Tucson name plate for the first time came to India in 2007. It was the first generation Tucson which was globally launched somewhere around 2004. Owing to its hate it or love it design then, It wasn’t as successful as what Hyundai expected it to be.
Also, truth be told, Hyundai designs those days weren’t as appealing as what they are today. Infact, the first major success that Hyundai tasted after its Santro name tag, was in 2011, when the fourth generation Hyundai Verna was launched in India. For the first time in the history, the C Segment King, the Honda City, had a formidable rival and it literally out sold the City and made the executives at Honda stand up and take a look at a Korean Product.
To my mind, 2011 was the turning point to the way, Hyundai went about designing their cars, and every single car that came out of the Hyundai stable ever since then, has been a head turner. Apart from being head turners, Hyundai also managed to pack a lot in their cars and they literally lived more car, per car line coined by Tata Motors then, for their Indigo and Indica range of cars.
Coming back to the Tucson then. Well, the Tucson launched in 2007, did not put the sales chart on fire particularly for Hyundai India. That did not inspire Hyundai to bring the second generation Tucson to India, which they skipped getting here.
Hyundai launched the third generation Tucson in the March of 2015 at Geneva Auto Show and the SUV started arriving in global markets in the second half of 2015 and in some in early 2016. India saw the return of the name plate Tucson in November 2016, as this time around Hyundai was confident that the handsome looking Tucson will have lot of takers and also, they wanted to fill in the gap between the hugely successful Creta and the popular Santa Fe.
That was 2016, and cut to 2020, the market had moved on, and so was the tastes of we, the customers. So Hyundai, decided to give a facelift to the Tucson, to keep it in line with the current competition and also update it with the new BS6 engines.
So does the Tucson have any competition? Well, it competed it the Volkswagen Tiguan when it was launched back then. Today, the Tiguan has grown up in size, and now it is called the Tiguan All Spacewar
The Tiguan All Space Review Can be Read Here
So that doesn’t really compete any more with the Tucson, at least on the price front. And then there is Hyundai’s own ultra modern SUV the Creta, which is much more modern then the current generation Tucson. Albeit, it does not get 4x4 capabilities, which is something reserved to the Tucson, especially in the diesel variant, and the 2021 Tucson, should be right across the corner, may be another 6 months or so.
So, should you choose this Urbane and Sophisticated SUV over its own sibling is what we are going to find out together.
So should we start with the Exteriors?
Design Language: Exteriors
As said earlier somewhere, post 2011 Hyundai changed its gears and started making desirable cars. Be it the Grand i10, the Verna, the Santa Fe or even the then Tucson, which came to India in 2016. It instantly felt urbane and sophisticated.
Same thing continues with the updated Hyundai Tucson that I have here for the review. And with this subtle updates to the design, it feels much more urbane, sophisticated and dare I say, tad more premium too.
The front, is flanked by the typical to Hyundai’s a hexagonal grille which has become much more sharper, has grown in size and houses 4 slate chrome design. Chrome brings in a lot of premium feel to the SUV upfront. The headlamps have become slender and now house what Hyundai calls Penta Halogen LED’s which house sharp looking DRL on the top. While the turn indicators are embedded inside the headlight cluster, I think, it’s a missed opportunity for Hyundai for not integrating the turn indicators into DRL’s directly, just like some of it’s European Rivals. Nevertheless the eyes, that is the headlights look sleek and much more modern as compared to the pre-facelift SUV. While the earlier Tucson had split fog lamps this one is void of any such drama. It looks single unit fog-lamps with a nice looking parking light on it. From the front, you will know that this is an unmistakably Hyundai design.
Moving to the sides, the Tucson gets this gorgeous looking 18 inch alloys which are diamond cut finished and sport a multi spoke design. There is this smart black cladding on the wheel arches that run all the way to the rear tire which gives the Tucson a butch look. I particularly loved the sharp crease line that runs just above the fenders all the way to the end and merges beautifully with the rear of the SUV. The window line is in line with the design and it tapers down towards the rear. Addition of pockets lights is a smart move from Hyundai in the Tucson, it brings in that additional flair of luxury to the SUV.
Nothing much has changed at the rear, nothing much has changed at the rear. And that is a good thing. However, to keep the things in line with the current times, the tail-lamps are now all LED, and the Tucson gets electric tail-gate. I loved the fact that the Tucson’s rear is minimalist when it comes to badging.
The boot space is unchanged at 513 litres and can carry large amount of luggage should you wish to carry owing to its flat design.
Overall, on the exteriors the updated Tucson is smart and modern looking SUV from the word go. Now let’s step inside and see how is it on the interiors.
Design Language: Interiors
Step inside and this is where you realise that Hyundai has done interesting changes on the inside. To begin with the dash layout is new now which sports a 8 inch touch screen with floating design. The audio setup is updated to more premium sounding speakers from Infiniti, more on that later. And 2 biggest changes in my opinion to the feature list is wireless charger and powered co passenger seats.
The dashboard materials are a combination of soft touch plastic on the top, leather wrap in the centre and hard plastics down below at some place. However, the quality of materials used all around in top notch. The steering wheel feels nice to hold in hands, however has tad too many buttons for one’s likings. I would have loved if Hyundai would have updated the driver console with all virtual display here, considering even the much cheaper Verna gets one.
The front central console houses buttons for electronic brakes, driving modes, hill assist and auto hold, along side to the nice and chubby glass holders. There is no memory function of the Auto Hold Function in Tucson and I found it a bit irritating. Every time you start the car and drive off, you have to manually again activate the auto hold functionality by tapping the button. Nevertheless, for ergonomics and placement of buttons, no complains as such.
