With a sharp rise in demand for do-it-all vehicles, crossovers in the recent times have changed the face of automotive world, which was earlier dominated by car types like sedans and hatches. Crossovers have recently seen a steep rise and suddenly has been everyone’s pick. Filipinos too have shown a keen interest towards compact crossovers probably for the fact that they offer good, enhanced ride height, SUV like feel, bubbled up cabin space, all at a cost, which is way too lower than a full-size SUV. Mid-size compact crossovers have drafted in big time into the automotive arena enabling consumers to enjoy a ride they have dreamt of years ago. One such model that adds sparkle to this particular segment is the car from the fleet of South Korean manufacturer, Hyundai Tucson. Sporty and fashionable looks, expressive character and well-laid up cabin are few aspects you get from this suave crossover. Since its release six years ago, it has certainly racked up the Hyundai’s fortune contributing to the company's sales immensely, thanks to its charming character, practical styling and engine options that made this shift happen. Now, with all-new Tucson, the brand is yet again confident to turn the game in its favour by outclassing the other prominent players currently doing good in the market. Offered in both diesel and petrol engines, it allows consumers to choose according to their requirements, needs and utility.
To find out if it really has that extra punch to offer hard time to the leading players, we tried our hands on the GLS version of the all-new Tucson whose extensive review goes as follows.
It was then finally time to discover the third generation Tucson under my nose. On one fine day with sun shining at its peak, I with my partner were designated to have a go at the new Tucson which was in talks for quite some reasons. Just when we waited along the pavement for our drive to arrive, my partner asked me to guess the color of the test mule, which would be offered to us. I said it would be sparkling blue, which was also used by the brand in their advertising campaigns too and guess what, I was damn right. It was indeed a blue Tucson which company offered us to take on a drive. At the first glance, it looked sporty, powerful and athletic. With zero doubts, designers have put in optimum efforts to make it look gross, athletic and modern while maintaining its elegant character intact too.
Upfront, it got the looks of an aggressive lion that looked ready to roar while to relax that furism there were swept-back projector headlamps placed to perfection. The chrome radiator grille at the front was the major highlight of the front while the new bumper design that housed a pair of new fog lamps in a unique fashion too. Bisected design of the fog lamps looked ravishing while the dual tone plastic cladding lower down the bumper was also adding to its front persona. The spectacular character of the front was carried over to the side as well. The chrome strip that ran along the window panes till the end was just perfect to add icing on the cake. Further adding glamour to it were the prominent black wheel arches housing 17-inch alloy wheels, sharp character lines along the length of the car and the waistline moulding fixed at lower down the doors. The body colored ORVMs were electronically adjustable and also had turn indicators allowing surrounding vehicles to know which way is safer for them.
Granting a perfect ending to the crossover were the wrap-around tail lights that were a part of the bulged and bulky tailgate. It also had a roof-mounted spoiler with high stop lamp and a rear wiper with washer ensuring the rear glass is crystal clear even in the case of inclement weather.
Overall, it adorns the character that can impress anyone on this planet irrespective of his taste, age, purpose and class.
Moving inside the car was another pleasant experience you could experience. All black interiors were on offer with black leather wrapped seats and dash covered in black too. Sitting behind the wheel was a happy moment as the steering wheel looked fully functional with controls mounted on the same and due to its crafted structure it was easy to grab and hold from the word go. Boundaries of the air vents as well as door handles were garnished with the silver accents. The wavy feel over the dash gave an exclusive look to the dashboard. Centre console looked compact and packed within boundaries of air vents on either of its sides. Seats were comfortable too with adequate amount of cushioning, plush feel and lumbar support. We took to areas beyond the city boundaries and they were pretty comfortable during the drive as brand has put in special efforts to give it a sense of comfort and luxury. Driver’s seat was present with 10-way adjustment while the passenger had an option to adjust his seat in eight crucial ways. The plastic quality was up to date while the cabin looked pretty clean and clutter-free at a first glance. If you wish to drive it all your life then it won't disappoint you especially on the quality front. Plastics were hard enough to last long and leather used in wrapping the seats up looked durable as well. The only thing which could hinder you on a long run would be its monotonous and boring styling. Nothing gross was witnessed inside the cabin while it could serve as a good option if you are great admirer of evergreen styling.
Talking about the entertainment front, it had a good 4.2-inch TFT display on its top end diesel variant where we got lucky to have it as our test mule. It had a double-DIN head unit with connectivities for several utilities like USB, AUX and Bluetooth. The sound output was taken care of by the inbuilt six speakers, whose output was indeed a worth to hear. However, there wasn’t a flaunting touchscreen display with navigation system for the cause and the buyers have to compromise on this front. It also featured a panoramic roof, reverse camera and electric parking brake for better safety and control while these features can only be seen on its top end diesel variant.
