What is it?
This is the third generation of the crossover SUV from Hyundai. While the original two generations (2005-2010 and 2009-2015) were small and rather frumpy looking, the current model has clearly grown up. Sort of like Christina Aguilera growing up from being a diva to an ambassador for the United Nations World Food Program.
The Tucson is now bigger and more butch than before. Some say it looks like the Santa Fe and that is exactly how it is placed, just below the bigger SUV. And it works better for the Tucson as the shorter dimension give it a more compact appearance while accentuating the chiselled, squared off lines.
What is it like inside?
The front passengers have ample space regardless of the passenger's height. Everything is within easy reach and the dashboard design is classy and elegant. There's plenty of leather and soft touch plastics except for the front seat backs and certain door pad areas which are hard plastic. They are accurately colour matched to the leather on the seats though. In the rear, three people can sit easily across but the C pillar occasionally gets in the way of taller people. Generally, the seats offer very good support for long journeys or sitting for hours on the road as VIP movement takes place. The rear seats recline so your suffering in Dhaka traffic becomes more relaxing. And they can fold down without needing to remove the headrests. This creates an abundant 513 litre of space. The tailgate opens wide and high to accommodate easy lifting of bulky items into the load bay.
How does it drive?
The Tucson has clearly moved upmarket with increased size and improved material quality. It's not blazing fast for your ill-conceived blasts along the Purbachal 300ft road. But it will accelerate briskly enough to keep you happy. The main quality that comes out of the ride is the refinement. It is very comfortable even with the big wheels our test car came with. It isolates the outside world quite well while cruising along smooth roads. Where it shines is on the bad stuff - most of the roads in our country. We went off the track and into some unseen, unknown broken turf. The suspension damping is so smooth the Tucson gently absorbed all the bumps while keeping the ride stable. Body control is excellently composed over the broken terrain unlike many competing crossover SUVs.
The 2 litre 154 HP engine pumps out 145 lb/ft of torque, both of which are available early on in the rev range. The 6-speed automatic transmission features a tiptronic transmission that seems to make the car accelerate just a smidgen faster but most of the times you're best to leave it alone. The four wheel drive system offers a lockdown system where 50 percent of the power is forced to the rear.
Tucsons sold here do not come with the 8-inch display available on the high-end models in other markets. But the electro chromic rear view mirror features a small display that comes on when reverse is engaged. It come with parking sensors and guides, making it just as useful as a full size monitor. Our test car also came with a panoramic roof.
The car is designed superbly and has styling that will age very well. It looks macho without going overboard. The engine option is the only one available, although the 1.6 turbo would have made for a fantastic choice for those preferring more torque. If you're spending all your time in the city, the 2.0 is simply enough and you do not even need a 4WD system. But you get it anyways. The interior is well designed with excellent switchgear although there is a lot more hard plastic than I would have preferred. Where the Tucson truly shines is in offering a comfortable ride over rough roads. Few other cars in this segment offer the same ride quality.
What does the rest of the team think?
The Tucson is rounder, nicer and overall a better package than the previous model, with better colour options that make it stand out in a sea of drabness. The wheel design on this particular unit is one of the best on any new car. The Koreans are making much better cars periodically than before, and although Hyundai's entry level model range needs to step up its game to truly compete, it's doing very well in the entry level executive segment with the impressive Sonata sedan and Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs. The Tucson's interior has quality materials and the surprisingly well insulated cabin is a nice place to be in, but there is a distinct lack of kit to play around with - a touch screen infotainment system is sorely needed as a distraction from the hours of standing still in traffic that you'll no doubt have to endure. Even then, the torquey motor, cool exterior design elements and the comfortably quiet interior makes it a good enough proposition to not buy Japanese.
-- Shaer Reaz, in-charge, Shift.
Engine: 2.0 litre MPI 4-cylinder petrol, 154 HP and 145lb-ft torque.
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with sport mode, 4WD.
Safety and mobility: Dual airbags, ABS with EBD.
Features: Push-start, panoramic roof, dual zone auto climate control with rear AC vents, glove box cooler, rear camera display mirror, CD/MP3/USB/AUX/AM-FM/iPod with Bluetooth, 4 speaker stereo system, leather seats.
Warranty: Three year/100,000 km warranty and four free after-sales services.
Price: Upwards of TK 45 lakh.
Contact Hyundai Motors Bangladesh Ltd. for further details.