About the only thing I got from a brief military stint in the navy as a young lad was an enduring appreciation of neatness or having things, as they say in the lingo, ‘squared away’.
So, settling into the driver’s seat of the new Hyundai Tucson it is hard not to notice the infotainment screen has been neatly integrated into the cumulative dashboard and console design, rather than standing tall above the line of the dash looking like an afterthought bolt-on.
While not a major issue in the grand scheme of things automotive and quite common on several far more expensive automobiles, it is, nevertheless, an affront to the aforementioned desire for neatness.
The way in which the dashboard and console design harmonise together with the instrument binnacle also provides a true cockpit feeling for the driver – a sort of realistic command post from whence to direct operations.
The features, fittings and fettling of this new, larger Tucson were all detailed in the launch story, so this review will concentrate on driving the car.
The turbodiesel offers 137 kW peak power at 4 000 r/min and 416 Nm maximum torque between 2 000 r/min and 2 750 r/min and Hyundai claims fuel consumption of 7,9 l/100 km for the diesel in the combined cycle.
Real-world driving on and off the highway gave me an average of 8,4 l/100 km – still, not too shabby for a car with a gross mass of 2 220 kilograms.
In terms of both power and torque it outstrips rivals such as the Toyota RAV 4 2.0 VX, Nissan X-Trail 2.5 4x4 Tekna and Honda CR-V 2.0 Elegance and this, in the great scheme of things, adds immeasurably to the overall driveability of the Tucson.
More importantly, it is not power and torque just for the sake of it and these are transferred to the road via an 8-speed automatic transmission where the spread of ratios works well to provide the right kind of progression up – or down – the box, whether in Eco, Smart, Normal or Sport modes.
I rather liked the Smart mode that responds to throttle input to select the correct drive for the moment – i.e., under heavy overtaking acceleration it will switch to Sport and then drop back to Normal as the throttle pressure eases off.
Hyundai is very particular about its ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ policy so this Elite, the top of the range, is naturally gifted with plenty of tech-spec. Importantly, there are no options as with some other automakers where all the good stuff comes as optional extras and at a hefty price.
On paper then, Hyundai looks more expensive than some of its direct rivals but when the optional spec is added to those, the picture changes in favour of the Korean automaker.
Riding on 235/55 R19 tyres (and with a full-size spare), the 4 630 mm long vehicle has a ground clearance of 181 mm, a turning circle of 11,8 m, an approach angle of 18,3 degrees, breakover angle of 17,3 degrees and departure angle of 25,6 degrees.
With a load capacity that varies from 539 litres to 1 860 litres, the Tucson is built to travel and not only on perfectly paved roads.
While donga-diving is not an option, the Tucson handles off the beaten track dirt roads with ease, maintaining its poise even on quite rutted surfaces, the MacPherson strut-type front suspension and multi-link, both with gas shocks, working well to keep it from misbehaving or tossing passengers like popcorn in a bag.
Put through more strenuous testing, there is some body roll under hard cornering along with a tendency to understeer. However, neither are horribly bad or uncontrollable.
Given the open road in cruise mode, the Tucson is light and easy and, with the Elite fitted with autonomous braking, just that bit safer in case something (or someone) untoward happens in front of the car.
All new Hyundai Tucsons are sold with a 7-year/200 000 km manufacturer’s warranty, a 6-year/90 000 km service plan and roadside assistance for 7 years or 150 000 km.
|Engine ||2l inline 4-cylinder, turbodiesel|
|Gearbox ||8-speed automatic|
|Driven Wheels ||Front|
|0-100kph ||9,2 seconds|
|Top Speed ||201kph|
|Average Fuel Consumption ||8,4 l/100 km|
|CO2 Emissions ||169 g/km|