Tuc­son in bid for SUV dom­i­nance

Pilbara News - - Motoring - Derek Og­den

As things go, it is likely SUVs could be­come the big­gest sell­ing seg­ment in the pas­sen­ger car mar­ket some time dur­ing 2016.

The charge has been led by small and medium SUVs.

The lat­ter seg­ment has just been boosted by the ad­di­tion of the Hyundai Tuc­son, a reworking of the pop­u­lar Hyundai ix35, mov­ing it up into the larger group.

The four-tier Tuc­son range of­fers front-wheel-drive or all-wheeldrive, four en­gines and three trans­mis­sions.

I had a taste of the Ac­tiveX twowheel-drive variant, which comes to mar­ket at $32,990, plus on-road costs.

In de­sign terms, the Tuc­son is the poster boy for Hyundai, set­ting the de­sign trend taken up by its big brother, the Santa Fe Se­ries II, the top-sell­ing i30, Sonata sedans and the up­mar­ket lux­ury Gen­e­sis.

Day­time run­ning lights and foglamps are set in sep­a­rate an­gu­lar bumper-height re­cesses.

Side body lines sweep up­ward and asym­met­ri­cal wheel arches wrap new-de­sign 17, 18 or 19-inch al­loy wheels.

The rear de­sign is sim­ple, with hor­i­zon­tal lines flow­ing from bold rear wheel arches and ac­cen­tu­ated by slim com­bi­na­tion tail-lights.

Slim re­flec­tors are in­te­grated into the rear bumper. Longer, taller and with wider track than the ix35 it re­places, the Hyundai Tuc­son weighs in with a bolder stance, more front and rear leg and hip room, and more cargo space (488 litres) with the rear seats in place.

The mod­ern dash­board has a seven-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen.

In a first for Hyundai, the Tuc­son Ac­tiveX fea­tures Ap­ple CarPlay, with An­droid Auto to fol­low early next year. Hyundai’s 2.0-litre di­rect-injection four-cylin­der petrol en­gine is avail­able ex­clu­sively in the 2WD Tuc­son Ac­tiveX, com­bined with Hyundai’s ad­vanced six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

A more rigid body than the ix35 and im­proved struc­tures to ab­sorb crash forces are key fac­tors in a high level of pas­sive safety.

This is com­ple­mented by six airbags. Ac­tive safety fea­tures in­clude Hyundai’s Elec­tronic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol sys­tem, re­vers­ing cam­era with dy­namic steer­ing guide­lines, four-sen­sor rear park­ing as­sist, au­to­matic dusk-sens­ing headlights and LED high-mount stop light and day­time run­ning lights.

The Tuc­son’s brakes have also been im­proved.

The en­gine/trans­mis­sion pack­age is ef­fi­cient, quiet and friendly, lead­ing to stress-free mo­tor­ing, al­though with­out all-wheel drive, there is a hint of un­der­steer.

We recorded fuel con­sump­tion of 7.9L/100km dur­ing a mix­ture of town and coun­try driv­ing.

Im­proved iso­la­tion of key com­po­nents and in­creased use of sound-dead­en­ing ma­te­ri­als have re­duced cabin noise. Good steer­ing re­sponse comes from the Tuc­son’s elec­tric power steer­ing us­ing the lat­est Logic com­puter pro­cess­ing.

The new Tuc­son adopts Hyundai’s lat­est Drive Mode Se­lect sys­tem, as used in the new Sonata and Gen­e­sis.

Ac­tiveX fea­tures two set­tings, each ad­just­ing trans­mis­sion pro­gram­ming, throt­tle map­ping and steer­ing ef­fort.

In Eco, throt­tle ef­fort is in­creased and, to help con­serve fuel, the trans­mis­sion shifts up at lower revs.

As with all Aus­tralian Hyundai cars and SUVs, the Tuc­son’s sus­pen­sion was ex­haus­tively tested in lo­cal con­di­tions and tuned for Aus­tralian roads by the com­pany’s lo­cal chas­sis de­vel­op­ment team.

Set­ting aside the fact the Hyundai Tuc­son Ac­tiveX makes do with front-wheel-drive as op­posed to all­wheel power dis­tri­bu­tion, it is wor­thy of its medium-size SUV upgrade through space, qual­ity and range of spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

A bonus is the at­trac­tive pur­chase price and Hyundai’s fiveyear, un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre war­ranty and Hyundai iCare.

Pic­tures: Mark Bram­ley

The new Tuc­son is longer, taller and with wider track than the ix35 it re­places.

Hor­i­zon­tal lines flow from bold rear wheel arches and are ac­cen­tu­ated by slim com­bi­na­tion tail-lights.

Pic­ture: info@ton­ic­films.tv

The cabin space is wor­thy of medium SUV sta­tus.

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