Front seats are good place to be, but surprisingly Hyundai has not added cooled seats to a product at a 30 lac OTR price point. This to my mind is a glaring omission. Also, while the seat contouring is spot on and hold you well in your place, under thigh support was something which I found was not that adequate. Rest, no complains at all from the seats.
Moving to the rear, you are going to notice the enormous leg room that the Tucson comes with. It is generous. The headroom too is adequate though there is a new addition of a panoramic sunroof now. There are 2 USB-C chargers now and no this Tucson does not come with three zone climate control AC, so at the rear what you have is just the AC vents.
Moving to the rear, one thing that you realise immediately is that the added wheelbase, has added more space in the rear. Plus, the Tiguan All Space comes with sliding and reclining middle seats, which allows you to extend the legroom. You also get foldable laptop tray on both the seats, ac vents, charging points and cup holders. The seats themselves offer excellent lumbar and thigh support and one can easily stretch out seating here on those longer journeys.
The seats are well cushioned, have excellent bolstering but again lack a little bit of under thigh support. All black interiors will make some feel that the cabin space is smaller, however it is not the case here. Additionally owing to the flat board at the rear, making sit 3 abreast at the rear is possible.
Overall, the Tucson’s interiors are good place to be and won’t let you feel out of place.
In Car Entertainment
One of the biggest changes over the earlier Tucson is this In Car Entertainment setup. Hyundai has added Infiniti sourced 8 speaker set up in the Tucson and is made available in both the petrol as well as diesel top end variants.
While the 8 speaker set up is definitely a good upgrade over the standard setup that Tucson offered. However, pit is against the other competitive offerings, and you get to see a shortfall in performance. The sound quality is not as immersive as you expect from a premium set up. So the sound enthusiast in you, will be dissatisfied and will want to ask for more.
Performance: Engine and gearbox
Hyundai has updated the Tucson with BS6 complaint engines, both the petrol and diesel are 2.0 Litre, 4 cylinder motors. However, there is a vast difference in power and output. The diesel engine is clearly more powerful over the petrol, and what more, it comes mated to Hyundai’s new 8 speed gearbox.
The petrol motor churns out 152 PS and produces 190 NM of torque, while the diesel motor churns 185 PS of power and produces 400 NM of torque. No prizes for guessing then, which one is going to be much more punchier.
The diesel is what we had for the review and as mentioned earlier, it comes mated to the 8 speed gearbox. The first thing that you will immediately notice once inside the Tucson is the NVH levels. The cabin is absolutely silent, and you will feel as if you inside a petrol powered car. There are zero vibrations inside the cabin.
The engine is very much tractable and punchy and does not feel out of breadth even when you are doing triple digit speeds. Lot of this can be attributed to the new gearbox and the availability of torque from the word go. Torque kicks in really early helping you make the progress quickly. So whether you are going to use the Tucson in city or highways, you are going to love this engine-gearbox combination.
Speaking of which. the 8 speed gear box chooses the right gear at the right time and right speeds. It also is a silent performer of its duties and rarely will you feel or realise that the cogs are changing.
Performance- Ride and Handling
Hyundai has softly sprung the Tucson, that made the Tucson’s ride quality a strength to leverage on. In this updated Tucson, I am happy to report that the ride quality of Tucson remains uncompromised. It goes over bad surfaces of roads, without unsettling the occupants. So all the passengers in the Tucson are going to be transported from one place to other in comfort.
However there is a challenge here, and that is the body roll on twisties. There is body roll present in Tucson which unsettles the occupants should you wish to attack the corner to fast. Tucson, does not like to be aggressively driven, though there are different driving modes to choose from, she prefers you potter her gently and not rush into the things.
Speaking about the driving modes, there are 3 different driving modes to choose from, the Eco, Comfort and Sport. Eco is what you should be, if you are driving in the city traffic. Comfort is for your regular non traffic runs, this is the mode you should be mostly in and Sport is for winding sections on the road where you want to go that much faster. In sport mode, the responses are sharper and the Tucson surges ahead with that little bit of extra confidence, but the steering feedback is a big let down. Don’t get me wrong here, it does weigh up nicely, but it does not weigh up the way I would have loved it too.
So it is a bad choice then, I would say no, for the normal driver in you, you may not even notice the under steer or vague steering inputs, but what you will definitely notice is how composed and planted this Hyundai feels at highway speeds. Sure, it may not like to be handled aggressively, but who drives aggressively anyways?
We began with a question, does this Tucson hold any ground at the price that is offered at as it’s own sibling is a more accomplished product and much more modern at it. Moreover, there is a brand new Tucson expected to come, sometime next year or so. So where does this Tucson really fit in all these scheme of things.
Well to my mind, the Tucson is amongst very few Hyundai’s now, which carry this design language of minimalistic cuts and lines. You look at any new Hyundai product, it has lot of cuts and creases, which to my mind are unnecessary. They rob the car of clean lines. Point in case, the Creta, you may either love it or hate it, there is no likert scale there of agree, strongly agree, neutral etc. It’s very clear, either you will strongly love the design or strongly hate it.
But look at this design, you will turn around and look at the Tucson, even after you have parked the SUV in your garage.
So, if you are someone who wants that your next SUV should look Urbane, should look sophisticated from the word go, should have power to carry you comfortably from place A to place B and to top it up, should look premium.
Then I think, for that you, the Tucson is the best of both the worlds.