Fountain Valley, California - Hyundai and off-road specialist Rockstar Performance Garage have teamed up to build a one-off show car for the 2015 SEMA aftermarket expo in Las Vegas.
As Rockstar head honcho explained Nic Ashby explained: "The idea was to build an off-roader that nobody expected."
The standard Tucson, after all, is really a mild-mannered crossover, more of a Mom's Taxi than a hardcore rock-hopper. Nevertheless, as Ashby pointed out, it has a rigid frame and plenty of space in the engine bay for modifications.
But the most important part of any serious off-roader is the suspension, so Ashby lifted the Tucson 150mm higher than standard on 63mm diameter fully-adjustable 63mm diameter dampers with remote reservoirs and progressive off-road springs, made specially for this project by King Shocks.
It rolls on KMC 17 inch XD Series "Bully" Off-Road rims shod with massive 32 inch Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 tyres - which necessitated some cutting and trimming around the wheel-arches, neatly capped off with Black Ops body clearance trim.
Then the slide-rule samurai at Mishimoto climbed under the bonnet to give the standard 1.6-litre turbopetrol four some ‘roid ragewith a K&N air-filter and intercooler and a Turbonetics Godzilla wastegate valve, on custom-made stainless-steel intake plumbing.
The wussy stock kezorst was ditched in favour of a 63mm stainless-steel manifold custom-made by Mishimoto, and a Magnaflow tailpipe (we won't insult it by calling it a silencer)
A 19-row Mishimoto oil cooler, an overflow can turned from solid aluminium billet (also by Mishimoto) and an Odyssey dry-cell battery keep things cool and sweet under the bonnet. Mishimoto won't say how much extra grunt they've tweaked out of the Tucson; in time-honoured Rolls-Royce fashion, "adequate" is all they will say.
Inside, there's ear candy in the shape of a Kicker Audio sound system with high-output speakers, and a 10 inch sub-woofer. The tough-guy Tucson is finished in black and yellow, with smoked tail-lights, a custom roof-rack and bumpers by Wicked Image Designs, and an LED light bar from Bulldog.
It'll be formally introduced at Hyundai's SEMA media conference on 3 November in Las Vegas.