The Hyundai Tuc­son, which is al­ready a good seller, has added a new Sport pack­age, and this, says Charles Thomp­son, makes this util­ity ve­hi­cle pure fun.

Go! Camp & Drive - - Contents -

The words “body kit” con­jures images of old BMWs and Subarus with Tup­per­ware for wings and plas­tic bumpers that look like ploughshares. But if a man­u­fac­turer it­self launches a Sport pack­age for one of its mod­els, it can be a stylish af­fair. And that’s the case with the new Hyundai Tuc­son Sport.

The ex­te­rior

The Tuc­son Sport is a com­bined project be­tween Hyundai South Africa and South Korea. The bumpers are im­ported from Asia, while the new wheels are de­signed in con­junc­tion with Tiger Wheel & Tyre lo­cally. With its low bumpers, pitch black 19-inch al­loy wheels, and four ex­hausts, the new Sport looks a whole lot more ag­gres­sive than the stylish stan­dard model. The bumpers are mostly the same colour as the rest of the ve­hi­cle, with chrome and black in­sets in front, at the back and un­der­neath the doors. While the stan­dard Tuc­son’s styling is aimed more at peo­ple look­ing for a neat fam­ily ve­hi­cle, the Sport is a built-up whopper that looks like the type to stop next to you in traf­fic, keen to dice.

The in­te­rior

The Sport pack­age is avail­able in the 1.6 GDI Ex­ec­u­tive model, which lies in the mid­dle of the range. Like with all of Hyundai’s ve­hi­cles, the Ex­ec­u­tive is packed with stan­dard lux­u­ries such as leather seats, au­to­matic air con, a rear-view cam­era, and cruise con­trol. You also don’t pay ex­tra for a touch-screen ra­dio with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, a USB plug, and Blue­tooth. The Sport model doesn’t come with any in­te­rior changes like sports seats, badges, or ped­als, but the in­side is of the same high qual­ity and neat de­sign that you’ve come to ex­pect from Hyundai prod­ucts.

Be­hind the wheel

The turbo-pow­ered 1.6 GDI en­gine is also stan­dard and de­vel­ops the same 150 kW and 295 Nm torque as the Ex­ec­u­tive model. The Tuc­son Sport’s ex­haust sys­tem is, how­ever, mod­i­fied to make space for four im­pres­sive ex­hausts. (But there is still space for a tow bar.) The pipes growl like an an­gry dog when you start the ve­hi­cle and bark read­ily when you put your foot down on the ac­cel­er­a­tor.

You don’t re­ally drive faster in the Sport, but ev­ery gear change and ve­hi­cle over­tak­ing is more en­joy­able than in the stan­dard model. The 19-inch tyres do make the drive harder as in a sim­i­lar model with 18-inch tyres, but it’s still com­fort­able and there isn’t a marked in­crease in road noise in the cabin. We es­pe­cially like the con­stant deep-throat groan that the ex­haust sys­tem makes when you’re speed­ing along. It’s not that over­pow­er­ing that it will an­noy you over long dis­tances – rather it’s just enough to un­der­score the en­joy­able drive in the Hyundai.


At half a mil­lion rand the Tuc­son Sport is more ex­pen­sive than com­peti­tors like Volk­swa­gen’s Tiguan and Mazda’s CX-5. It is, how­ever, to be ex­pected for a sport model that – al­though not a proper lim­ited edi­tion – is still a fairly unique ver­sion of this util­ity ve­hi­cle. And, the Tuc­son Sport wasn’t built to com­pete di­rectly with other man­u­fac­tur­ers’ stan­dard mod­els. This is a unique prod­uct. The styling might not be sub­tle enough to draw the masses but the Tuc­son Sport, with its cheeky at­ti­tude and loud­mouth ex­haust sys­tem, is a pure joy to drive. And with the sporty ap­pear­ance and sound, you still get Hyundai’s su­perb spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els and class-lead­ing seven-year war­ranty.


Hyundai Tuc­son Sport R499 900

STYLISH SPORT STAR (clockwise from top). Its body kit makes the Tuc­son Sport look a lot more ag­gres­sive than the rest of the fam­ily, with black 19-inch rims round­ing off the look nicely. The in­te­rior re­mains the same as the stan­dard model, with lots of lux­u­ries in­cluded in the price, like leather seats and a USB socket. The Sport pack­age is avail­able on the 1.6 GDI Ex­ec­u­tive model, a turbo-charged diesel that de­liv­ers 150 kW and 295 Nm of torque. You’re a lot more aware of the en­gine in the cabin, how­ever, thanks to a mod­i­fied ex­haust sys­tem that de­liv­ers a lekker bark when you punch the ac­cel­er­a­tor.

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