The Hyundai Tucson SUV
It’s crazy to think that Hyundai has been on the local automotive scene for 17 years. In that time we saw a brand that had a rocky start evolve in to a highly competitive motoring manufacturer. The two cars that “put Hyundai on the map” were no doubt the Getz hatchback and the original Tucson SUV which from 2005 to 2010 sold 22 716 units. Then came the ix35, which also did well with 33 692 sales during its lifespan. Now, Hyundai global has enforced the Tucson name for the ix35 replacement. The new Tucson has been a smash hit for the Korean brand, with solid sales figures and a place in the final of the 2017 Wesbank SAGMJ Car of the Year competition.
The man behind all of the good-looking Hyundai/Kia products is of course Peter Schreyer, and he’s nailed it again, we think that the new Tucson looks fantastic. There is a big, bold grille up front complimented by sculpted LED headlamps which flow in to a swept-back A-pillar and sloping roofline. The rear is a bit more rugged, with combination lamps; a rear skid plate and twin exhaust exits. Overall the Tucson fits well within its segment; it certainly looks like a combination of its key rivals blended with a typical Hyundai twist.
The interior is less dramatic, the fit and finish in general is of a high quality. Expect all models to have a black leather interior while on the entertainment side of things there are two infotainment systems available, one a standard issue system with a smaller screen and Bluetooth connectivity while in higher-spec models there is an 8-inch system with navigation, Bluetooth/USB/DVD/AUX and HDMI compatibility.
In terms of practicality the Tucson will be a great family vehicle, there’s ample space in the rear, a 513 litre boot, front electric seats in the Elite models and a two-level boot and cargo cover.
Is it safe?
The Tucson comes with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating with features such as Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) as well as six airbags, including driver, passenger, and side and curtain airbags throughout the range.
The model chosen for the Car of the Year testing was the 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol motor mated with the seven-speed double-clutch gearbox (DTC). There’s 130kW/265Nm available which we found to be enough in this model. We also felt that the gearbox worked better in this package and when paired with this motor, provides good overtaking and reasonable fuel returns with a figure of 8.5 litres/100km. The turbo motor and DCT gearbox is also available with a four-wheel drive (4WD) system with a ‘Lock Mode’ that splits torque 50/50 for enhanced stability at speeds up to 40 km/h.
Driving impression and verdict
The Tucson is a very fuss-free affair in the driving department; it soaks up the bumps on our rather badly-maintained roads well while whispering while it does so. It fits a purpose and that is to transport families in comfort and safety. On that front it works very well indeed.
Peace of mind
The new Tucson range is backed by a 5-year/150 000 km manufacturer’s warranty as well as a 7-year/200 000 km drivetrain warranty along with a 5-year/90 000 km service plan.