Up until recently, carmakers will show a concept car and completely go off on a tangent to produce something else. Hyundai has been one of the braver ones to make vehicles with standout design — remember Fluidic Sculpture? And Hyundai has been continuing their pursuit in producing cars that seem to be a photocopy of the concept. Case in point: the all-new Hyundai Tucson.
Based on Hyundai’s new mission of “Sensual Sportiness”, the Tucson is a revolution in design, featuring bigger, bolder and more muscular stance, drawing influence from their Vision T SUV concept. Without going through all the marketing salt on how this new design reflects human emotions, this new, and frankly unconventional design language is meant to stir up the mid-size SUV segment, giving the previously conservative Tucson, a much-needed image boost for the Korean’s.
To achieve this, Hyundai’s designers have moved away from traditional drawing methods, and opted for digitally produced geometric algorithms in a process called “parametric dynamics”. This resulted in the beautiful patterns that you see all around the Tucson, something Hyundai calls “parametric jewels”. Fancy.
Nowhere else are these geometric patterns more prominently displayed than the front grille. The absolutely mesmerising Parametric Hidden Lights are indeed a work of art, blending seamlessly into the dark geometric patterns of the grille when not in use. Thanks to state-of-the-art half-mirror lighting technology, when the LED DRLs are switched on, the dark chrome appearance of the grille transforms into jewel-like shapes, bringing an eye-catching element to an otherwise sleek appearance.
These geometric shapes can also be seen down the sides of the Tucson, with heavily chiselled surfaces, further emphasising the strong, wedge-shaped stance, accentuating the athletic presence of the Tucson. The bulbous front wheel arches highlighted with a chrome strip, and the rakish crease that extends from the front door handles into the rear tail light cluster makes the Tucson look like it is moving even when it is standing still.
The Tucson’s rear is another concoction of lines and creases. Wide, new tail lamps that continue the parametric design theme and the light bar that links the two light clusters just add to the masculinity of the SUV. The rear bumper also integrates the parametric patterns with a 3D effect. The hidden rear wiper and smooth glass Hyundai logo give the Tucson an added level of premium that was missing in the previous iterations.
In stark contrast to the edgy and angular exterior, the Tucson’s interior is much more conventional, sedated even. The spacious and sophisticated interior harmoniously incorporate what Hyundai call, INTERSPACE, creating a neatly organised layout. Dominated by a 10.25-inch waterfall style central infotainment screen, Hyundai has taken the full touch screen route and eliminated most of the physical buttons, including the controls for the climate and seat ventilation. Hyundai has also simplified the driver instrument cluster, giving it a chic and minimalist look.
The simplistic interior, however, hides some pretty high tech features. Offering the latest Bluelink connected car services, a range of new features are now made available to customers, such as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and the new cloud-based Connected Routing navigation that features more accurate traffic forecasting and route calculation. The Last Mile feature is another handy that resumes guidance via the driver’s smartphone app if they parked between 200 meters to two kilometres from their destination. Definitely handy especially in congested Klang Valley hotspots where parking is scarce.
Despite the sporty credentials of the Tucson, it is still a family vehicle packed with creature comforts galore. The all-new Tucson is the first Hyundai to feature Multi-Air Mode technology that combines direct and indirect air vents for the air-conditioning that softens the air for a more natural feel. Rear passengers also benefit from triple-zone climate control, and something unique called Rear Sleeping mood where passengers on the driver’s row would be able to listen to the radio without disturbing passengers in the rear.
Built on an all-new platform that is 20mm longer, 15mm wider and has a 10mm longer wheelbase, the Tucson has improved overall roominess for passenger comfort and practicality. With better packaging of the interior, rear legroom has been enhanced by 26mm while boot capacity, depending on the variants, has increased to 620 litres with the seats up, and 1,799 litres at maximum capacity. The Tucson comes with 40:20:40 folding chairs, which can be folded remotely from outside the vehicle, a neat little party trick for those trips to IKEA.
The all-new Tucson has also made sure that the safety of its passengers is uncompromised with a new raft of active safety features and driver assistance systems. Equipped with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) that warns of an impending collision as well as applies the brakes automatically, the Tucson also expands the range of protection to include collisions at intersections. Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA), and the navigation-based Smart Cruise Control Curve (NSCC-C) form an array of abbreviated safety sensors that work in tandem with the Hyundai Highway Driving Assist (HDA) which allow the new Tucson to take the strain of driving out of long-distance commutes.
Blind-spot monitoring, bolstered with Rear Cross-traffic Collision-avoidance, and a 360-degree Surround View Monitor system are also available to help Tucson drivers navigate tight urban traffic conditions. Oh, and did we mention that the Tucson now comes with seven airbags, including an all-new centre side airbag that prevents front-row occupants from colliding into one another in the event of a crash.
Despite being a compact SUV that will mainly be used in urban environments for most of its life, Hyundai has gone the extra mile to give the Tucson true SUV 4x4 credentials. Available with Hyundai’s HTRAC four-wheel drive as an option, drivers are now able to take advantage of the enhanced agility and torque management with the new Terrain Mode selector, choosing between Mud, Sand and Snow. For those who prefer to stay on tarmac, you will be glad to know that Hyundai has given the Tucson a choice of either conventional dampers, or Electronic Controlled Suspension’s (ECS) adaptive dampers.
Normal and Eco mode focuses on a comfortable and smooth ride, continuously adjusting the damping on each individual wheel after taking into account various driving conditions. Sports mode, on the other hand, treats drivers to an extra level of response and control for a tighter driving dynamic, without compromising occupant comfort.
A major focal point on the new Tucson would be its powertrain options, most notably featuring the most electrified powertrain line-up in the compact SUV segment. With options for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and a 48-volt mild hybrid with both gasoline and diesel combustion engines, and four transmission choices, there is a Tucson to fit every type of driver. Developed to reduce emissions while providing a fun driving experience, the most powerful variant of the Tucson comes in hybrid guise, with the new 1.6-litre T-GDI Smartstream direct-injection engine and a 44.2kW electric motor. With a 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery and a six-speed automatic transmission available with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive, the total system output is rated at 230hp.
In terms of 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, customers can choose from three different options:
- 1.6-litre T-GDI Smartstream with 150hp and two-wheel drive
- 1.6-litre T-GDI Smartstream with 180hp with optional four-wheel drive
- 1.6-litre CRDi Smartstream with 136hp with optional four-wheel drive
The 48-volt mild hybrid systems come with either a seven-speed dual clutch transmission (7DCT) or a six-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (6iMT). Non-mild hybrid variants (gasoline and diesel combustion engines) on the other hand get the manual transmission only. A plug-in hybrid version of the all-new Tucson with a 1.6-litre T-GDI engine and 265hp will also be available. However, full details of the powertrain are yet to be confirmed.
This fourth-generation Tucson has large shoes to fill, as its predecessors have been Hyundai’s best-selling model to-date, with over seven million units being sold worldwide since 2004. By offering the most electrified line-up in the compact SUV segment, the new Tucson completes Hyundai’s range of electrified SUV’s complimented with the Kona, NEXO and the latest Santa Fe.
Debuting the ambitious and revolutionary “Sensuous Sportiness” design language and a future-centric powertrain line-up, Hyundai has pulled out all the stops to make sure the Tucson is well equipped for the next decade.