Does four-wheel drive en­hance the ap­peal of the range top­ping Hyundai, now that the Santa Fe is out of pro­duc­tion in In­dia

Evo India - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Ro­hit G Mane Sirish Chandran

AS YOU WILL HAVE IN­FERRED from our long term test re­ports, the Tuc­son is one of the more pop­u­lar SUVs in our fleet. It de­serves to sell in stronger num­bers than it cur­rently does and to give it a boost, it now gets the op­tion of all-wheel drive.

As with the reg­u­lar front-wheel drive Tuc­sons, the en­gine makes 185bhp and 400Nm of torque; there is no change in the out­put. But now, thanks to the 4WD, it does a much bet­ter job of putting its power down. Where the steer­ing would squirm and front wheels spin up un­der hard ini­tial ac­cel­er­a­tion on less-than-grippy tar­mac, re­sult­ing in the ESC cut­ting in, the 4WD Tuc­son ac­cel­er­ates with­out any drama. The im­proved trac­tion on the 4WD Tuc­son be­comes even more ap­par­ent on gravel tracks. This is prob­a­bly the one area that we found our long term test Tuc­son lack­ing. On the last climb up to our farm house, the Tuc­son needed a good run up to build mo­men­tum lest it spin the front tyres and send a dust cloud to­wards the house. This 4WD Tuc­son does the climb with­out any drama and that makes it feel more like an SUV.

The 4WD is an on-de­mand sys­tem that is na­tively front-wheel drive and sends drive to the rear wheels only when it de­tects slip; tech­ni­cally it is an all-wheel drive sys­tem. For slip­pery sur­faces it also gets a 4WD lock that splits the power 50-50 front to rear so there’s no de­lay. There is also hill de­scent con­trol if you’re re­ally think­ing of go­ing off-road though truth be told, this is an SUV that works best on the road where the sta­ble han­dling and pol­ished road manners will be ap­pre­ci­ated. Speak­ing of hill de­scent, the lower GL-spec Tuc­sons, in ad­di­tion to Down­hill Brake Con­trol (DBC), now also get Elec­tronic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol (ESC) and Ve­hi­cle Sta­bil­ity Man­age­ment (VSM).

On the road there re­ally isn’t much to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the 4WD Tuc­son from the FWD save the bet­ter trac­tion when ac­cel­er­at­ing with vigour from traf­fic lights or toll booths, espe­cially in Sport mode. What we did no­tice was the brakes now have bet­ter feel and aren’t as spongy on the Tuc­sons we have driven in the past and that is a wel­come im­prove­ment. The han­dling re­mains safe and re­as­sur­ing with good body con­trol, not a great deal of body roll and a life­less steer­ing.

On the styling front there is noth­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the 4WD Tuc­son apart from the badg­ing on the (elec­tri­cally op­er­ated) tail­gate and that, we feel, is a miss. Af­ter all, if you’re pay­ing more for the 4WD vari­ant (`48,000) you want your SUV to scream it. It doesn’t get any ex­tra kit ei­ther, not even a sun­roof which we all ex­pected the range-top­per to get.

At `25.19 lakh ex-show­room the 4WD Tuc­son slots be­tween the Com­pass and Tiguan and is only avail­able in the top-spec GLS trim with the diesel-au­to­matic. It’s a price that knocks on the doors of pre­mium Ger­man brands and that, in the main, is why you don’t see too many Tuc­sons on the road. As for abil­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity the Tuc­son, now with the ad­di­tion of 4WD, is an even bet­ter pack­age and prospective buy­ers would be do­ing them­selves a ma­jor dis­ser­vice if this SUV isn’t at the top of their con­sid­er­a­tion list. ⌧


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