DRIVEN: Bold new Hyundai Tucson 2.0 diesel is one impressive SUV

Published Mar 24, 2022


Launch Review: 2022 Hyundai Tucson, by Justin Jacobs

Johannesburg: The medium-sized SUV segment is hot property, not just in South Africa but on a global scale. Manufactures are constantly introducing new and updated models in order to remain relevant within the segment.

Hyundai entered the market with the Tucson a few years ago and has, over the years, established itself as a popular option. The latest, fourth-generation model was recently introduced into the market. I got behind the wheel to see what it’s like.

Hyundai has been playing it safe with its designs in recent years. Trying to compete with the Germans has meant that subtle design was key, in order not to alarm customers.

That said, a few of the new offerings seem to be a little more daring in their visual appeal. Models like the Creta, Santa Fe and Palisade as well as the i20 all feature eye-catching, angular and bold designs. The latest Tucson is no different and clearly indicates a new, more unconventional design philosophy.

A key design element is undoubtedly the new cascading grille which has integrated LEDs that make a statement. We also like the rest of the front view of the car with its sporty bumper.

The side view is interesting as it employs “Z”-shaped character lines. The silver design element that runs across the top of the side windows into the rear is a neat feature. The rear is equally as topical with unique tail lights and the large Hyundai bandage integrated into the rear window.

This new Tucson is also larger than the model it replaces because it is based on a shorter version of the Santa Fe platform. The newcomer is 150mm longer and its wheelbase has increased by 85mm when compared to the previous model. The latest model also boasts an increased ground clearance of 9mm. The load-bay capacity has also been increased, by an impressive 51 litres, now at 539 litres.

Above offering additional luggage space, the Tucson also has better rear legroom, which makes it more practical in every measurable way than the model it replaces.

The interior fit and finish is also noteworthy, as it looks clutter-free. A two-tier design adds a futuristic element to the interior, which I really like.

In terms of connectivity, I was happy to find that a wireless charger fitted, along with an 8-inch infotainment system. Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility is also included on the standard features list, as are heated front seats and even cooled functionality on the Elite version that I sampled. Two USB ports are available upfront, with charging ports provided for rear passengers.

Hyundai South Africa is offering just two engine options –a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel.

The 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine develops 115kW and 192Nm of torque. I did not get the opportunity to sample this model at the launch. Instead, Hyundai made available the 2.0-litre turbo diesel and, to be honest, this is the one you really want. It develops 137kW and 419Nm of torque. It also boasts an average fuel-consumption figure of around 7.9l/100km, which is realistically achievable and even improved. Further ease is provided by a smooth shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Out on the road, the Tucson returned a comfortable driving experience, even on some rutted gravel roads. It’s a car that I could easily take on the long road. Additionally, stability control is now available across the range, while the top-spec Elite version includes new features such as blind-spot collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, main-beam assist and forward-collision avoidance assist.

While the segment might be overly cluttered, the Hyundai Tucson adds some clarity. It offers decent standard spec, it's vastly improved when compared to its predecessor and the diesel is a peach to drive.

That said, the introduction of some impressive Chinese offerings is going to make things a bit difficult for Hyundai and its competitors. For example, the new Tucson is more than R100 000 more expensive than the recently introduced Chery Tiggo 8 Pro, which offers two more seats. Nevertheless, the Tucson should be on your list when shopping in this segment.

Hyundai Tucson Pricing (March 2022)

Tucson 2.0 petrol Premium – R519 900

Tucson 2.0 petrol Executive – R569 900

Tucson 2.0 petrol Elite – R634 900

Tucson 2.0 diesel Elite – R699 900

All new Hyundai Tucsons are sold with a 7-year/200 000km manufacturer’s warranty, a 6-year/90 000km service plan and roadside assistance for 7 years or 150 000km.

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