The medium SUV segment is hotly contested in South Africa. The likes of the Kia Sportage, Madza CX-5, Ford Kuga, Nissan Xtrail, VW Tiguan, Honda CR-V and the Toyata Rav-4 all compete to win the mind, heart and soul of the consumer daily. Notwithstanding the noise, the Hyundai Tucson is among the best selling in the segment. This is by no means overnight success but hard work from the South Korean outfit. The current third generation Tucson is probably one of the best looking in the segment
Now let’s get to the real reason why we are here. The Tucson Sport!!! This is another masterstroke by the Korean brand. We have become so accustomed to the German manufacturers being the only brands that produce sports versions of SUVs. Please, don’t get us wrong, these are beautiful cars but are not within the means of the average South African consumer’s budget. Hyundai SA spotted this gap and decided to pimp up the Tucson and give the consumer a Tucson Sport. Again, before you bite our heads off, the Tucson Sport is no SQ5 but like Tucson is the affordable proposition for someone who cannot afford a Q5, the Tucson Sport is for someone who cannot afford the SQ5 but would like a little extra performance than that found in the standard Tucson.
The Tucson Sport is treated to a body kit with an imported front bumper, side skirts, rear diffuser, 4-pipe sports exhaust and the black on black 19-inch alloys wheels supplied by Tiger Wheel & Tyre. Interestingly the pimped-out Tucson Sport is exclusive to the South African market. It is also worth mentioning that, whether in the concrete jungle of Johannesburg or in the quite streets of the historic town of Vryheid, the car turned heads and sparked immediate conversations about price, engine or power.
You are probably wondering how much all these extras will cost you, let us put you at the ease, the Tucson Sport retails for R499,999, with a standard 6 speed manual transmission gearbox, 1.6 litre turbo engine that pushes out 150Kw of power and 295 Nm of torque. The interior of the Tucson Sport remains the same as the standard Tucson. Nothing wrong with the standard Tucson sport but this is perhaps a missed opportunity to give the car a sporty feel. That said, the Tucson Sport does come standard with an 8-inch infotainment touch screen which includes a navigation system, USB and auxiliary ports, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, reverse camera, ISOFIX child seat mount, rain sensor wipers and enough space for a family of five.
The Tucson Sport drives like a dream on the open road. The power and sound of the engine is serenating. Sadly, pimping up the Tucson Sport has come at the expense of one of the major selling points of an SUV – practicality provided by the ground clearance. This goes out the window with the Tucson Sport. No more going on top of pavements if the parking has run out at the soccer game or local market. Actually, you can attempt to but you have to choose your battles carefully or the guy in the Creta may leave you blushing when he hopes onto a pavement that you cannot conquer.
Hyundai claims a fuel consumption of 8,9 litres/100 km. We managed to do 8,3 litres/100km on the R34 to Vryheid, whilst 9,8 litres/100km was achieved in Johannesburg. The later makes the Sport a bit thirsty but within reason.
Does the Tucson Sport have a place in the market? There’s a place in the market for the Tucson Sport. It might not be for everyone but it is for those who want something that looks good and performs reasonably well and critically, leaves the bank balance relatively healthy.
This is the pricing for the Tucson range:
Tucson 2.0 Premium Auto: R399,900
Tucson 1.6 Turbo Executive: R449,900
Tucson 1.7CRDi Executive: R349,900
Tucson 2.0 Elite Auto: R469,900
Tucson 1.6 Turbo Executive Sport: R499,900
Tucson 1.6 Turbo 4WD Elite: R534,900
Tucson 2.0CRDi Elite: R539,900
Hyundai’s 5-year/150 000 km standard warranty and an additional 7-year/200,000 km drivertrain warranty is part of the pricing. This also includes 5-year/150 000 km roadside assistance and a 5-year/90 000 km service plan.
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