- Carmaker’s persistence with diesel engine gives this SUV the inside lane over VW Tiguan, Toyota RAV4 and Kia Sportage.
Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have long been the automotive world’s most predominant body shape, with manufacturers relentlessly beating the SUV drum, trying to capitalize on every bit of market share. This has led not only to endless segments being created. As a result, the rivalry in some segments is so intense that there are very little to choose between various offerings and Hyundai used this opportunity to launch the all-new Hyundai Tucson.
The Hyundai Tucson was one of the first local players in the C-SUV segment when it was rolled out in 2004. Over the last 18 years, the Tucson – which was called the ix35 from 2010 to 2016 – has become a popular choice, and so are the Toyota RAV4, the Kia Sportage, the VW Tiguan, Nissan X-Trail and the Mazda CX-5. In addition to the one petrol engine which it offers in three trim levels, Premium, Executive and Elite, the Korean carmaker has reserved its sole diesel derivative exclusively for the top-spec Hyundai Tucson Elite.
The improved Smartstream 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine features a power bump of 7kW/16Nm over its predecessor to produce 137 kW of power available at 4 000 rpm and 416 Nm of torque available at between 2 000 rpm and 2 750 rpm. This is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Claimed fuel consumption is 7.9 L/100 km on a combined cycle and we managed a number as low as 6.8 L/100 km on our 232 km open road launch drive.
The diesel mill’s impressive performance was a timely reminder of why oil-burners done right were such a popular choice. However and across a number of manufacturers’, diesel engines have become a dying breed in the C-SUV segment with oil-burners no longer offered in the Tiguan, Sportage and RAV4.
With the X-Trail’s 1.6-litre diesel mill’s 96kW/320Nm performance trailing the new Tucson by a country mile, the most realistic rival for the diesel Hyundai is the CX-5. The petrol derivatives offered in the new Hyundai Tucson are powered by the updated Smartstream 2.0-litre MPI mill. This normally aspirated engine’s 115kW/192Nm output remains unchanged from the third generation Hyundai Tucson and is mated to six-speed automatic transmission. Claimed fuel consumption is 8.9 L/100 km.
Built on the N3 platform, the new Tucson is the first Hyundai SUV to incorporate the carmaker’s ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ design identity. Geometric patterns, Hyundai calls parametric jewels are standout features on the front grille and distinctive taillights.
The daytime running lights have been cleverly incorporated into the dark chrome front grille with no clear distinction visible between the grille and the lights when switched off. When switched on, the flanks of the grille transform into striking jewel-like shapes through what is called half-mirror technology. The sleek modern theme continues inside with the multimedia screen moving down into the centre console to form a full touchscreen console that operates both the infotainment system and climate settings.
The third generation’s analogue digital cluster makes way for a 10.25-inch digital display. Heated front seats are standard across the range, with artificial leather seats standard in Executive and Elite spec and ventilated front seats standard on the Elite. A new centre console and digital instrument cluster stand out in the new Tucson’s cabin, whilst a 150 mm increase in length means that the new Hyundai Tucson benefits from more legroom for rear passengers and an additional 26 litres of bootspace for a total of 539-litres.
Standard across the range is six airbags, with the Elite trim level featuring comprehensive Hyundai SmartSense active safety and driving assistance systems. The new Hyundai Tucson is well-specced and offers good value throughout the range, with both diesel power production units being undisputed crown jewels. Included as standard is a seven-year/200 000 km manufacturer’s warranty and six-year/90 000 km service plan.
Speaking in front of a platoon of media personnel before officially unveiling the car, Mohammed Dada, Molapo Motor’s Dealer Principal, said he was thankful to all for having found it necessary to be part of the event and that he highly value their presence. Dada also used the opportunity to introduce to members of the press, the newly recruited Brand Manager, Quinton Rogers. Rogers, core responsibilities, according to Dada, is to drive forward both Hyundai and FCA brands.