By Malusi Msomi
One thing you have to appreciate in this day and age is the Korean design language, they’re never afraid to push the envelope and be different. The new Tucson is no exception as it boasts a bold design that makes it standout and features new tech to give the competition a run for its money. Consisting of four models in the range: Premium, Executive,Elite, and the range-topping R2.0 Elite Turbodiesel AT. I had a chance to sample the latter on a drive from Kempton Park to Bronkhorspruit.
In terms of aesthetics, it’s quite a departure from the previous generation model. It looks bolder and sharper. It’s good to point out that it’s now 150 mm longer, 15 mm wider, and the wheelbase is 85 mm longer than its predecessor. Upfront, you’ll find Parametric Hidden Lights that seamlessly blend in with the new grille when they are off. Moving over to the side you’ll find chiseled surfaces that look quite unique. The rear is also striking with its new fang-like tail lights. Keen eyed people will notice that the Hyundai logo at the rear has moved form the boot lit to the rear glass as well as the rear wiper has moved underneath the rear to give the rear end a cleaner unobtrusive look. Overall it looks great and seems to be ahead of its competitors in terms of design. It will have major competition when the new KIA Sportage arrives to our local market.
The Tucson has grown in size meaning more cabin space. There’s plenty of room at the rear for three adults with plenty of head and legroom. The cabin looks good, but there’s a liberal use of plastic, especially on the door panels. Our chariot, the R2.0 Elite Turbodiesel, is fitted with a digital instrument cluster that’s clear and crisp. The infotainment system supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is standard across the range. Thanks to improved sound-deadening, the sound of the diesel engine is barely noticeable.
The range consists of the 2.0 Premium AT, 2.0 Executive AT, 2.0 Elite AT and 2.0 Elite Diesel AT. The first three are powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine producing 115kW/192Nm paired to a six-speed automatic and the diesel model has a 2.0 engine producing a meaty 137kW/416Nm, and is paired to an 8-speed automatic.The 2.0-litre diesel engine in the R2.0 Elite is strong and quite frugal. Power is sent to the front wheels via a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic. The ride is comfortable thanks to the reworked suspension. The new Tucson has also gone through some rigorous testing. For dynamic testing it has been put on the demanding racetrack the Nürburgring, for cold weather testing it was taken to the Alps, and for hot weather testing, the south of Spain.
Safety and driver assistance systems
In terms of safety, the entire range comes standard with driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags, ABS with EBD braking, Auto-locking and unlocking doors, remote keyless entry, rear view monitor, and parking distance warning avoidance assistance. As you climb higher in the model range, you get more safety features. In the Executive you get Blind-spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross-traffic Alert. The range toppers get additional safety features like lane keeping assist, lane follow assist, and Smart Cruise Control just to name a few. Hyundai has also increased the car’s torsional strength which ensures a very stable and surefooted ride, while it also ensures improved safety for the vehicle occupants in case of a collision.
The new Tucson has upped the ante for competitors by building a desirable car that not only looks but is also a pleasure to drive and be in. It’s a big leap from the previous generation and in some instances beats most rivals in terms of standard features at its price point.
The new Hyundai Tucson range is priced as follows:
2.0 NU Premium AT: R519,900
2.0 NU Executive AT: R569,900
2.0 NU Elite AT: R634,900
R2.0 Elite Turbodiesel AT: R699,900.
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