Tuc­son tweaked

The Advertiser - Motoring - - COVER STORY - CRAIG DUFF

AN en­gi­neer­ing up­date to fix an em­bar­rass­ing four-star crasht­est re­sult for Hyundai’s Tuc­son SUV has been rushed into pro­duc­tion.

The changes to the driver’s footwell — and a retest — have given the car an amended fives­tar re­sult, which means buy­ers will need to check the build date to con­firm they’re get­ting the top-rated car.

Hyundai Aus­tralia spokesman Bill Thomas says the un­ex­pected four-star re­sult gal­vanised the com­pany, which prides it­self on hav­ing a fives­tar pas­sen­ger car range, into ac­tion.

“We had en­gi­neers on the ground two days af­ter ANCAP re­leased the car to us. The re­design was in pro­duc­tion by mid-Novem­ber, which was a month be­fore the ANCAP retest took place,” Thomas says.

“The en­gi­neers made mi­nor de­sign mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the driver’s footwell area to im­prove the way it per­forms in the crash test, as well as a small change to the brake pedal mount to con­trol its move­ment.”

The up­dates ap­ply to Ac­tive, Elite and High­lander vari­ants of the Tuc­son built from De­cem­ber 16 and Ac­tiveX ver­sions built from Novem­ber 17. The Ac­tiveX is pro­duced in South Korea; the other ve­hi­cles are made in the Czech Re­pub­lic.

ANCAP chief ex­ec­u­tive James Good­win has lauded Hyundai for its quick re­sponse to the “dis­ap­point­ing and un­ex­pected” four-star rat­ing.

“This is a pos­i­tive ex­am­ple of the im­por­tance of lo­cal, in­de­pen­dent test­ing and ANCAP work­ing proac­tively with ve­hi­cle brands to en­sure we have the safest ve­hi­cles on the Aus­tralasian mar­ket,” Good­win says.

The four-star Tuc­son re­sult is the se­cond shock for the Hyundai/Kia group in the past 12 months in Aus­tralia.

The Kia Car­ni­val peo­ple­mover was af­flicted with sim­i­lar footwell and pedal move­ment is­sues when it was tested last year and sim­i­larly earned only a four-star rat­ing.

The fo­cus will now turn to the Kia Sportage SUV, which is ex­pected to be crash-tested in the next month or two.

The Sportage shares its chas­sis with the Tuc­son and could po­ten­tially suf­fer from a sim­i­lar is­sue. Kia Aus­tralia won’t of­fi­cially com­ment be­fore the car hits the ANCAP bar­ri­ers.

A four-star re­sult for the Sportage would sug­gest a flaw in par­ent com­pany Hyundai’s left to right-hand-drive con­ver­sion process.

ANCAP first tested the Tuc­son in Septem­ber and found struc­tural fail­ure in the footwell led to ex­ces­sive move­ment of the brake pedal dur­ing the frontal off­set crash test. That re­sulted in marginal lower leg pro­tec­tion for the driver. The in­tru­sion was so ex­treme the ve­hi­cle only man­aged 0.41 out of a pos­si­ble four points for lower leg pro­tec­tion, low­er­ing its over­all off­set crash score to 11.46 out of a pos­si­ble 16 points, well below the 12.5 points ANCAP re­quires for a five-star rat­ing.

Test­ing of the re­vised model was per­formed in early De­cem­ber. The ve­hi­cle then scored 2.8 points for lower leg pro­tec­tion, which ANCAP rates as “good” and el­e­vated the over­all off­set crash test score to 14.53/16.

Ki­iaa Spor­rt­taage

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.