Hyundai Tuc­son 1,6 TGDI Elite 7DCT2

A slight facelift and range reshuf­fle keep the hugely pop­u­lar Tuc­son in easy con­tention

Car (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

JUMP­ING from the Creta into the Tuc­son, it’s soon clear where the money went. Apart from the fact that it is larger, the Tuc­son also feels more up­mar­ket than the Creta. Hard plas­tics make way for soft-touch ma­te­ri­als, while the tur­bopetrol en­gine con­nected to the quick­shift­ing (a pleas­ant sur­prise in man­ual mode) dual-clutch trans­mis­sion feels more modern in its op­er­a­tion than the older, free-breathing unit in the Creta.

On dirt roads, the Tuc­son fur­ther­more ex­hibits bet­ter sound in­su­la­tion and the chas­sis is more com­posed over the rough stuff at speed. While the Tuc­son is a com­fort­able cruiser, its lively 130 kw tur­bocharged mill also pro­vides more than suf­fi­cient punch to over­take safely at mo­tor­way speeds.

The fully in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion at the rear of the Tuc­son is part of the rea­son it feels more “planted” than the Creta (which makes do with a tor­sion-beam ar­range­ment). A spir­ited drive over Fran­schhoek Pass on the re­turn jour­ney shows there’s some driv­ing fun to be had, if you keep in mind the lim­its of an SUV plat­form.

As with the Creta, the changes are mostly cos­metic and in­clude new light clus­ters and bumpers, a new in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the grille, as well as restyled ex­haust out­lets and up­dated wheel de­signs.

In­side, you’ll now find a free­stand­ing in­fo­tain­ment dis­play of the touch­screen va­ri­ety. Still, some buy­ers may find the in­te­rior lay­out a bit busy com­pared with those from op­po­si­tion ve­hi­cles such as the Volk­swa­gen Tiguan.

The range has also been tweaked lo­cally, with the flag­ship 1,6-litre Turbo Elite AWD and 1,7-litre CRDI Ex­ec­u­tive both fall­ing away. This leaves the 2,0-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine, the 2,0-litre tur­bod­iesel and this 1,6-litre tur­bopetrol. All but the base model fea­ture au­to­matic trans­mis­sions (in­ter­est­ingly, the diesel pow­er­plant gains a new eight-speed torque­con­verter gear­box).

If you were a fan of the Sport model (com­plete with its ag­gres­sive styling pack­age, quad pipes and a power up­grade), don’t fret; Hyundai has promised a new kit will be im­ported to fit the facelifted mod­els early in 2019. The firm quickly sold out the pre­vi­ous al­lo­ca­tion of 600 units.

The Tuc­son is a hand­some ve­hi­cle that eas­ily han­dles the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of fam­ily needs. It’s a pity the 1,7-litre tur­bod­iesel pow­er­train is no more but the range now of­fers even more stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion across the board. And don’t for­get that Hyundai in­cludes an im­pres­sive seven-year/200 000 km war­ranty for peace of mind on all its prod­ucts.

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