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Date: 23 Dec 2019 Author Type: Press Release
Author: Julian Lurie edited by Liam Mothilall
Source: Julian Lurie
The Tucson SUV range has been a winner for Hyundai ever since it was first launched in South Africa about ten years ago, capturing the largest share of its market segment, well clear of its opposition. Success breeds success and Hyundai Automotive saw a gap in the market for a more macho model of the Tucson range so they have launched two new derivatives in South Africa with bold looks, and engine power and torque boost, and a deeper exhaust sound to claim its territory as the sportier version of this top-selling SUV.

At the Durban launch last week, Stanley Anderson, sales & operations director at Hyundai Automotive South Africa said that when Hyundai Automotive initially launched the Tucson Sport in 2017, it was an immediate hit, with an order book that was filled quickly at the dealers. In the meantime, the Tucson has undergone a design facelift in 2018; on its exterior looks as well as the interior. Anderson says that after the midlife upgrade of the Tucson, the time was ripe to create another Sport derivative, with mainly the same treatment as before, but with the attractive looks that came with the upgrade to the Tucson, so they could confidently repeat the exercise this time.

The new Tucson Sport is again fitted with the bespoke black rims and a body kit that gives it a very sporty look without being overbearing. Tucson customers have really taken to the Sport after our first 'experiment'. The Sport is available in two derivatives: The petrol version with a 1,6-litre turbocharged engine, and a diesel version with a 2-litre turbocharged engine. The 1.6-litre petrol turbo delivers 150 kW at 5 500 rpm and maximum torque of 300 Nm at 4 500 rpm, with the drive to the front wheels through an automatic 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission, with the option of a manual shift override. The 2-litre turbo-diesel also makes a 150 kW, but at lower engine revolutions of 4 000 rpm. The turbo-diesel makes an impressive 460 Nm of torque in an engine speed range of 1 750 to 2 750 rpm and also drives the front wheels, coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission which also offers a manual shift option.

The Tucson Sport's interior is similar to the other derivatives in the range, sporting a dashboard with a floating 7-inch screen for its infotainment system that offers features such as linkage to Apple's CarPlay or the Android Auto application on smartphones. In the case of the Sport derivative, the top specification level was chosen, including features such as electric seat adjustment for the driver and passenger, dual climate control, rear air vents, rear parking assist cameras and a rear-view camera with a display on the infotainment screen, and a panoramic sunroof.

The Tucson's upper dashboard features high-quality soft-touch material with a double stitching line for a high-quality feeling in the interior. The focal point of the centre console is the floating audio system screen, which has an ergonomic position to allow drivers to stay focused on the road. The infotainment system in the Tucson offers a satellite navigation function when used with one's Apple cell phone and CarPlay, or the Android Auto application. Interior dimensions are quite generous. With all seats upright there’s a substantial 513 litres capacity, which can be increased to 1 503 litres with the rear seats folded, and is boosted by a lower boot-sill height, two-level trunk floor and a stowable cargo cover. Storage for oddments is provided for in the cubby, the front armrest, the four-door pockets, rear map pockets, cup-holders front and rear, and a sunglass holder. The front seats are well-bolstered and comfortable, with a wide range of adjustments, however, although the rear seat doesn't slide fore and aft, it's mounted higher than before and can now accommodate a couple of 6-footers without issue.

With the addition of the Sport, the Tucson range in South Africa now consists of nine derivatives with a choice between three engines; a naturally aspirated 2-litre petrol engine, the turbocharged 1,6-litre petrol engine and the 2-litre turbocharged diesel, and three specification levels. All derivatives are front-wheel driven. The entry-level models are the Premium derivatives, which come standard with cruise control, an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, LED daytime running lights and driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags. The 4-cylinder, 2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, delivering 115 kW and 196 Nm maximum torque, is used for the Premium derivatives, in combination with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox. Up a step are the Executive models which add standard features such as; an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), leather seats, Blind Spot Detection for side mirrors, Cross-Traffic Alert detectors at the rear, electric seat adjustment for the driver and a full auto air conditioner with climate control.

A new addition to the range is the Executive derivative with the 2-litre petrol engine, delivering power through a 6-speed auto gearbox, as well as the Tucson R2.0 Executive with a 131 kW, 400 Nm 2-litre turbo-diesel engine and a new 8-speed automatic gearbox. The top-of-the-range Elite models add standard features such as; a panoramic sunroof, electric seat adjustment for the front passenger as well, a push-button to start the engine and keyless entry. The Elite derivatives also include the Blind Spot Detection and Cross Traffic Alert safety features. Another standard feature is the extra USB port in the rear, delivering additional power to recharge the devices on-board if needed. The new Elite Sport has the same features as the Elite derivative, as well as the bespoke rims, side skirts, front and rear spoilers and dual exhausts.

In terms of safety; apart from the Blind Spot Detection and Cross Traffic Alert (in the Executive, Elite and Sport versions), the Tucson is equipped with passive safety features such as dual front and side airbags (driver and front passenger) and curtain airbags that offer protection for rear passengers as well in all derivatives. Isofix latching points for child safety seats are also fitted to all Tucson derivatives. The Executive, Elite and Sport derivatives of the Tucson are also equipped with Vehicle Stability Management that keeps the car stable on wet, slippery or rough roads, as well as Hill-start Assist Control to prevent roll-back when pulling off against an incline.

The road test route started out from Durban North and headed up the KZN Coast and inland for the return trip. Our first drive was in the 1.6 TGDI Sport with the Dual Clutch Automatic 7-speed transmission and the first thing to impress was the power of the 1.6 as we joined the highway. With foot down, the Tucson1.6 Sport passed the 100 km/h mark in under 8 seconds, while the Tucson 2-litre Sport was less than a second slower. On the road, both models were peppy and smooth, and both felt more powerful than expected in most situations. On the freeways, the motor runs unstressed registering just 2 000 rpm while cruising at 120 km/h in top gear. The Tucson's ride and handling is quite sporty. The steering and road traction is predictable and competent, and the ride is refined. At almost any speed, very little wind noise penetrated the cabin of either car, and even poor road surfaces failed to elicit more than a distant hum, while the suspension system is excellent as it comfortably irons out the very poor tar road surfaces.

The recommended retail prices for the new Tucson Sport models are; R654 900 for the Tucson 1.6 TGDI Sport (Dual Clutch Transmission) and R664 900 for the Tucson R2.0 Sport Turbodiesel (automatic). Prices include a 5 year / 90 000 km service plan, a 7 year / 200 000 km warranty, and Roadside assistance for 7 years or 150 000km. All service intervals are 15 000 km, with a mandatory initial 5 000 km service for the Tucson 1.6 TGDI Elite and Sport derivatives.
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