When I was seventeen, I found the greatest freedom behind the wheel. Heading home through summer twilight, my sister and I would take the New Hampshire back roads in lieu of highways. These roads were lined with lazy farmland and rolling hills. I remember vividly the cool air and rising moon of the pink sky. We were something separate from our awkward selves on those evenings – more potential than simple restless energy.
I had the opportunity to test drive the 2016 Hyundai Tucson in late July. We drove from Minneapolis, MN to Lake Pepin, WI. The route was all cornfields, farmhouses, and perfect clouds. After handling a 21 foot diesel Mercedes Sprinter van over the past year, the Hyundai Tucson was a breath of country air. Rising and falling along the back roads of the midwest, I drove with an ease that was reminiscent of my teen years. I felt like I had everywhere and nowhere to be.
In a way it’s true. I’ve just finished up months on the road driving and sleeping in an oversized vehicle. My life is comprised of next steps and reunions. It’s a bit like I could slip into the driver’s seat and disappear at any moment – I certainly want to at times.
Grasping the leather-wrapped steering wheel of the Hyundai Tucson, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like as a road trip vehicle. I imagined folding back the seats and crawling in with a sleeping bag and the sunroof unfurled, exposing the night skies. While I might not advise it for the long-legged, my ~5’10” boyfriend was able to lie down fully – it would work in a pinch if the campsite is full or you’re feeling adventurous.
The Tucson is an affordable small SUV that you can pack up for weekday use and weekend adventures. Its good gas mileage (26 mpg city/33 mpg highway on the ECO edition) and class leading cargo capacity is ideal for driving to the trailhead and loading up your backpacking gear. For me, test driving the Tucson was a nod towards the lighter travel I see in my future. It was also a reminder of just how fun hitting the road can be.
Photos (C) 2015 Gale Straub
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