12 Things Good and Bad About the Hyundai Tucson FCV
GOOD: The United States has the first-ever retail Hyundai Tucson FCV delivery in the world. It's built in Korea but we beat out Asia and Europe for bragging rights.
BAD: You can only lease it as discussed in our previous story, 5 Facts About the Tucson SUV and you can only drive it in Southern California because there aren't enough fuel cell stations anywhere else – including Northern California.
GOOD: Unlike a traditional electric vehicle, there is no range anxiety. You can get 265 miles from a full tank and refill in less than 10 minutes. Based on EPA numbers, you get about 380 miles from a gas Tucson model at a combined 25 mpg in the 15.2 gallon tank.
BAD: It's expensive until Hyundai puts a lot of money on the table. Hyundai Motors America president and CEO Dave Zuchowski said the Tucson FCV costs $49,999. A similarly equipped gas model costs about $27,000. Hyundai sweetens the pot with a $499 per month lease after $2999 down and free fuel for the three years of the lease. Otherwise, at this point, it makes no fiscal sense to drive a Tucson FCV.
GOOD: Its fuel economy is strong at 51 miles-per-gallon equivalent on the highway. The gas version gets 29 mpg on the highway when equipped with the six-speed automatic.
BAD: The hydrogen storage system, which rests in the rear of the Tucson, is creepy looking. It looks like something from a bad sci-fi thriller from the '70s. Then again, we did spend time with a prototype model. Maybe it's prettier in the production models.
GOOD: You might be able to rent one from Enterprise in the future. A Hyundai PR rep said talks are taking place to add them to a rental car fleet. Stay tuned and book a flight to So Cal when they become available.
BAD: You'll still need another vehicle if you want to venture beyond Southern California. Tim Bush, who took home the first Hyundai Tucson FCV, admitted as much. It's not a roadtrip vehicle if you plan on venturing more than 120 miles from home.
GOOD: It's really quiet to drive. There's like no cabin noise at all.
GOOD: With 221-lb. ft. of torque available at 1000 rpm it has a lot of zip. That's a good thing because it has only 134 horsepower. The gas model has a relatively modest 168 lb. ft. of torque but 176 horsepower.
BAD: You may get free fuel, but you only can drive 12,000 miles a year under the lease terms. That's roughly 45 tanks of fuel a year or savings of about $1800 a year (Hyundai says gas vs. hydrogen costs should be roughly equivalent per mile). Is free fuel worth it if it means a cap on miles driven? Then again, you can only drive around So Cal so maybe it's not an issue.
GOOD: Carpool lane access in Southern California. That alone is worth the added price for most folks.