Beneath the Shine: 2016 Hyundai Tucson powertrain
HYUNDAI’S new 2016 Tucson compact crossover features two engine choices and a firstin-segment seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Aimed at offering top efficiency, the Tuscon engines come in 2.0 litre and 1.6 litre turbo versions. The 2.0 litre engine is the base engine and is part of the Nu engine family. We may be familiar with engine family names such as Small Block Chevy, Hemi, or Big Block Ford to designate a type of engine available in a variety of displacements. Hyundai also has many engine families and Nu is one of them. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine features direct fuel-injection to produce 164 horsepower and is coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and a lock-up converter for improved fuel economy at highway speeds. To keep everything smooth and quiet, hydraulic transmission mounts have liquid-filled chambers to damp vibration and the engine mounts have been re-calibrated to further enhance this.
New for 2016 in the Tucson is the 1.6-litre turbo engine, part of the Gamma engine family. The Gamma engine was introduced in the 2011 Accent. The new 2016 Tucson includes a turbo to the engine for even greater performance. Horsepower is rated at 175 but it is the 195 pound-feet of torque at only 1,500 r.p.m. that makes this engine perform. The directinjected 1.6 litre engine’s turbocharger has low-inertia turbo spooling response, which means the turbocharger can quickly increase its speed to provide boost pressure rapidly. This is coupled with an electronically controlled wastegate for precise control of intake manifold pressures.
Turbocharging increases the efficiency of the engine by pushing more air into the cylinders. Add more fuel to that air and you have more power. However, if you were driving under boost all the time, fuel economy would suffer, so gasoline turbocharged engines operate with minimal or no boost during normal driving and increase the boost pressure when power is needed such as acceleration from a stop or passing another vehicle. The 2016 Tucson does exhibit a small amount of turbo lag, which means there is sometimes a slight delay in acceleration until the turbocharger can provide boost, but this is minimal and only happens during slow speed cruising if you suddenly demand maximum acceleration. During most driving you would not notice any turbo lag.
Other features of the 1.6-litre engine include piston-cooling oil spray jets and a new water jacket insert that directs more coolant to the upper level of the cylinder block. This lowers cylinder head temperature, which in turn allows the programmers to build in leaner air/fuel ratio programming into the engine computer for better fuel economy.
The 1.6-litre Turbo Gamma engine is also coupled with a segment-first seven-speed dual clutch transmission. For those not familiar with dual clutch transmissions, the gearbox is a manual transmission that is shifted automatically using computer controls. Two clutches couple the engine to the transmission, with one clutch driving the odd number gears while the other clutch drives the even num- ber gears. During operation, when driving in first gear, the computer preselects second gear internally in the transmission and when the shift is desired, it will release the first gear clutch and apply the second gear clutch. The process continues as the transmission shifts through the other gears, alternating the apply of the required clutch. In higher gears, the computer will decide what gear to pre-select using the engine and vehicle inputs to determine driving style — so it decides if you want to upshift or downshift.
With no clutch pedal to worry about and the fuel economy of a manual transmission, the dual clutch transmission works very well. As a driver, you may notice the tachom- eter needle jumps from one r.p.m. to another during a shift rather than a smoother transition found with conventional automatic transmissions, but the shift still feels very smooth to the passengers. The most noticeable difference with dual clutch transmissions is when pulling away from a stop and coming to a stop. Sometimes a little firmness in the operation can be felt inside the vehicle and the Tucson transmission is no different. It seems to be more noticeable when coasting slowly to a stop; when the clutch suddenly disengages it reminds me more of the feel of driving a manual transmission — without the hassle of a clutch pedal.
For 2016 Hyundai Tuscon engines come in 2.0-litre and 1.6-litre turbo versions. The 2.0-litre engine
(inset) is the base engine and is part of the Nu engine family.