Tucson rides back into town

Hyundai’s hero SUV drops the num­bers and has a name to up­hold

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

THE most popular com­pact SUV in Australia is about to be ditched, iron­i­cally as a re­sult of its suc­cess.

Hyundai’s next gen­er­a­tion ix35 will be shown at the Geneva Mo­tor Show with a Tucson badge to re­flect the global pop­u­lar­ity of the small SUV plat­form.

The South Korean group’s prac­tice has been to give names to global mod­els and al­phanu­meric badges to those with a Euro fo­cus. The ix35 did so well it re­verts to the Tucson.

The new model will carry over the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel en­gines from the cur­rent car. How­ever, the head­line 2.4- litre petrol will be re­placed by a tur­bocharged 1.6-litre.

Trans­mis­sions will in­clude a six-speed man­ual and sev­en­speed dual-clutch au­to­matic.

Carsguide be­lieves it will also be the first Hyundai ve­hi­cle to sup­port both Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto, en­abling own­ers to pair smartphones to stream sat­nav and mu­sic and to use voice-recog­ni­tion soft­ware to in­ter­act with the apps.

Lo­cal sus­pen­sion tun­ing will give the Tucson the on-road poise to match the ix35, which was widely praised for its ride and han­dling.

The Tucson is about 65mm longer and 30mm wider than the ix35, im­prov­ing leg and shoul­der room for rear oc­cu­pants and boost­ing boot space from 465L to 513L.

Among new fea­tures are heated and ven­ti­lated front seats, re­vers­ing cam­era across the range, pow­ered tail­gate and semi-au­to­mated park­ing with re­verse and par­al­lel park­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

Safety gear in­cludes lane keep­ing as­sist, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, rear cross-traf­fic alert. There is also three-mode au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing — the set­tings are pedes­trian, city and in­ter-ur­ban — to trip the brakes au­to­mat­i­cally when it de­tects an un­safe closing speed with ob­jects ahead.

Aus­tralian-mar­ket ve­hi­cles will be built in South Korea and the Czech Repub­lic.

Prices and model vari­ants have yet to be locked in but spokesman Bill Thomas says they will be com­pet­i­tive across all trim lev­els.

The cur­rent ix35 range is priced from $26,990-$40,990.

Hyundai chief designer Peter Schreyer says the Tucson’s de­sign is typ­i­cal of the new look aimed at el­e­vat­ing the brand to a more pres­tige player.

“The all-new Tucson has a bold and ath­letic pres­ence achieved through re­fined, flow­ing sur­faces, bold pro­por­tions, sharp lines and, most im­por­tantly, our new­est gen­er­a­tion hexag­o­nal grille — our brand sig­na­ture,” Schreyer says.

The in­side has been up­graded with soft-touch plas­tics through­out the cabin and the op­tion of “wine red” leather up­hol­stery.

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