Motormouth:- Gordon Hall
Sometimes, we just prefer what we know and trust. Take Hyundai’s mid-size SUV for example. In 2010 the company changed the name to iX35 to fit with a new marketing plan. South Africans weren’t ready for what they believed to be a completely new and untried model and held off on buying. Apparently because of that, Hyundai moved only a couple of hundred of them each month last year.
Since re-adopting the Tucson name this past April, the company has delivered 4245 units to hungry buyers and is still averaging around 600 a month; enough to place it at the top of its market segment. It is also a 2017 South African Car of the Year finalist and walked away with Women on Wheels’ top award. And they did this without any diesel versions in the line-up.
Hyundai filled that gap recently by adding two new models; a 1700 cc manual CRDi in Executive spec’ and a two-litre R-type diesel automatic in Elite trim. Both are front-wheel drive only. If there’s sufficient demand, the company will happily add a diesel 4×4, or two, to join the 1.6 TGDi Elite twin-clutch AWD that’s already available.
Apart from revamped front, rear and interior, the 2016 Tucson gained some new equipment: All-leather upholstery with reclining rear seats in mid- and upper models; improved dual arm rear suspension – for greater comfort – on 4x2s, to match that on 4x4s; automatic climate control with extra vents for rear passengers; improved outward visibility; changes to the motorised power steering and upgrades to the optional (at R15 000) multimedia centre.
For younger buyers and anyone with teenagers on board, this is a no-brainer.
Consider the following: eight-inch, high-resolution, capacitive touch screen with wide angle viewing;
3D satnav; USB mirror link to view and control Android ‘phones from the head unit; HDMI connectivity for similar use with iPhones; DVD player; 18 FM and 12 AM radio station presets with an RDS mirror link via USB; Bluetooth hands-free with phone book; music streaming with song title transmission; USB with iPod direct connection and audio control; an auxiliary input and a 4×40-Watt amplifier.
New Tucson boasts more safety kit than the outgoing iX35 had. Improvements include more effective noise reduction; hill start assistance; vehicle stability management, and ESC to add to existing ABS, EBA and EBD. Six airbags and ISOFix anchors are still part of the package that retains its five EuroNCAP stars. The new body is stronger with improved crash force dissipation pathways for greater safety.
Getting back to comfort, the launch team deliberately sent us out onto a 60:40 mix of smooth asphalt and rough dirt roads. They had a point to prove. While most townsfolk cringe at the sight of a bit of gravel and go: “Eee-yew! Four-by-four!” farm people laugh at it while driving their 4×2 cars and pickups along at dust-raising speeds. The idea was that, despite having only two-wheel drive and relatively limited ground clearance (more than RAV4 or Mazda CX-5, but less than Kuga and X-Trail), the new Tucson should be up to the job. It is. The roads were pretty hairy in places but were conquered comfortably.
The two-litre diesel engine is built in Korea to Euro 2 pollution control standards and is intended for worldwide markets; some of which are less sophisticated than our own. Its specifications remain unchanged.
The 1700, on the other hand, comes from the Czech Republic and conforms to Euro 6 standards, up from Euro 5 previously. It has a new turbocharger; a lighter engine block; an improved exhaust gas recirculation system; an oil-cooler bypass valve, so the engine reaches operating temperature more quickly and a new catalyst and Lambda sensors, while diesel injection pressure is increased from 1600- to 2000 bar. This vaporises the fuel more efficiently for better performance and economy.
The only spec’ change you will notice at a quick glance is that maximum torque has increased from 260 Nm to 280. Power remains the same at 85 kW. To get full Euro 6 benefit, use 10 ppm diesel if you can, but 50 ppm is the limit.
Top-of-range Elite derivatives add blind spot detection, lane change assistance, keyless entry with push-button starting, and cross traffic alert. They also qualify to add an optional sunroof should you want one.
Basic prices are:
Tucson 1.7 Ull diesel Executive, manual – R439 900
Tucson 2.0 R-class diesel Elite automatic – R519 900
(Information gathered at a manufacturer-sponsored press launch. Pics by Quickpic)