The Hyundai Tucson is back, roomier and better equipped than ever.
THE Hyundai ix35 has been one of the Korean maker’s best successes in Australia, putting thousands of families on the road in a practical wagon that didn’t break the bank or dwarf the traffic.
As families grow their cars tend to do the same, so now it’s time to upgrade the ix35 with a model that’s roomier, safer, better equipped and more capable.
At the showroom you’ll have to ask for a Tucson, however, as Hyundai has reverted to the name, very familiar to Australians, used for the ix35’s predecessor.
If it weren’t for global naming policies, they might have called the new car the Cunnamulla or Alice, as it spent significant time in the Outback undergoing suspension development for Australian conditions.
Do we need a family soft-roader capable of tackling the Strzelecki Track? Not really, but we do have drivability needs and expectations that are very different from those in other countries. The Hyundais on sale here in recent times have felt better connected to the road thanks to the new policy of Australian-isation.
The Tucson’s all-new body adopts the wide-mouth look of its Sonata, 130, Santa Fe and Veloster siblings and has more passenger and boot room inside its bigger overall dimensions.
There are four models, called Active, Active X, Elite and Highlander, priced between $27,990 list and $45,490. The upper three models are built in the Czech Republic.
Depending on model, buyers can choose two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, 2.0 MPI, 20 GDI or 1.6 GDI petrol engines or a 2.0 CRDI diesel.
The new-to-Tucson 1.6 GDI turbo, punching out 130 kiloWatts of power, 265 Newtonmetres of torque, consuming petrol at 7.7 litres per 100 kms and driving all four-wheels on-demand through a seven-speed auto transmission, is the technology leader in the range. It costs from $38,240 in Elite specification.
Hyundai has loaded equipment into the cars, which can be had with automatic emergency braking, navigation, a power tailgate, electrically-adjustable front seats, LED lighting, lane-departure warning, reversing camera, towing stabiliser and many other features.
In coming months, the entertainment system will be capable of integrating with all smartphone functions via Apply CarPlay or Android Auto; buy now and these features can be activated retrospectively.
The larger Tucson will find itself up against segment favourites like the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V. With first-rate quality, plenty of equipment and enjoyable performance – experienced over a 400km introductory drive last week – it should prove a worthy successor to the popular izx35.