Unlike midsize SUV Creta which Hyundai developed for the Indian market, the Tucson is a global SUV, having sold over 4.5 million units in about 160 countries since 2004. It was first launched in India in 2005, but then Hyundai discontinued it in 2010.
This week, Hyundai has launched the third-generation Tucson in India. Named after the famous city in Arizona, US, the Tucson (pronounced too-saun) fills the wide pricing gap between the Creta and the Santa Fe, Hyundai’s full-size SUV. We drive it in and around Chandigarh.
The new Tucson wears Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design philosophy quite well. The front is dominated by the company’s signature hexagonal grille, which seamlessly connects with the dual barrel LED headlamps. There is a wing-shaped horizontal bar on the front bumper, which, along with the LED daytime running lights (DRLs), gives the SUV a unique character. The bonnet is long, and accentuates the sleek profile. From the sides, it looks more or less like the bigger Santa Fe. The rear profile, again, has a clean design, with horizontal lines that flow from rear wheel arches. The slim tail-lights and the twin chrome exhaust enhance the overall appearance.
It is 4,475mm long, 1,850mm wide and has a height of 1,660mm. The wheelbase of 2,670mm ensures ample cabin space.
The key exterior features are dual barrel LED headlamps, fog-lamps with LED DRLs, twin chrome exhaust, spoiler with inbuilt LED stop lamp, and a shark-fin-type antenna.
Over the last few years, Hyundai has worked a lot on improving the cabin quality, and the effort now shows in all their vehicles. In the company’s top three most expensive vehicles (Santa Fe, Tucson and Elantra), the cabin quality matches what you find in some luxury cars. Thus, the dashboard of the Tucson has a very premium feel to it. The placement of controls is well-thought-out and the use of silver detailing on the centre fascia enhances the premium appeal. There is enough space all around for four passengers. However, there is no sunroof, not even as an option.
You have a choice of two engines: the 2.0-litre Nu Dual VTVT petrol (155ps power) and the 2.0-litre R e-VGT diesel (185ps power). The latter is the newest member of the Hyundai diesel engine family, and it is this one we drove.
As you fire the engine, the first thing you’d notice is that almost no sound enters the cabin. A slight push on the accelerator pedal and the engine shows what it is capable of. The maximum torque of 40.8kgm is available from a low 1,750rpm, and as you fully press the accelerator pedal, the Tucson shoots ahead like a cat possessed. Further, its low drag coefficient (of 0.33) ensures there is minimal wind resistance, and it also leads to good fuel efficiency, high-speed stability and a quieter ride.
The Tucson is available in both manual and automatic transmissions. The auto supports a drive-select feature to choose between Normal, Eco and Sport modes. The certified fuel-efficiency of the automatic diesel is 16.38kpl, while that of the manual diesel is 18.42kpl. The petrol manual returns 13.03kpl, while the petrol automatic has a fuel-efficiency of 12.95kpl.
There are a lot of safety features, such as six airbags, ESP, hill-start assist control, downhill brake control, ABS with EBD, front & rear parking sensors, reverse parking camera with steering-adaptive guidelines, speed-sensing auto door lock, child seat anchor, etc. However, most of these are only available in the top-end trim. There are three trims: MT, AT GL and AT GLS. The entry-level trim gets two front airbags.
For the record, the Tucson had received five-star EURO NCAP safety rating in 2015 and also won the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick Award 2016 in the US.
It is loaded with technology. For example, the tail gate can be opened and closed at the touch of a button. For parking brake, you don’t have to pull a lever; just press a button. Entertainment and navigation can be accessed using the large 8-inch touchscreen; the system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity with voice recognition. There is a compass on the interior rear-view mirror.
The Tucson also comes with the Hyundai Premium Assurance Program (HPAP). Among other things, customers will get 3 years/unlimited kilometres warranty; free maintenance for 3 years or 30,000km; 3 years roadside assistance; 3 times update on maps; and 3 times customer home visit to check on the car, if needed.
Ex-showroom, Delhi, price of the entry-level petrol is Rs 18.99 lakh, while that of the diesel is 21.59 lakh. The top-end automatic diesel will cost you Rs 24.99 lakh. The nearest competitor is Skoda Yeti, but which has almost zero demand. For a few lakh rupees extra, you can consider the new Toyota Fortuner. Both these are true, 4×4 SUVs, unlike the Tucson, which is currently available only in a front-wheel drive mode. Buy the Tucson if you like an SUV which drives like a premium, modern car.
(Some features mentioned in this review are available only in the top-end AT GLS diesel trim.)