Hyundai Tucson Expert Review

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Introduction

Hyundai is having yet another go at the premium SUV space. While previous offerings such as the Terracan, Santa Fe and even the old generation of the Tucson for that matter sank without a trace, the new iteration does pack a lot of promise. More importantly, Hyundai will also be keen on banking upon the resounding success of its mid-sized SUV, the Creta to establish itself as a prominent player in the SUV space. Does the Tucson live up to the hype?

Pros
  • Clean and contemporary design grabs quite a few eyeballs.
  • The 2.0-litre diesel offers 400Nm of torque! Can be quite fun to drive too.
  • 2.0-litre petrol engine carried over from the Elantra is smooth and refined.
Cons
  • No 4WD variant on offer yet
  • Manual transmission not available in top-spec variants
  • Feel-good features such as ventilated seats, sunroof are missing
  • Hyundai could’ve priced it a tad more aggressively.

Stand Out Features

  • The Tucson features an electric parking brake - the only one in its class to do so

    The Tucson features an electric parking brake - the only one in its class to do so

  • 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support

    8-inch touchscreen infotainment system gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support

  • Dual-barrel LED projector headlamps are yet another segment first

    Dual-barrel LED projector headlamps are yet another segment first

CarDekho Verdict

The Tucson does look promising enough to slug it out with the Skoda Yeti and the Honda CR-V which have been struggling to register sales themselves.

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It comes across as a logical choice for anyone upgrading from a C-segment sedan or a compact SUV. The Tucson on the whole is a well-rounded package that gets the basics right. It is comfortable, adequately punchy and frugal as well. That said, a few more features and a snazzier cabin would have been welcome. If you are looking for an SUV that is comfortable for the daily office drive as well as a mile muncher on the weekends, the Tucson should be on your checklist!

Exterior

Hyundai's 'Fluidic' design philosophy was a runaway hit when it was showcased to Indian customers with cars such as the Verna and the Elantra. Over the years, the language itself has evolved to suit conservative tastes and has been distancing itself from bold and distinctive design traits.

The new Tucson is based on the evolutionary 'Fluidic 2.0' theme, that mixes the curvy overtones of the older Hyundais with cleaner lines. In terms of size, the Tucson fits in right between Creta and the Santa Fe. The overall theme of design is a mix and match of its SUV siblings too. Up front, it gets Hyundai's signature cascading grille, that takes up a bulk of the real estate.

There's a nice hint of aggression to the face, courtesy the rounded headlamps, the large mock intakes and the positioning of the daytime running lamps and the foglamps. The top-spec Tucson will feature a dual-barrel LED lighting setup, which we think looks super cool. Lower trims will get a standard projector headlamp setup. Adding to the aggression are the crisp lines on the bonnet and the wheel arches that flare outwards. We particularly like how Hyundai hasn't gone overboard with the usage of chrome on the Tucson (especially at the front) and chosen to keep things classy.

Round to the side, the Tucson seems a notch curvier than the Creta thanks to the rounded wheel arches. None the less, it does feature the sharp shoulder line - which has become synonymous with Hyundai designs - that emanates from the front fender and runs across the length of the car. The massive 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels fill up the wheel wells nicely and are wrapped with chunky 225/55R18 tyres. Again, we love the tasteful use of chrome here that highlights the window line that tapers towards the C-pillar, and the little dabs on the door handles. Neat.

The rear profile does instil a sense of deja vu. While a few will feel it looks like an overgrown Active i20, most will draw parallels to the large Santa Fe. The rear has been kept fuss-free, with the large wraparound taillamps grabbing most of the attention. Just like the headlamps, these get the LED treatment as well. The customary matte-black cladding, the faux skidplate finished in matte silver and the twin-tip chrome exhausts compliment the butch looks rather well.

Dimension wise, the Tucson is 4,475mm long, 1,850mm wide and 1,660mm tall. It is a full size larger than the Creta, and slots in a level lower than the Santa Fe. Overall, the Tucson does blend modern SUV elements into the old-school appeal of a butch looking machine.

Exterior Comparison

Skoda Yeti Honda CR-V Hyundai Tucson
Length (mm) 4222 4545 4475
Width (mm) 1793 1820 1850
Height (mm) 1691 1685 1660
Ground Clearance (mm) 180 200 195
Wheel Base (mm) 2578 2620 2670
Kerb Weight (kg) 1445 1470-1480 -
 

Boot Space Comparison

Honda CR-V Hyundai Tucson Skoda Yeti
Volume 589-litres 513-litres 416-litres
 

Interior

Hyundai is known to deliver some stellar interiors packed with a lot of goodies and gizmos. The Tucson doesn't disappoint here either, as it is loaded with practically everything one could ask for at the price point. Step inside the cabin of the Tucson and you are welcomed by a pleasant looking beige-black interior. There's no all-black theme on offer here (like the Elantra) which we think is a miss considering the Tucson positions itself as a 'dynamic' SUV.

