Bigger, better, pricier Tucson returns

Bigger, better, pricier Tucson returns

IMG_1912Hyundai New Zealand (HNZ) reckons the re-introduction of the Tuscon nameplate to the New Zealand market will further strengthen the brand’s position as the leader in the mid-size SUV market for private buyers.

HNZ general manager Andy Sinclair says that names rather than numbers resonate better with some buyers.

He is confident that buyers of the first-generation Tucson, who were put off by the change to the ix35 nameplate will be persuaded to come back and buy a new Tucson.

Despite August sales being up 10% year on year, and medium SUV sales being up nearly 16%, Sinclair warns that the market will slow down in the next few months.

But the migration from sedans and station wagons to SUV will continue, says Sinclair.

“People still want a vehicle that is capable of doing the school run, towing the boat, and driving on the beach,” he says.

“We expect that sales of SUV will total 50% of new car sales in the next three years if current trends continue,” he says.

Hyundai has more new vehicles on the horizon, a new Elantra is coming in 2016, and the Hyundai Ute will arrive in 2020.

Sinclair says the SUV market is booming now, and Hyundai has two competitive products in it, as much as he’d like to see the Ute sooner, he and the team are concentrating on the now.

The body of the new Tucson is all new, and the car is 65mm longer, 30mm wider, and has a 30mm longer wheelbase than the predecessor ix35 SUV.

The line-up of four-cylinder engines brings two familiar faces and a new one to the Tucson range.

There is a 121kW 2-litre GDI petrol engine with six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and a 136kW 2-litre R-series turbodiesel engine with a six-speed automatic transmission, which are both Euro 5 rated.

New to the range is a 130kW turbocharged 1.6-litre GDI petrol engine with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

Hyundai hopes to offer Apple Car Play before the car launches publically, and this will be followed in 2016 by Google Android Auto as well. It will be available in the base and Elite versions only, the Elite Limited will be optioned with factory fitted satellite navigation.

The Tucson arrives in front wheel drive and all wheel drive configurations and three levels of a specification being, Tucson, Tucson Elite, and Tucson Elite Limited.

Daytime LED running lamps are standard across the lineup.

Other onboard technology offered in the range includes Bluetooth connectivity, a proximity smart key (Elite only) and power tailgate (Elite Limited).

Safety technology includes reversing cameras as standard, lane change assist and blind spot detection warnings (Elite model).

Active safety features include Vehicle Stability Management, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian sensors (Elite Limited), advanced traction cornering control, hill start and downhill braking assistance.

Inside, Tucson soft- touch materials on all cabin surfaces, including the headlining, door trims, armrests and console side mouldings.

Interior room is enhanced, with the Tucson matching or exceeding its medium SUV competitors in all key dimensions with a generous leg, shoulder, hip and headroom. The luggage area is 488 litres seats-up and 1,478 litres seats-down.

We drove the new Elite Limited diesel version from Tokoroa to Napier and found that Hyundai’s claim of being a quiet and more refined drive than its predecessor was true.

The one caveat being that we found the lane keeping assist function was more intrusive than helpful, it sometimes feels that the steering wheel was fighting against the driver rather than assisting.

Also selecting the sports mode loaded up the weight of the power steering a little more heavily than it ought to, particularly in hard cornering.

These small issues aside, the Tucson is a worthy competitor for the Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, and Toyota RAV4. The SUV market might slow down, but the competition for the private buyer will be as hot as ever in the next 18 months.

Prices: 2016 Hyundai Tucson

Front-wheel-drive 2-litre GDI manual $39,990
Front-wheel-drive 2-litre GDI automatic $42,990
All-wheel-drive 1.6-litre Turbo automatic $47,990
All-wheel-drive 2-litre R Diesel automatic $51,990

Elite front-wheel-drive 2-litre GDI automatic $47,990
Elite all-wheel-drive 1.6-litre Turbo automatic $52,990
Elite all-wheel-drive 2-litre R Diesel automatic $56,990

Elite Limited all-wheel-drive 1.6-litre Turbo automatic $59,990
Elite Limited all-wheel-drive 2-litre R Diesel automatic $63,990

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