by John Elford


This month, motoring expert John Elford shifts gears on Hyundai’s power-packed new range of Tucson. Hyundai’s Tucson has been chosen as a finalist in the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) and WesBank’s Car-of-the-Year competition for 2017.


Hyundai originally launched the Tucson in 2005, and the model became a firm favourite amongst SUV buyers for many years, until it was followed by the ix35 in 2009. A total of more than 56 000 of both models were sold between 2005 and 2016.

The Tucson brand has now been re-invented with the all-new model re-designed inside and out, with a new level of sophistication, comfort and quality. The new Tucson is available in 5 models, from the entry level Tucson 2.0 Nu Premium, with the choice of a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.

We tested the top-of-the-range Tucson Elite 1.6 TGDi Elite, with a 7-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission and All-Wheel Drive.

Stunningly good looks greet you when approaching the Tucson, with bold, rugged looks that identify this as a true SUV, which also incorporates a sleek, urban style. Hyundai designers and engineers achieved this by combining refined, flowing surfaces with bold proportions and incorporating the next generation hexagonal grille as the vehicle’s brand signature. Lights are stretched to the body edges to underline its bold looks.

The refined interior features a soft-touch finish, while high-quality leather creates an elegant and comfortable interior. The new horizontal centre console also adds to the feel of elegance and comfort. The seats are electrically adjusted for ease of operation and comfort. The overall space in the car is excellent, with comfortable seating for five with a luggage capacity of 513-litres—and this increases to a monstrous 1 503-litres of luggage capacity when the rear seats are folded down. A panoramic sunroof adds to the overall airy feel of the vehicle’s interior. The Elite is fitted with steering wheel controls for all of the radio features, which are also blessed with Bluetooth connectivity for an iPod or your smartphone. USB and Aux connections are on hand in the centre console, while a large display screen is fitted to the Elite with a new-generation navigation system. This is also an optional extra on all Tucson models.

The Tucson is also fitted with a whole array of safety features, which makes it one of the most comprehensively equipped vehicles in its class. Blind Spot Detector (using radar technology, along with Lane Change Assist) features a visual alert in the mirrors as well as an audio signal if another vehicle is detected in your path when changing lanes.

Vehicle Stability Management helps the driver to keep the car under control in an emergency manoeuvre, using ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and MDPS (Motor Driven Power Steering. This uses steering forces to guide the vehicle to remain on course.

Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) warns the driver of vehicles approaching when reversing out of areas with low visibility. The BSD uses radar to scan a 180-degree area behind the car, warning the driver of an approaching vehicle.

Six airbags offer protection for the occupants in the event of a collision, while the torsional rigidity has been increased by 48% to offer greater impact resistance. A new side-impact protection device helps the impact forces to be distributed more evenly.

The Elite is fitted with a 1.6 litre T-GDI petrol engine with 130kW at 5500rpm, which delivers 265Nm of power from 1500 to 4500 rpm. Coupled with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, this offers a fully automatic option or sequential manual gear changes if required by the driver. This includes a high top gear ratio which lowers revs during high-speed cruising. This also offers improved fuel economy, while an additional feature— the Eco and Sport Driving modes - can be changed by selecting a button on the console for even more economical driving.

The AWD system directs 100% of the power to the front wheels in normal conditions, but can transfer up to 50% to the rear wheels, depending on the conditions. A manual lock mode can be selected to deliver 50/50 power to the front and rear under 40km/h for enhanced stability.

The new Hyundai Tucson is available in the following derivatives.

  • Tucson 2l Premium Manual R359 900
  • Tucson 2l Premium Auto R379 900
  • Tucson 2l Elite Auto R439 900
  • Tucson 1.6 TGDI Executive R419 900
  • Tucson 1.6 TGDI Elite DCT R499 900
  • All Hyundai Tucson models come with a 7-year/200 000km manufacturer’s warranty as standard.
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