Tucson rides back into town
Hyundai’s hero SUV drops the numbers and has a name to uphold
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.