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Sunraysia Daily Saturday, January 16, 2016
Tucson leads strong
bid for SUV dominance
AS things go, it is likely SUVs could
become the biggest selling segment
in the passenger car market sometime
during 2016. According to industry
analyst VFacts research has shown that only
five per cent of four-wheel-drive owners do any
serious off-roading in their vehicles. However,
they favoured the high-set seating position
and the robust character of the bodywork made
them feel protected inside an SUV.
Automobile makers took note. They cut out
the low mode of the 4x4 transfer case, leaving
the vehicle, at first known as a soft-roader,
able to handle bitumen and minor off-road
situations such as gravel.
Since then, some have even eschewed
driving all four wheels and rely on front-wheel
drive only to put power to ground. The result is
greater economy and a significantly lower price.
The charge has been led by small and
medium SUVs. The latter segment has just
been boosted by the addition of the Hyundai
Tucson, a reworking of the popular Hyundai
ix35, moving it up into the larger group.
The four-tier Tucson range offers front-wheel
drive or all-wheel drive, four engines and three
transmissions. I had a taste of the ActiveX two-
wheel drive variant, which comes to market at
$32,990, plus on-road costs.
In design terms, the Tucson is the poster
boy for Hyundai, setting the design trend taken
up by its big brother, the Santa Fe Series II,
the top-selling i30, Sonata sedans and the
upmarket luxury Genesis.
Daytime running lights and foglamps are set
in separate angular bumper-height recesses.
Side body lines sweep upward and asymmetric
wheel arches wrap new-design 17, 18 or 19-inch
The rear design is kept simple with horizontal
lines flowing from bold rear wheel arches and
accentuated by slim combination tail-lights.
Slim reflectors are integrated into the rear
bumper. It all adds up to an impressive drag
coefficient for this class of 0.33 Cd.
Longer, taller and with wider track than the
ix35 it replaces, the Hyundai Tucson weighs
in with a bolder stance, more front and rear
leg and hip room, and more cargo space (488
litres) with the rear seats in place.
A new wider tailgate allows easier access to
the bigger luggage area. Maximum opening
width has been increased to 1094 mm, up from
A result of California Dreaming from the US
design centre, the cabin has been given a more
sophisticated and user friendly surroundings.
The modern dashboard has a 7.0-inch
infotainment screen and contrasting black
dash surfaces, and air vent and centre console
Chasing a boost in quality, re-engineered
door mechanisms produce a softer sound
when they are opened and shut with a deeper,
more solid tone, while dust-sealing testing,
performed in the Australian outback, produced
outstanding results, says Hyundai.
In a first for Hyundai the Tucson ActiveX
features Apple CarPlay, with Android Auto
to follow early next year. Both systems offer
seamless integration with smartphones to
provide safe access to Google Map or Apple
Map navigation, Siri or Google Voice command,
including hands-free messaging and dictation,
music, calendar entries, apps and more.
Google Android Auto connectivity will soon
also be possible via software updates. ActiveX
is equipped with a 7.0-inch touchscreen
infotainment system with MP3 capability and
Hyundai s 2.0-litre direct-injection four-
cylinder petrol engine is available exclusively in
2WD Tucson ActiveX, combined with Hyundai s
advanced six-speed automatic transmission.
A more rigid body than in the ix35 and
improved structures to absorb crash forces
are key factors in a high level of passive safety.
This is complemented by six airbags -- driver
and front passenger airbags, front side (thorax)
airbags and full-length curtain airbags.
Three-point seatbelts are fitted at all seating
positions. The driver and front passenger
seatbelts incorporate anchor-point pre-
tensioners and crash-locking tongues in the
Active safety features include Hyundai s
Electronic Stability Control system, reversing
camera with dynamic steering guidelines,
four-sensor rear parking assist, automatic
dusk-sensing headlights and LED high-mount
stop light and daytime running lights. Tucson s
brakes have been improved across the range.
The new Tucson s increased cabin space is
worthy of its upgrade to medium SUV status,
while mobility and manoeuvrability are in
keeping with a compact vehicle.
The engine / transmission package is
efficient, quiet and friendly, leading to stress-
free motoring, although, without all-wheel
drive, there is a hint of understeer when pushed
We recorded fuel consumption of 7.9 litres
per hundred kilometres during a mixture of
town and country driving.
Improved isolation of key components and
increased use of sound-deadening materials
in such areas as behind the dashboard, inside
wheel arches and over a larger area of the drive
tunnel contributed to better NVH. The stiffer
body structure also helped reduce road noise
inside the cabin.
Good steering response comes from Tucson s
electric power steering (EPS) using the latest
Logic computer processing.
The new Tucson adopts Hyundai s latest
Drive Mode Select system, as used in new
Sonata and Genesis. ActiveX features two
settings, each adjusting transmission
programming, throttle mapping and steering
effort. In Eco, throttle effort is increased and, to
help conserve fuel, transmission upshifts arrive
at lower revs.
As with all Australian Hyundai cars and
SUVs, Tucson s suspension was exhaustively
tested in local conditions and tuned for
Australian roads by the company s local chassis
Setting aside the fact that the Hyundai
Tucson ActiveX makes do with front-wheel drive
as opposed to all-wheel power distribution, it is
worthy of its medium-size SUV upgrade through
space, and quality and range of specification.
A bonus is the attractive purchase price and
Hyundai s five-year, unlimited kilometre
warranty and Hyundai iCare.
For all your Hyundai enquiries contact North
Star Motors LMCT 8241 at 29 Orange Avenue,
Mildura, phone 5021 3866 or visit www.nstar.
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