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The Hyundai Tucson has since 2017 been the flagship vehicle for the South Korea-based carmaker in India. With SUVs continuing to be the bestselling models for the Seoul-based carmaker, the third-gen Tucson seemed to be the odd child in the carmaker's lineup with its frankly dated looks.
Now, with Hyundai India continuing its recovery post the ravages of the pandemic, the carmaker is looking to the premium (the non-German section) segment to dial up its image and the new Hyundai Tucson looks to do just that.
With its flamboyantly extroverted exterior design, a minimalist interior with a few quirks of its own and a focus on tech like never before, the new 4th-gen Hyundai Tucson looks ready to butt heads once again in the D-segment SUV category.
So do the new 'look at me' design and the driver aids and addition of all-wheel drive make the new Tucson a serious new offering in its segment, or is it just the case of the Emperor's New Clothes in real life? We drove the new Hyundai Tucson around Bangalore to find out for ourselves...
Hyundai Tucson Exterior Design - Extroverted Extreme
Don't get us wrong, the previous-gen Tucson wasn't a boring SUV to look at, but it was a bit on the bland side. The new Tucson, on the other hand is anything but bland.
Like a new initiate into the world of punk rock, the new Tucson can be considered the one with the craziest mohawk. The Tucson takes Hyundai's Sensuous Sportiness design language to the max which is quite evident when you look at the new SUV from the front.
The massive dark chrome grille up at the front has a few magic tricks of its own. The daytime running lights are integrated into the colossus of a grille and become visible only when switched on. The sections at the edges of the grille play host to the turn signals. The bonnet also features a few bulges and sharp lines that give the Tucson an even more sporty look.
The headlights, like on smaller Hyundai SUVs currently on sale in the country are demoted to the lower sections of the front bumper. The lowest section of the front bumper also features plastic cladding which extends around the sides and to the rear of the new Tucson. Also seen are vents to let in air to the engine.
Switch to the sides of the Tucson and your eyes are drawn to the bulbous wheel arches which play host to 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels. As always there is chrome around the window surrounds though this expands outwards towards the rear windscreen. Multiple character lines can be seen on the sides of the Tucson which enhance the sculpted look of the SUV.
The rear section of the Tucson is dominated by the LED light show that are the connected brake lights. The Hyundai badge rests on the raked rear windscreen and the spoiler element also sports an additional brake light. Also seen is a bash plate in silver, similar to the one at the front of the new Tucson.
Hyundai Tucson Interior Design & Features - Minimalist Tranquility
Pull on the body-coloured door handles and you'll be greeted by a minimalist interior which has a few tricks of its own. The insides of the Tucson feel airy which is enhanced by the large panoramic sunroof that enhances the feel of spaciousness inside the Tucson (the India-spec Tucson is the extended wheelbase model). Adding to the premium feel of the interior is the use of soft-touch materials across the cabin which feels very sturdily built.
The leatherette seats are large and feel quite comfortable to ride in and for those at the front, there is even ventilation and heating. And to ensure that the family squabble over the driver's seat position being all wrong there is even a memory function for the 10-way adjustable power seat that also features lumbar support.
Those sitting at the back shouldn't really worry much about comfort as the rear seats are reclinable which combined with the extended wheelbase means that stretching out at the rear is quite easily possible. This is aided by the ability to move the front passenger's seat forward at the press of a few buttons.
For those looking to escape on a weekend road trip, there is ample space in the boot, 539 litres to be precise, for the family range of luggage and edible. And if you're just taking the family to the mall and back, the powered tailgate ensures that struggling with all the shopping can become a thing of the past.
The Hyundai Tucson's multi-layered dashboard looks rather cool and extra air vents for the dual-zone climate control system open up only when the HVAC setup diffusion system is turned on. Think of it like a party trick to keep the newbies entertained.
The dash plays host to two large 10.25 inch displays, one floating behind the steering wheel and the other embedded into the central section of the dash and pointed towards the driver. The driver's display's graphics change depending on the selected driving mode, something that can be done at the flick of a switch on the central tunnel section.
The infotainment display is large and quite easy to use and features support for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with Hyundai's Bluelink suite of connected car apps that make everyday living with the Tucson a very easy task indeed while connecting you to the world on the go. The premium 8-speaker Bose Audio system is top-notch and wafts out your tunes with ease.
Hyundai Tucson Safety - No Chances Taken
The Tucson comes packed with an array of safety features (60+ according to Hyundai) which include six airbags, all wheel disc brakes, parking assist, reverse parking camera with guidelines, rain sensing wipers, downhill brake control, ESC, and a tyre pressure monitoring system among others.
The Tucson comes stocked with Hyundai's SmartSense Level 2 ADAS system that includes features like Blind-spot assistance, Driver attention warning, Smart cruise control, Forward collision warning, Lane following assist, High beam assist and a surround view monitor among others. In our limited period of testing, we really were not able to able to fully test the ADAS systems to the test, though the surround view system did come in handy when reversing in and out of spaces.
Hyundai Tucson Engine & Transmission Options - 2 Litre Automatic Duality
The Hyundai Tucson for India is offered with singular petrol and diesel four bangers that both displace 2.0-litres.
The petrol engine on the Tucson produces 154bhp at 6,200rpm and 192Nm of peak torque at 4,500rpm. The engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic torque converter gearbox. The petrol Tucson is only offered as front-wheel drive offering.
The diesel version of the Tucson (the one we drove) is a turbocharged four banger that cranks out 184bhp at 4,00rpm and 416Nm of peak torque between 2,000 and 2,700rpm. The engine is paired with an 8-speed torque converter automatic transmission and the diesel Tucson is offered in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive offerings.
Hyundai Tucson Driving Impressions - Torque Punch
We drove the 2.0-litre turbo diesel powered version of the Tucson and found it to be quite a punchy four banger that when combined with the 8-speed auto box seemed quite eager to shift through the gears in a hurry. At higher speeds, the engine does tend to let you know that it is a diesel despite the excellent NVH levels of the cabin.
The torque converter transmission quietly goes about its work in the background, and you barely notice it shifting through the gears, while driving around normally. However, floor the throttle and it'll quite readily shift down a gear or two to allow the engine to fully access its torque nature.
There are four driving modes on offer for all versions of the Tucson - Eco, Normal, Sport and Smart. In Eco mode, the throttle response is rather lazy and you barely feel the steering weight while Normal slightly improves things. In Sport mode, the response from the loud pedal is immediate and the steering weighs up well enough to give you a slight workout and helps inspire confidence when tackling corners.
Speaking about corners, while the SUV's suspension setup doesn't really prove mind helping it around a corner (aided by the low body roll and the large tyres), the setup is on the softer side. While this is brilliant on well paved roads and regular speeds, trying to go quickly over a bump is not something we would recommend. Go over a bump or cracked surface at higher speeds and the impacts can be felt inside the cabin.
The Tucson features disc brakes on all four wheels. The brakes feel quite progressive and offer good bite but getting used to the travel of the pedal can take a little time to get used to.
The Tucson also features all-wheel drive in its top-spec diesel variant and while we doubt many owners will take the SUV off the beaten path, the Hyundai felt quite manageable in the few sections of rough stuff that we made it endure.
Thoughts About The Hyundai Tucson - Extroverted For A Reason
The 4th generation of the Hyundai Tucson has arrived in India and its blaring visual soundtrack may seem a bit too over the top for those who prefer to be discreet.
However, the new Hyundai Tucson does have reasons to shout as it packs quite a punch and has a variety of tech and other features meant to keep those on the inside as safe and pampered as possible. If you want the best that Hyundai has to offer in India, the Tucson is it.