Hyundai is going from strength to strength in our market(s), and convinces ever more in styling, refinement and technology, and proves to be utterly reliable. The new Tucson with the 1,7 liter 115 HP Diesel engine we tested here, amply proves the point. Just read further...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Hyundai has decidedly come of age in the course of the years, and has grown into a world class manufacturer which brings state of the art, innovative technology. Just think of their fuel-cell powered vehicles, for instance.
But here we met with more sedate, 1,7 liter 4 cylinder Diesel engine, which is only offered in selected (European) markets, mated to the manual 6 speed transmission. It impressed us with its good pulling power, smooth refinement and very reasonable economy. The unit offers indeed very adequate performance with 115 HP being available at 4000 rpm. But it is of course the torque of not less than 280 Nm, available over a wide rev range between 1250 and 2750 rpm, which determines the lively character of this unit.
The 1.7 CRDi is therefore a better performer in everyday driving practice than the bare performance figures would suggest. The manufacturer quotes an acceleration from 0 to 100 in 13.7 seconds, but it is the impressive pulling power in the gears which enlightens the performance picture here. On the motorway, the Tucson holds very well its own, able to maintain easily high (legal) cruising speeds, even under full load. Top speed is quoted to be 176 km/h.
The six speed manual changes precise and slick, and is certainly a pleasure to use. The clutch is also very progressive and smooth, and all this means that the Tucson is a very relaxing car to drive in dense traffic, where the good visibility, the host of driver assistance systems and the high seating position thanks to the SUV lay-out are helping too.
We therefore liked very much to move the Tucson in dense urban traffic conditions. The experience of this manufacturer with multi-million Asian megacities tells of course…
With all this, the Tucson remains quite frugal, and that is the main reason why European buyers prefer the Diesel engine. Our average consumption of 6,2 liters/100 km confirms this, where we must admit that we drove the car with “Zen” like anticipation in city traffic, and used on the open road and even more on fast lanes and motorways the excellent and smooth cruise control wherever possible.
High-level handling and comfort
The new Tucson, a true bestseller in the smaller SUV segment, comes up with very good handling and creature comfort. The redesigned multi-link rear suspension offers a good ride, especially on rough road surfaces.
Up front, the Tucson features an independent strut design with coil springs and gas-pressurized SACHS® shock absorbers.
Steering is reasonably precise and sensitive with Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS), offering a more natural driving feel, as the manufacturer describes it.
The Tucson comes with a host of driving aids and handling enhancing features, like Active Cornering Control All Wheel Drive (AWD).
This feature gives drivers improved traction and greater cornering capability in turns by transferring engine torque to the rear wheels and applying braking force to the inside rear wheel. The result is improved cornering performance and all-weather capability.
For driving off-road and in slippery conditions there’s also a driver-selectable AWD lock which allows for a 50/50 split of available torque between the front and rear wheels… high tech, as we said. The driver has also the choice between “normal” and “sporting” steering modus, as you can see on the photos.
Tucson offers a rearview camera, standard. Available advanced safety features including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Warning.
There is also Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist.
This available radar-based system helps detect when a vehicle is in the driver’s blind spot and provides both an audible and a visual alert to help keep you aware as you move down the road.
When reverse gear is selected, Rear Cross-traffic Alert helps identify and warn the driver of vehicles approaching from the side. Lane Change Assist measures the closing speed of an approaching vehicle in the adjacent lane to determine if changing lanes is safe and if it’s not, gives the driver an audible and visual warning.
Tucson’s standard Hill start Assist Control minimizes backward roll when stopped on steep hills, while the Downhill Brake Control helps you maintain control when you’re slowly descending down a steep hill.
Of course, the Tucson offers an integrated Bluetooth hands-free phone system, a touchscreen navigation system and a premium audio system, with USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Yes, we literally enjoyed the music, and we were delighted to run this time Toots Thielemans through the speakers, in a quite exotic album, full of groovy Brazilian jazz tunes, the “Brazil Project” (2) which put us in the sunny, leisurely mood, to accompany our “Zen” driving behind the wheel of this fine Hyundai. Try it, you will be musically transported… although Melanie De Biasio with her excellent vocals in her album “No Deal” will do too… if you like somewhat more bleu-ish music and intimate but poignant (urban) tones.
…and seating comfort
The ambience in the cabin is quite pleasant, the seats are good, a good seating position is easily found, on the electronically adjustable front seats. All the controls are intuitive, and you do not need thick manuals to lead you around.
It is a car to live in, and live with, pleasantly. Practicalities are plentiful like the Hands-free Smart Liftgate, which opens automatically when it senses the Proximity Key is behind the vehicle within three feet for more than three seconds, for instance.
Last but not least, there is the good styling of the Tucson. From all sides, the Tucson looks harmonious and rather timeless, very well proportioned indeed. It even has succeeded in achieving a lowish drag coefficient of 0.33…
But not only the experience of the manufacturer tells in every detail both inside and out, the Hyundai’s have reached an enviable level of reliability. It is good to know that the Hyundai Tucson received the lowest number of problems per 100 vehicles among small SUVs in the proprietary J.D. Power 2015 Initial Quality Study℠. This detailed industry study was based on responses from 84,367 new-vehicle owners of 2015 model-year vehicles, measuring 244 models and measuring opinions after 90 days of ownership. Need we say more?
If you like a pleasant, good looking, smooth performing and reliable (smaller) SUV, then the Tucson is definitely a car you should take a long hard look at. It convinces with looks, build quality, ease of use, smoothness and frugality of its drivetrain. It will find many buyers, and deservedly so.
Hans Knol ten Bensel