The new Tucson is bigger and better equipped than the ix35 it replaces. It’s also more expensive – $1000 more on the cheapest model, more still on other grades.
It’s longer and wider than the ix35, with more boot space and higher quality finishes in the cabin. It’s also quieter and more refined, thanks to extra sound insulation and revised suspension. The headline acts for the new model are safety and infotainment innovations and a turbocharged engine matched to a trick dual-clutch transmission. Much of the safety technology, unhappily, is available only on the more expensive models.
The top-of-the-range Highlander, from $43,490, is a technological tour-De-force. It will park itself, slam on the brakes for you at low speeds, make sure you don’t wander out of your lane and help when you want to change lanes, check for cars when you’re reversing out of a parking spot and follow the road with its headlights.
It will even keep an unruly trailer under control and open the tailgate if it senses you at the rear.
The standard safety package is less generous, although it includes a reversing camera, parking sensors, six airbags and auto headlights. Satnav isn’t standard but from September the two cheapest variants will have a new level of connectivity for the brand.
If you have an iPhone (or, from next year, an Android), the car will read your emails aloud and check your calendar. It will also link with music and navigation apps and allow you to use Siri voice activation. This new tech isn’t available on the higher grades because their standard satnav unit isn’t compatible. Hyundai is looking for a solution but doesn’t have one yet.
Higher grade models miss out on other items too. You can get leather on the cheaper Active X but not on the Elite, next up in the range.
Overall, the new Tucson sets a new benchmark for Hyundai and should pick up where the ix35 left off. It’s a gamble in name only.
- Price: Cheapest model, the Active, up by $1000. New model ActiveX slots in at $30,490 and gets leather, bigger wheels and more gear. Elite 2WD petrol goes up by $1650, 4WD rises $2250, Highlander petrol jumps by $4900, diesel by $4500.
- Equipment: Larger centre screen, rear view camera standard, smartphone connectivity. More expensive models get lane departure and blind spot warning, automatic emergency braking, auto tailgate and rear cross-traffic alert.
- Performance: More expensive models get a new turbo petrol engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission from the Veloster coupe. Other engines carry over.
- Driving: Stiffer body and new suspension tune developed locally. Better control and more comfortable over rough surfaces; more stable and eager to change direction through corners. More sound-deadening means quieter cabin.
- Design: Cleaner exterior design and less busy dash layout give it a more up-market look. Cabin space has grown thanks to longer, wider body. Bigger load area.
Overall the Hyundai Tucson Active X gets 4/5