On the practicality front, Tucson steals the cake and whichever variant you opt, you won’t be disappointed even by an inch. There were quite a few compartments throughout the cabin to help the cause. To start off, there was a deep glovebox, separated storage places near the gear knob, door pockets both at the front and rear, plus there were large spaces lower on the doors to store more. Major highlight in the storage department was the 513 litres of cargo space, which is the max limit. Rear seats were flexible enough to fold down in 60:40 split configuration. A wide rear opening allowed large surfaced bags to enter in with ease. The tailgate was smart enough to respond to a button order. With an opening of 1094 mm, it was pretty easy to load in luggage.
Finally, the section most of you would be waiting for; following would be the questions curling up in your minds. How’s the performance? Does it serve the off-roading purpose? How well does it ride on city’s congested streets? And lot more. Here are the answers for all your queries. Starting off, the new Tucson features a R 2.0-litre CRDi engine under the hood that’s good enough for 185 PS at 4000 rpm along with 402 Nm of peak torque. FYI, the petrol version of Tucson comes with a Nu 2.0 MPI engine that can produce a max power of 155 PS at 6200 rpm and a peak torque of 192 Nm. We got a chance to drive the diesel variant, which started off pretty smoothly and driving it over plain stretches of high speed roads was certainly one heck of an experience. It was simply awesome to sit behind the wheel of diesel Tucson. After a lag of split second, the real torque surge comes in, which was indeed an incredible thing to experience. The transmission was smooth, quick and easy. Even at lightning speeds, the shifting wasn’t a concern but for me downshifts weren’t as quick as upshifts. Still, it was good enough to respond to my orders. Electronic stability control system fitted inside the car ruled out the possibility of wheel spin on plain stretch of roads.
It also offered three different driving modes namely Eco, Sport and Normal, which can simply be changed via button near the gear shifter. We tried each one of it to find out the difference and here’s what it had. In Eco mode, the car looked a bit dull with low throttle response and made me think whenever I was about to overtake the vehicle forward. Although, changing the modes helped me a little and in Normal mode it was a tad better but not so promising either. Finally then we chose to drive the new Tucson in Sport mode and you won't believe it was just fantastic. The car picked up so nicely that I was awestruck by Hyundai’s dynamics. Quick throttle response, easy overtaking and quirky bump in the acceleration were some of the changes in the characteristics of the car in Sport mode. If you are an auto freak I bet you won’t drive this hunk in modes other than the Sport for even once. The brand had done their part to prevent outside noise coming in the cabin and certainly they have been spot on. The drive was quiet throughout however, you expect something to enter in if you are behind the wheel of a diesel powerhouse but NVH levels have been nicely optimised by Hyundai to provide quiet and relaxed drive. Steering and handling were also up to date and we didn’t feel the car out of control even once. Winding roads, drive on the outskirts of city didn’t hinder the pleasure and drive looked pretty stable, which also indicated to the refinement Hyundai has put in this crossover.
As far as suspension system is concerned, it was good enough to bump off the holes and rough patches along the way. The configuration had a MacPherson strut layout at front while multi-links at the rear. The uneven terrains were quietly passed over while the bumps on the way were dismissed to perfection.
City driving was facile too. With a turning radius of just 5.3 metres, it was easy to maneuver through city’s crowded streets and allied to auto transmission system the drive becomes even more relaxed and stress-free. The placement of ORVMs were just perfect to make you aware of the traffic at the rear while the wide windscreen was good enough to aid you in taking control of the vehicles ahead, so visibility wasn’t a concern either. No major blind spots were detected and it turned out to be a cheerful drive for me in city as well. In terms of fuel economy, the 2WD diesel variant recorded a figure between the range of 12 and 13 Km/l at an average speed of 50 Km/h, which was another highlighting factor if you wish to own this vehicle in near future.
Lastly, the aspects we didn’t wish to test were its safety equipment and as the brand says that it comes loaded with features like ABS with EBD, six airbags, electronic stability control system, blind spot detection system and more that are potent to grant you a sense of safety as soon as you are ready to cruise inside this crossover.
In the Philippines, it is up for grab in the following variants:
Hyundai Tucson looked a complete package to me as far as aspects like refinement, NVH levels, off-roading capabilities, fuel economy and styling are concerned. It certainly has the potential to upstage the rivalry and stand tall ahead of present competitors. SUV-like looks, easy city driving and a beast on high speed roads, Tucson is good to grab at a competitive price tag it presently clasps.