Nonetheless, the layout is contemporary and typically Hyundai. Which means all knobs, switches and dials are exactly where you would want them. The driver's perch gets a 10-way power adjust, but sadly, there's no memory function on offer. The leather-clad steering can be adjusted for rake and reach, which makes getting into a commanding driving position rather easy. From the driver's seat, one gets a nice view of what lays ahead, and the position is definitely confidence inspiring.

The instrument cluster is similar to what we have seen on the all-new Elantra, that sandwiches a detailed multi-information display (that displays trip details, distance to empty and average efficiency) between two large analogue pods for the speedometer and the tachometer. You also get the easy to use (and get used to) 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is paired with four speakers and a couple of tweeters. Just like the Elantra, this one too is developed in conjunction with Arkayms and offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Other goodies on the top-spec Tucson includes leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a chilled glovebox and rear air-conditioning as well.

Over to the rear, the width of the Tucson makes its presence felt. The result is a genuinely wide bench that can accommodate three abreast easily. In case you do not have the fifth occupant, you can treat yourself to a wide central armrest. The rear bench also reclines that adds to the comfort quotient. The Tucson gets the 'Smart Tailgate' feature too, which opens the boot automatically if you stand close to the hatch for a few seconds. Once open, you can liberate more space by either using the 60:40 split on the rear bench or folding them down altogether.

Overall, the cabin of the new Tucson is a nice place to be in. There isn't anything that would let you complain, but, sadly, there's nothing that would wow you either.

Performance

The new Tucson is available with a choice of two engine and two transmission options. At the moment, the big Hyundai will be available as a two-wheel drive only. That said, the Korean automaker has confirmed that it is indeed contemplating getting the 4WD variant by April 2017.

Petrol - 2.0 Nu

The naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine is the same unit you would find under the dapper bonnet of the Hyundai Elantra. However, it has been retuned slightly to suit the characteristics of an SUV like the Tucson. It produces 155PS (Elantra = 152PS) and 192Nm of torque, and is available with a choice of either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.

Just like in the Elantra, the biggest strength of the Nu engine is its refinement. It is calm and composed, and barely makes a noise on startup and idle. Get going, and the engine impresses with clean power delivery all the way up to 4,000rpm. The clutch is light, and bites in early which will make city driving a breeze. There’s enough low end grunt to not warrant downshifts every now and then too. It performs reasonably well on the highways if you like cruising comfortably. That said, you will have to keep the motor on the boil at all times to have fun with it.

The 6-speed automatic is shared with the Elantra as well. Shifts aren’t laggy, and the gearbox rarely feels confused with regards to input. It does feel slightly lazy under kickdown, but you can always set the Drive Mode to ‘Sport’ for more intent from the gearbox and the engine.

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Hyundai Tucson Honda CR-V
Power 153bhp@6200rpm 187.4bhp@7000rpm
Torque (Nm) 193Nm@4000rpm 226Nm@4400rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1999 2354
Transmission Automatic Automatic
Top Speed (kmph) - 190 kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) - 10 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) - 1600kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 12.95kmpl 12.0kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 1600kg 117.125 bhp/ton

Diesel - 2.0 R

The 2.0-litre diesel engine makes its India debut with the Tucson. We think that the four-cylinder, turbocharged motor compliments the SUV better than the petrol one. Get the engine going and you would notice the meaty low end almost immediately. You can leave it in a gear higher than it is supposed to be in, and it wouldn’t mind.

There’s no perceptible turbo lag that would bog you down either. With 185PS and 400Nm on tap, the Tucson diesel comes across as a nice highway companion. The big motor is chugging along calmly at triple digit speeds, and there’s enough torque in reserve at all times to execute a quick roll-on overtake. That said, we aren’t too fond of the harsh engine note under hard acceleration.

Just like the petrol version, you can choose between a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. We would pick the latter for the sheer convenience it offers. The automatic transmission is responsive and picks up part throttle inputs very quickly. However, the Tucson diesel is best driven with a light foot. It not only keeps the engine silent, but also helps eke out better fuel economy.

Ride and Handling

The 172mm of ground clearance goes a long way in tackling the bumps and potholes our roads are best known for. Ride is supple and cushiony at the front, which keeps the cabin isolated from broken roads. The rear feels slightly stiff in comparison, but it still makes for a nice place to be in. In case you plan on being chauffeur driven in the Tucson, you will be comfortable. Hyundai has also worked extensively on making sure ambient noises don’t stray into the cabin by using enhanced sound deadening materials.

The stiff set rear springs help negate the body roll slightly. Some body roll is inevitable for a tall SUV like the Tucson, but the well-tuned suspension and its monocoque construction do well to keep it relatively flat through the corners. The steering is much like the Elantra in terms of feel and feedback, which means it is light at city speeds and weighs up just enough when you hit the highway.

 

Safety

Much like modern Hyundais, the Tucson is brimmed with safety tech. The top-spec variant gets a total of six airbags, along with anti-lock brakes and EBD. Other safety gizmos include hill assist, vehicle stability management, brake assist and electronic stability control. What’s more, the rear seats gets ISOFIX mounts for the child seat as well.

Safety Comparison

Hyundai Tucson Honda CR-V Skoda Yeti
Airbags righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
ABS righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
EBD righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose

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