The sport utility vehicle that elevated Hyundai to No.4 among South African automotive brands has been brought back with an all-new design, inside and out – the Tucson is back and so badged.
Pity, then, that the purity of the name has been sullied by a supplementary ‘Nu’ badge.
The Tucson, originally launched in 2005, was snapped up by buyers in South Africa to become a top-seller in the SUV segment for several years until it was replaced, badge-wise at least, by the ix35, in 2009 – apparently, The Corner understood at the time, by a Korean head-office edict.
Stanley Anderson, marketing director of Hyundai Automotive SA, did some numbers: “22 716 Tucsons were sold in South Africa from 2005-10 and the ix35 33 692 to 2016. Those 56 408 sales proved the popularity of Hyundai’s SUV and we are ready to fight for the top position in this very competitive market segment again with this latest model.
“The Tucson name has now been revived for this compact SUV; with it comes a new level of sophistication, quality and comfort that will again make it a favourite among local buyers.”
The Tucson range has five derivatives (prices at the bottom of this feature) from the 2.0 Nu (ugh!) Premium with a either a manual or auto six-speed transmission to the range-topping 1.6 TGDi Elite with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive.
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Between them are the 2.0 Nu (ugh! again) Elite, also with the two-litre petrol engine and six-speed a/t but with a high level of standard features. One step down in terms of standard features is the 1.6 TGDi Executive, also with the new turbo 1.6-litre petrol engine but a six-speed gearbox.
The Executive had features that fit between Premium and Elite.
Peter Schreyer, Hyundai’s president and design boss, explained to The Corner in a media release how the Tucson achieved its “dynamic proportions” and “sleek, urban style with the ruggedness of an SUV”.
“Design expresses our progressive spirit and passion,” he said, “and it’s transforming our brand. The new Tucson has a distinctive and athletic presence, flowing surfaces, bold proportions, sharp lines and our newest hexagonal signature grille.”
The nose also has diode headlights and daytime running lights.
“The tail,” the automaker adds, “has strong horizontal lines flowing from the wheel arches. The combination lights and reflectors are stretched to the body edges to further underline the bold proportions and the rear skid-plate and twin exhausts add a sporty touch.”
The cabin is said to have “new soft-touch, high-quality, materials, creating a refined cabin ambience”. Ten exterior colours are available – take a look on the Hyundai SA website – but all units have a black interior with black leather upholstery.
Front seats in the Elite units have power adjustment for the driver and front passenger with, for the driver, powered lumbar support. Luggage volume is 513 litres with all seats upright, growing to 1503 litres with the rear seats folded, and the boot has two levels and a retractable cargo cover.
Elite models come with a sliding sunroof and a large satnav-friendly info screen. Satnav is a R15 000 option on all models – The Corner reckons a handheld should do the same job for a fraction of the cost; perhaps Hyundai should offer branded handhelds at a discount as a marketing ploy?
DAB+ digital radio with six speakers is standard across the range with connections for external audio devices.
Depending on model, radar tech provides blind-spot cover and lane-change warning, cross-traffic alerts and parking proximity warnings; vehicle stability management and control keep things going in the desired direction but, should the unwanted happen the Tucson has six crash bags.
New under the bonnet is a four-cylinder turbo 1.6 T-GDI engine that makes 130kW at 5500rpm and 265 Nm from 1500-4500rpm and drives a six-speed manual gearbox or new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the latter with full auto or manual control.
Premium derivatives have a two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 115kW/196Nm.
In the range-topping 1.6 TGDi Elite the 1.6 T-GDI petrol engine is mated to an all-wheel drive system. The front wheels receive 100% of torque during normal road driving but half of that can be sent automatically to the rear wheels. Drive can be locked into 50:50 to a maximum of 40km/h over extreme terrain.
Hyundai completed accelerated durability testing on the Nürburgring Nordschleife – the equivalent of 180 000km of everyday driving focused on steering, suspension, brakes, tyres, seats and aircon. (PRICES BELOW)
Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Nu Premium – R359 900
Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Nu Premium a/t – R379 900
Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Nu Elite a/t – R439 900
Hyundai Tucson 1.6 TGDi Executive – R419 900
Hyundai Tucson 1.6 TGDi Elite DCT AWD – R499 900
Each will be delivered with a five-year or 150 000km manufacturer’s warranty, seven-year or 200 000km drive train warranty, five years or 150 000km of free roadside assistance and a five-year or 90 000km service plan.
Service intervals 15 000km.