Hyundai recently unveiled the 4th generation of the Tucson SUV but that will arrive in our country sometime next year. In the meantime, we will have to make do with a facelifted version of the same which was launched here in the month of July. The Tucson exists in a more premium sphere as compared to the Creta and the Venue. Does it deliver on the high expectations set by the Korean carmaker? We find out in this detailed review!
The new Hyundai Tucson has the longest wheelbase in its class and that is pretty evident when you step in the cabin. It is a rather smart looking car and doesn’t try too hard to look butch and rugged. It actually works in its favour because its intent is reflected in a perfect manner when we talk about its looks. The ‘Urbane’ SUV look is highlighted by a large hexagonal grille up front which chrome garnishing which could even make a Harley question its existence. It also gets Penta projector LED Headlamps along with LED DRLs & LED Tail Lamps.
The headlamp flows towards the back, giving the front fascia a rather flowing look. Like we mentioned earlier, it doesn’t try to look rugged because the new Tucson knows that looking ‘smart’ hasn’t gone out of fashion.
The side profile is highlighted by 18-inch dual-tone alloys. The tapered roofline gives it a sporty look. It does mean that the passengers might feel a little less airy as compared to other cars in its segment, but going by the way the tapered roofline looks, it sounds like a fair deal. The rear too, isn’t that flashy and carries forward the simple and clean look. Other visual highlights include a shark-fin antenna, panoramic sunroof and twin mufflers at the rear. Boot capacity stands at 513 litres which is sort of a segment standard.
Engine and performance
The new Tucson is being offered with two powertrains, a 2.0-litre turbo diesel which churns out 185 PS at 4,000 rpm and 400 Nm between 1,750 – 2,750 rpm and a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor which is good enough for 152 PS at 6,200 rpm and 196 Nm at 4,000 rpm. The AWD trim of the new Tucson is also offered with the HTRAC 4WD system, Traction Cornering Control and Drive Modes. Diesel-powered automatics get a new 8-speed transmission, while petrol-powered variants continue with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. We got to drive the turbo diesel-powered Tucson which is mated to an 8-speed automatic unit.
While the performance figures for the petrol unit aren’t class-leading, the turbo-diesel shines with its numbers. The diesel burner unit propels the Tucson to achieve the 100 kmph mark in less than 11 seconds which is good enough for an SUV this size. The turbo-diesel and the 8-speed automatic transmission work in perfect tandem to keep things seamless. Not just this, but this diesel unit is a rather frugal one and by the end of the day, you end up appreciating its frugal nature as much as its decent performance. Though the ARAI certified mileage stands at 14 KMPL, if driven on wide-open highways with a light foot, the new Tucson can deliver as much as 16-17 kmpl. The figures come down as soon as urban elements come into play and the automatic transmission has to work a little harder. In the city, expect the Tucson to deliver somewhere around 8-9 kmpl.
Drive and handling
Let’s get one thing out of the way first, the new Tucson isn’t an off-roader and this misconception has to be eradicated in order to understand the car in a fair manner. Hyundai has developed the Tucson to serve as a family SUV and not a weapon for an off-road enthusiast to bust it down the trails. Its 190mm ground clearance indicates the same. It does its job pretty well in being a family SUV. Its ride quality particularly stands out when you compare it to its rivals. The Volkswagen T-Roc is a driver-focused crossover whereas the Jeep Compass can deal with off-road elements. On the other hand, the new Hyundai Tucson is built for the city and the highways and this is where it comes into its own.
The ride is a little firm but it absorbs the bumps in an exceptional manner. Hyundai has also loaded the Tucson with AWD accompanied by ATCC (Hyundai’s advanced traction control). These aren’t marketing gimmicks because both these factors combined, make the Tucson a sure-footed handler. It might not be the sharpest of the lot but it does deliver. The steering wheel is well-weighted and provides some feedback to the driver. We would have loved to see it behaving in a more natural manner but it’s still good for a Hyundai.
In terms of features, the new Tucson offers Power Adjustable Front Seats (Passenger – 8 Way, Driver -10 way), Infinity Premium Sound System (8 Speakers), Hands-Free Power Tailgate, dual-zone AC, Wireless Charger, Panoramic Sunroof, Rear AC vents and Electronic Parking Brake. It is also worth noting that the new Tucson is the first vehicle in its segment to be offered with Connected Car Technology “Hyundai BlueLink”. It allows to remotely lock /unlock & even start the Engine/AC using smartphone/ smartwatch. Also, the vehicle can be Tracked down & immobilized with just a touch of a button. A new Floating Type 20.32 cm HD Touch Screen Infotainment with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Voice Recognition is also offered to further enhance the connectivity on the move.
The cabin looks and feels premium but Hyundai could have used soft-touch materials to carve the lower part of the dashboard. It is made of hard plastic which doesn’t feel upmarket. The instrument console has an easy to read layout with a tachometer and speedometer flanking either sides of the information-loaded centre MID unit. Like we mentioned earlier, Hyundai and Kia have set the bar so high in their respective segments that you start expecting the Tucson to kick it up a notch but it somehow fails to do so. There are some omissions which make the Tucson feel that it missed out on some crucial bits. There are no ventilated seats, blind-spot monitoring system, Heads-up display, paddle shifters or air purifier. We expect the 4th generation of Tucson to take care of it and become the new benchmark in its segment.
Having the longest wheelbase in its class certainly works in favour of the Tucson, especially when you take the rear seats in consideration. Be it knee room, shoulder room or headroom, the Tucson’s rear bench comes out rather spacious. The sloping roofline does translate to a rather high window line which might prove to be a bit bothersome to some people.
The new Hyundai Tucson is a feature-loaded and a comfortable family SUV. It doesn’t pretend to be something it is not. It isn’t rugged and is only good for some soft off-roading but it wasn’t built to decimate the trails. It was developed to be a comfortable SUV which can carry five adults to places and to munch some miles on the highway. Needless to say, it manages to do so and it manages to do it in an almost perfect manner.