Hyundai Motor Co. unveiled its sleek, redesigned Tucson at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Thursday as it seeks a bigger share of the crossover market.
"The time is right in the crossover segment," said John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America. "Small crossovers are attracting sophisticated drivers who put a premium on design and flexibility."
Designed and engineered in Europe, the 2010 Tucson has a more curvy shape than its boxy predecessors. The new car is 61 pounds lighter yet 3 inches longer, providing a roomier cabin and 24 percent better fuel economy than the previous model.
The latest Tucson gets 31 miles per gallon on the highway while the 2009 version gets 25 mpg, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
It also boasts Downhill Brake Control, Hillstart Assist Control to minimize rolling backward on steep ascents, a panoramic sunroof and an "Eco Indicator" to help drivers improve fuel efficiency. High-end options include a navigation system, rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, steering wheel controls and XM satellite radio.
The new car will come equipped with six-speed automatic or manual transmissions, and only four-cylinder engines will be offered.
Hyundai said it be available in showrooms later this month at a cost of "under $20,000."
The company posted a 46 percent sales growth last month and has gained market share all year even though total U.S. auto sales have dropped 24 percent.
Fuel-efficient cars such as crossovers, which are as roomy as SUVs but are built on lower car frames, are showing continued strength.