It’s easy to forget that the Hyundai Tucson is one of the original crossover SUVs in Malaysia. I only partly remember the first-gen test drive unit I had back in 2005/2006 – it was either light grey (or light blue), and while it did not thoroughly impress, it took to the road well enough.
The generous amount of plastic cladding that went along the entire length of the vehicle’s flanks made it look sort of weird, but above everything else it took some time before I got to drill home the pronunciation of its name (even if Tuck-son seemed perfectly okay).
Now the ‘tü-sän’ is in its third-generation and has lost the ambiguity of being a crossover. It’s a double-edged sword, however, as while SUVs rule the world, the Hyundai also faces incredibly tough competition from every other manufacturer in the market. Even sister company Kia puts up a very decent fight with the Sportage.
There are two variants offered by Hyundai-Sime Darby (HSDM), one being our test-car’s 2.0 Elegance and the other a 1.6 Turbo. As you can imagine, the latter is the one to get.
But that’s RM20k more than the naturally aspirated 2-litre variant and its RM123,888 price tag (insurance excluded). With 155ps (153hp) and 192Nm of torque (to the front wheels) there’s plenty to go around. The six-speed automatic gearbox is decent enough although it does not compare to the best auto boxes in the market right now.
It drives rather well once on the move although like the Tucson before this, the powertrain feels a bit rough during slow speeds. It gets better after a few kilometres though, so perhaps it’s a heat thing.
The steering is electric making manoeuvring the Tucson easy, and also helps with fuel consumption. I got high 11L/100km according to the on-board display, but more, urmm, calm driving should bring that down a fair bit. Not bad for an NA engine lugging 1,500kg+ of SUV with conventional automatic plus passengers.
Those who follow Top Gear’s Instagram (that’s topgear_malaysia, btw) may have seen in our stories where I expressed some disappointment about the Tucson not having keyless entry and start/stop button. Truth is this is just a slight problem, only that most modern cars have this feature. Of course, the 1.6 Turbo gets both, along with other features
You still get the same safety features as the Turbo including Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-Start Assist, and ESC. DRL and leather seats are standard too, unfortunately missing out on the LED headlights (projection halogen for the 2.0).
Also, just a single USB port is not what I had expected even if you can still use the two 12V sockets for charging devices. The audio system is Android Auto ready, as with Apple CarPlay, the latter accepting even third-party cables too which is a big positive.
All in all, the Tucson 2.0 Elegance is a decent drive. At this price, it does face a list of tough and competent competition. Perhaps, the free 3-year or 50,000km service maintenance after sales package could sway some buyers. Better yet, try the Tucson 1.6 Turbo.
Good enough on its own, but the 1.6 Turbo gives a more decent fight to others in the segment.
|Engine||1,999cc, 4-cyl, 155ps, 192Nm|
|Economy||11L/100km (as tested)|