Why would I buy it?
- Handsome looks, feature-rich cabin
- Diesel performance, the option of 4x4
- Hyundai after sales and service
Why would I avoid it?
- Some rivals offer more aspirational value
- Misses out on some features
Engine and Performance
Just so that you know where I’m going with this, the 182bhp/400Nm 2.0-litre diesel in here makes 11bhp/50Nm more than the Jeep Compass Trailhawk. All that power is channelled into the four wheels through an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. It’s a remarkably refined motor that’s not just silent whilst idling, but also on the go. Likewise, slow speed driving activities off the mark are actioned smoothly and progressively.
With a light foot, the gearbox shifts seamlessly between the 1,750-2,000rpm mark to serve ample grunt for most situations. And a slight dab on the pedal is all that’s required to get the Tucson charging ahead without any lag of sorts. Even quick overtakes need no planning whatsoever as the downshifts in kick-down are quick too. Likewise, the thick spread of torque throughout ensures that the Tucson can easily sustain highway speeds all day long.
Now, through the three pre-set drive modes, namely Eco, Comfort, and Sport, this Hyundai’s throttle and steering response can be altered. As one would guess, the engine responses are quite subdued in Eco mode to make it more frugal, and in Sport mode, the motor becomes sprightly and excited to stir up the related responses. It’s also in the Sport-mode that the transmission clings on to gears for longer.
Ride Quality and Handling
Even the steering weighs up in the Sport mode, making it more engaging to drive. But it feels a tad too heavy at lower speeds, to begin with. Plus, like with most Hyundais, the slight vagueness off the dead centre finds its way here too. Otherwise, it’s a fairly direct and quick one, this. Ride quality-wise, the Tucson’s suspension setup gulps almost everything that comes its way, regardless of the speed, with hardly any noise either.
Body control, too, at speed is well within acceptable limits. And a large chunk of it has the ‘automatic traction cornering control’ to thank for. It controls the power sent to the rear wheels depending on the traction available on the road surface. Nonetheless, despite riding on grippy 225-section tyres, we expected more bite from the brakes.
Comfort, Convenience, and Features
Tucson’s all-black cabin is a familiar place to be; a consequence of the brand’s styling trickling down and the numerous elements that are shared with its siblings. But what stands out here are the doors shutting with a reassuring thud, the premium materials, and the outstanding fit and finish. With so much space at hand, even the all-black interiors can’t make this cabin any less airy! Other plus points include excellent visibility, good ergonomics, and lots of practical storage areas.
As for the eight-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system, while the interface seems similar to other Hyundais, we certainly took to its physical control buttons like a hand in glove because we’re strong advocates of maintaining driver attention on the road. As regards the electrically adjustable front seats, they are what every OEM aims for; large, comfortable, and immensely supportive. This makes our job easier too! Even the rear reclining bench is not only supportive and comfy, but offers lots of leg-, head-, and shoulder-room; so seating three here is effortless.
When it comes to the boot, the massive enclosure can take in a few large suitcases and some soft bags. But if in need of more, simply tumbling the 60-40 split-seats for some auxiliary space works just fine. This brings us to Tucson’s features list which includes an auto-dimming roof mirror, dual-zone climate control, a cooled glovebox, panoramic sunroof, and wireless charging. There’s an eight-speaker Infinity system that not only sounds good but offers BlueLink connected car tech along with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. But what’s surprising is the unfathomable absence of cooled seats!
In terms of safety features, the Tucson is equipped with dual front, side, and curtain airbags, ABS and EBD with brake assist, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, hill start, and descent control. You also get convenient ones like front and rear parking sensors with a rear camera, tyre pressure monitoring system, middle occupant three-point seatbelt, and ISOFIX child seat anchors.
Set eyes on the Tucson and you know it’s a Hyundai; a big one at that. Call me a car racist! Now, the front end especially, looks tall and sharply etched with sleek headlamps and loads of thick chrome highlighting the angular design lines. That aside, the side and rear profile are much subtler owing to the less aggressive curves, but the strong shoulder line and edgy alloy wheel shape fight back to make it look contemporary. Meanwhile, the rear, with a seemingly wide track and bulging shoulders, inadvertently gives away a rugged butch stance.
Well, the Hyundai Tucson retailing between Rs 26.65 lakh and Rs 32.75 lakh (OTR Mumbai) is quite frankly the only problem it faces. You see, our market does not associate Hyundai to be a maker of expensive cars. This is despite there being very little to find fault with. Let me elaborate. The Tucson is handsome (in a Korean way off course), it has a good street presence, is feature-loaded, has a spacious cabin, benefits from a potent drivetrain, and is relatively dynamic too. To top it off, Hyundais also boast of a proven after sales and service network. So then, would I choose it over the Jeep Compass, Citroen C5, or maybe even the Volkswagen T-Roc and Tiguan AllSpace? Hell, no!
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi