to five tall adults, although the center of the rear seat is stiff and best accommodates a fold-down armrest with dual cupholders.
The spacious cargo area has a hands-free power hatch and a low, wide opening. Fold down the backs of the reclining rear seats and the cargo area becomes very impressive.
Gauges can be quickly read in the quiet interior, and the mix of small and large clearly marked controls is easy to use. However, the 5-inch dashboard touch screen is rather small, although not complicated to use.
The agile Tucson has decent steering, a supple ride and anti-lock brakes controlled by a firm pedal. There's downhill brake control and also hill start-assist control. Assisting handling are the on-demand all-wheel-drive system, stability and traction controls.
Safety features include blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert. There's also front, front-side, and side-curtain air bags with rollover sensors.
The Tucson Night with the turbo engine is a good package. Just remember that it looks best with black paint.