Hyundai Tucson diesel automatic review: A loaded shotgun!

The Tucson badge is not unknown to the Indian market. Hyundai first launched the SUV way back in 2005. The low interest in the vehicle forced Hyundai to discontinue the vehicle five years later in 2010. Now, the Indian market’s obsession with the SUVs is getting sky high. And Hyundai’s success with the Creta gave the company enough confidence to bridge the gap between the Creta and the Santa Fe by launching the Tucson. We spent some time with the automatic diesel version of the vehicle. Here’s what we think of it.

Looks stupendous, or does it?

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Just all the Hyundai line-up, the Tucson design philosophy also follows Hyundai’s Fluidic  Sculpture 2.0 design language. That means the car gets a very smooth design with curves all around the vehicle. The Tucson looks quite similar to the Santa Fe, or even Creta, or well, both of them because they also follow the design language. The double barrel LED headlamps on the top end variants of the SUV will help you to distinguish it from the other models quickly.

The Tucson does not target the customers who want a masculine SUV. Rather, Hyundai is targeting urbane, sophisticated buyers with this soft roader. The Tucson’s front gets the Hyundai’s signature trapezoidal grille. The bumper gets LED DRLs, which are positioned very low and fog lamps sit just above it. The headlamp housings look sleek.

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The Tucson looks quite attractive from the side. Riding on 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, the SUV looks about the right size for the people who are looking for urban crossover. The sharply rising shoulder line adds to the vehicle’s flowing design element. Also, the angular wheel arches try to add some testosterone to the vehicle, but they blend nicely with the overall layout.

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From the rear, the crossover gets a split tail lamp that looks similar to that on the Hyundai i20 Active. The shark fin antenna on the roof top does look good and overall; the Tucson stays simple and elegant to attract buyers with similar characteristics.

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But it is a Hyundai, must be feature rich from inside?

It sure is! Hyundai has neatly packed almost everything that one may need from a car. That said, the Tucson’s interiors carry an uncanny similarity with the Creta. The dashboard gets two-tone black and beige colours. The plastic used on the dashboard does not give you a premium feeling, though. In the middle of the dash, Hyundai has fitted all the equipment.

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There is a touch-sensitive screen with a matte finish. The 4.2-inch screen gets Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, making it very useful. The same screen also acts as the display for reverse camera, which gets dynamic parking, showing the way the car will go. The matte finish makes it very easy to read even during the day.

Hyundai has also added two-zone automatic climate control. The HVAC gets a digital display and is very convenient to use even while driving the vehicle. There are two power sockets below the HVAC, and one connection for the USB devices, and to also connect your smartphone to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

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The seats of the Tucson are very supportive, and the car offers ample space inside. The drive-side seat can be adjusted electrically, while the passenger has to change it manually. The storage space can hold 1-litre bottles on the door. The Tucson comes with a leather wrapped steering wheel that gets buttons on it that can control a lot of things, including the infotainment and driver information display.

The crossover also gets rear reclining seats, which is good for rear passengers and people who want a chauffeur driver vehicle. There is a rear AC vent too. The SUV does miss out on a few features such as a sunroof and cooled seats, both of which are available with the Elantra. These omissions aren’t deal-breakers though.

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Tucson also offers a generous amount of space. Being 5″10′ in height, I didn’t face any shortage of knee room and legroom on the rear seat, even when the driver seat was adjusted according to my height. One thing that may worry you in the rear seat is the claustrophobic feeling. The sharp shoulder line rises quickly and blocks the view of the rear passenger. Moving on, one of the smartest features of the Tucson is the automatic boot lid opener. As soon as you get near the boot of the vehicle, it detects the key, and after few seconds and beeps, it opens the tail lid. Smart!

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The top-end Tucson also comes with six airbags. There are also other safety features like ABS with EBD, while the top-of-the-line trim also gets electronic stability control, hill start and brake assist with downhill brake control. There are front parking sensors too, but the high seating position means that you won’t need them on most occassions.

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There is one annoying thing about the interior, though. The driver and co-driver sun visor get extensions. The extensions when opened block the view of the interior rear view mirror. Perhaps, you are only supposed to use the extensions when you turn them towards the big windows.

Tell me about the drive!

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None of the Hyundai vehicles is known for their handling capabilities, and Tucson is not here to change that impression. The Tucson gets very powerful engines, but the suspension may let you down if you drive it enthusiastically. The Tucson comes with both petrol and diesel engine options. The petrol is a 2.0-litre Nu unit that produces a maximum of 153 BHP and 192 Nm of torque. The diesel is a 2.0-litre unit with the maximum power of 183 BHP and 400 Nm of torque.

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The automatic vehicle we drove was a diesel powered one. There is a slight diesel noise that can be heard inside the cabin, but that is only when the car is cold, and when you’re pushing it hard. The automatic transmission is very nicely set-up. There is no lag whatsoever while changing the gears and the vehicle responds to the traffic conditions quite well. You also get the option of putting it in manual mode and shift the gears, but there are no paddle shifters.

The steering stays light during low speeds but weighs up nicely during highway runs. The ride quality of the vehicle is also excellent. The suspensions absorb the undulations quite easily giving the occupants a very luxurious experience. The handling is also decent. The body-roll is limited but suspensions are still on the softer side, and you do feel nervous while doing high-speed maneuvers.

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The car comes with different modes, though. The mode can be selected easily with a push of a button from the console between the driver and the co-passenger. There is a normal mode, eco mode and sports mode. The modes change the throttle response and make the car lethargic or energetic according to the mode you are in.

Should you buy it after all?

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Hyundai has built a shotgun that will never run out of the bullets but as we all now, shotguns are not precise! The Tucson prices start at an aggressive note. The base petrol model starts from Rs. 18.99 lakh, while the top-end petrol version goes till 21.79 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi. The diesel one starts from Rs. 21.59 lakh and goes up to Rs. 23.48 lakh.

The petrol top-end price is quite below the Honda CR-V but then, the Tucson does not get a 4WD option like the CR-V. The Tucson is a smart looking vehicle with a good amount of space. The build quality is also very much up to the mark. There is no other option in this price range. If you look up, there are Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour, but the SUVs are in a different league altogether.

The Tucson is very capable city SUV that can be taken out during short weekends. The car gets cruise control, which is perfect for the long drives, while the size is compact enough for the SUV to roam around the city without feeling too much. If you’re looking for a premium family SUV that can be used for occasional weekend getaways, then this is the perfect set of wheels you can keep in your garage.