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New Hyundai Tucson hits local shores

Hyundai has been an ongoing popular choice for South African consumers since the brand’s establishment back in 1999, with the  Tucson – first launched in 2004 – a cornerstone to the company’s success. Recently the Korean automaker introduced the all-new and improved fourth generation, hoping to build on the SUV’s success.

Modern new look

Hyundai’s design language has been hailed both ground-breaking and received with mixed reviews in the past few years. However, there is no denying the new fourth generation Tucson is a good looking car, redesigned to underline the strong SUV heritage and underpinned by the  Hyundai’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design language.

“The mission of ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ is to elevate the emotional qualities of automotive design. We want our customers to feel moved. With the all-new Tucson, we are introducing its ultimate evolution and a definitive statement about Hyundai’s unstoppable forward momentum,” says SangYup Lee, senior vice president and head of the Hyundai Global Design Centre.

After seeing it in the flesh for a short media ride and drive recently, we can attest that the new Tucson looks good from every angle.  In the Tucson has a prominent front grille with integrated DRLs (daytime running lights). Walking up to the newcomer, the front looked somewhat non-descript and dark but when switched on, this dark grille  comes to life, illuminating parts of the grille revealing the hidden DRLs.

The side profile is as experimental and good looking as the front, conveying an impression of a forward-moving motion. This is thanks to the long wood and level roofline coupled with a long wheelbase and short overhangs.  The rear also boasts radical redesign, with  striking rear tail lights integrating seamlessly  into the rear bumper.

World-class interior

The new interior, like the exterior, feels refined, sleek and modern. It’s packed full of new tech and driver convenience. At the launch, Deon Sonnekus, the general manager of corporate communications for Hyundai South Africa, said that the interior of the new Tucson feels like a neatly organised room where space, technology and information intersect harmoniously. We concur – it does feel modern and sleek, making it a genuinely pleasant place to be.  

The all-new Tucson is well-equipped across the range, boasting features like multi-air mode, three-zone climate control and heated front seats (with ventilated front seats for the Executive and Elite derivatives). In Addition, Apple Carplay and Andriod Auto cellphone connectivity is standard across the range and allows the driver to utilise the mirror functionality making smartphone connectivity simpler and more convenient. The Tucson also has a premium sound system for an enhanced listening experience and a wireless charging port in the centre console.

The two-row SUV is 150mm longer and 15mm wider and has a wheelbase 85mm longer than its predecessor, making this fourth generation the most spacious Tucson ever. This translates into more legroom for rear passengers and increased boot space, now offering 539 litres of luggage capacity. If you fold the rear seats down, you can get up to 1 860 litres.

Safety is also top class for the new Tucson, with a wide array of advanced driver-assistance systems and an impressive  active safety package. The Tucson is fitted with a six-airbag system, including front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, and curtain airbags which also offers protection for the rear occupants. The outer seats on the rear bench have ISOFIX latching points for the fitment of child protection seats.

Hyundai’s new flagship is also equipped with the latest Hyundai SmartSense active safety and driving assistance features for even more assurance. The Hyundai SmartSense active safety and driving assistance features in the new Tucson include:

In the Executive derivative:

  • Blind-spot Collision Warning (BCW): monitors rear corners, creating a visual alert that appears on the exterior mirrors if a vehicle is detected. If the driver activates the indicator, an audible signal is emitted.
  • Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCA): reduces the risk of collision with approaching traffic when reversing out of narrow areas with low visibility by alerting through audio and visual warning.

In the Elite derivatives:

  • Blind-spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA): uses rear radars to monitor rear corners, with a visual alert that appears on the exterior mirrors if another vehicle is detected. Where necessary, BCA emits an audible warning and applies differential braking;
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA): this autonomous braking function can detect cars, pedestrians and cyclists;
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) helps prevent accidental lane departure by sensing road markings automatically steering the vehicle if necessary.
  • Lane Follow Assist (LFA): automatically adjusts the steering to help keep the vehicle centred in its lane;
  • Smart Cruise Control (SCC): this regulates vehicle speed and maintains the distance to other vehicles in front;
  • Rear Cross-traffic Collision Assist (RCCA): applies the brakes while reversing if a rear collision from a passing vehicle is detected;
  • Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCA);
  • Fatigue Detection/Driver Attention Warning (DAW) is a driver protection feature that helps monitor driving patterns to detect fatigued driving and prevent potential accidents; and
  • High Beam Assist (HBA): a system that automatically adjusts the headlamp range (switches between high beam and low beam) according to the brightness of other vehicles and road conditions.

Performance and Driving impression

The new Hyundai Tucson is available with two powertrain options. Both four-cylinder engine comes in an option of a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.0 Turbodiesel. The Smartstream G 2.0 MPI petrol engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It is available in the Premium, Executive and in one of the Elite variants. The Smartstream D2.0 Turbocharged diesel engine is paired with an eight-speed transmission exclusively available in the Elite. The petrol engine develops 115kW and a peak torque of 192Nm; while the diesel kicks out a hefty  137kW and a peak torque output of 416Nm. We sampled this impressive diesel Elite derivative during launch and was suitably impressed with a smooth and comfortable drive, with good grip around the corners and ample power when needed.  

The new Hyundai Tucson is the brand’s debut of the new N3 platform. This new architecture was designed to improve Tucson’s safety stiffness, as well as allow for unrivalled on-road and off­road manners. The suspension, in particular, received a massive revamp improving the damping of the rear suspension to reduce road noise on the tar but, more importantly, improving handling and comfort on gravel roads.

Hyundai was confident in their new platform, allowing us to sample the Tucson on gravel and tar road during the launch route. My impression of the Tucson while driving on the R21 toward the Anton Smit art gallery was how refined and quiet the drive was. The road noise is almost non-existent, while refined suspension gives you the confidence to thrash it around and drive a bit more actively rather than passively. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is paired perfectly with the 2.0-litre Smartstream diesel, never hunting for gears and manages the torque perfectly. The engine itself feels refined and doesn’t suffer too much from turbo-lag. The auto gearbox and the turbo diesel engine is also highly frugal for a mid-sized SUV, offering an impressive 7.1-litres/100km.The Tucson did impress me most on the less-than-perfect gravel roads in the Bapsfontein area en route back to Jozi.  Despite the poor condition of the roads due to recent flash floods in the area, the Tucson just got on with the job at hand.  Hyundai did mention that improved dampening on the suspension will reduce instances of bottoming out and while I had my doubts, that is precisely what happened with the Tucson almost “floating” over the harsh corrugations with surprising quietness.

Model line-up & pricing:  

  • Tucson 2.0 NU Premium AT: R519 900
  • Tucson 2.0 NU Executive AT: R569 900
  • Tucson 2.0 NU Elite AT: R634 900
  • Tucson R2.0 Elite Turbodiesel AT: R699 900

All-new Hyundai Tucsons are sold with a 7-year/200 000km manufacturer’s warranty, a 6-year/90 000km service plan and roadside assistance for 7 years / 150 000km.

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