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Hyundai Tucson 2.0CRDi Elite

The Korean manufacturer, Hyundai, launched its latest Tucson, seemingly designed as a mini Santa Fe, to South Africa’s shores in the second quarter of 2016 – the successor to the ix35, and re-adopted the Tucson name that was used until 2009. By the end of 2016, the manufacturer added two new diesel derivatives to the line-up, of which Driven tested the 2.0CRDi Elite, topping the range at the robust price tag of R539,900.

The Tucson range is known for being a spacious and affordable option with an excellent standard equipment offer. The Elite adds a level of “glamour” to the equation, from the design (including Hyundai’s newest signature generation hexagonal grille) to the tech-laden interior.

The Tucson Elite is equipped with a full range of standard features and is priced broadly in line with its biggest rival, the Nissan Qashqai. It is predicted to hold its value similarly well – partly owing to its substantial warranty and reasonable running costs.

COMFORT INTERIOR

Inside the cabin, the dual-tone interior is what strikes the driver at first (which can be good or bad depending on the driver’s taste). The Tucson sports an 8″ colour touchscreen in the centre console, which offers easy connectivity between smartphones and the vehicle, and includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The comfortable front seats feature electric power adjustment for the driver and front passenger and two-way electric powered lumbar support for the driver’s seat. The front of the interior also offers plenty of room, so even taller occupants should not feel claustrophobic, and there is loads of leg- and headroom.

Very noticeable, especially as you pack for a weekend away, is the 488 litres of storage space, which trounces its main competitor. Numerous storage binnacles – including a large cubbyhole in front of the gear lever, and two cup holders – mean that there is plenty of space for storing loose objects such as house keys and cell phones.

SAFELY DOES IT

Hyundai’s safety credentials have notably improved in the past decade, and that is visible with the Tucson. The compact SUV boasts six airbags, ABS with EBD, traction control, and hill hold, as well as hill descent control. The body structure is manufactured with 51% of high strength steel, which not only improves crash-worthiness, but also offers improved resistance to rust and wear.

Parking situations are made easy with the reverse parking sensors and camera, which sends the visual feed to the central screen. Also using radar technology, the Blind Spot Detector (BSD) with Lane Change Assist monitors the rear corners and, if another vehicle is detected, a visual alert appears on the exterior mirrors while an audible signal sounds when the indicators are activated.

POWERFUL CRUISER

The 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine is quite free-revving and offers a generous amount of power at 131 kW, with 400 Nm torque between 1,750 and 2,750 r/min. The six-speed automatic transmission transfers power to the front wheels.

The Tucson’s ride quality is comfortable and plush, and the car performs especially well on the handling front, as the vehicle effortlessly takes on corners, crests and dips on the open road, thanks to its relatively firm suspension. The engine is also equipped with a turbocharger that enables it to deal particularly well with the oxygen-starved Highveld, and other high-lying and mountainous areas in South Africa.

The vehicle cruised comfortably on the open road, and the available torque at low engine speeds made for easy overtaking.

Overall, the Tucson’s steering is light enough for painless parking, yet it weights up enough on the open road to prevent the car from feeling unstable. The car does offer fair acceleration in the low- and mid-range, but feels strained closer to the top of the rev range. Keeping revs under 4,000 r/min is the sweet spot in terms of engine smoothness.

Last Word

The Tucson bridges the gap between Hyundai’s new-to-SA Creta, and their large SUV, the Santa Fe – offering a decent blend of comfort and space, matched with fair driving dynamics and up-to-date interior tech. As the range topper is packed with features, but buyers could also consider the 1.7CRDi Executive as an alternative. Although the latter loses some features – such as navigation, sunroof, and park-distance control, the R90,000 cheaper price tag will suit a broader range of buyers.

Report by MONIQUE VANDERLINDEN | Images © QUICKPIC

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