This is a SUV that should be selling better, but its sales success was railroaded by the arrival of the Proton X70 earlier this year which competes directly with this Tucson on nearly all levels. So, why are Malaysian SUV buyers in this segment shying away from this Tucson? Simple….there is no ‘talking’ Hi! Hyundai system inside the cabin. Yes, the Hi! Proton GKUI system has been the ‘killer’ feature in making Proton the darling of the SUV segment and so this Tucson and some of the other rivals have had to conduct numerous conference calls with their associates at their respective home factory to comes up with a GKUI rival.
For Hyundai, they should be talking to Samsung on a Joint Venture for all their vehicles to get a GKUI rival installed and quickly as all new Proton products are being installed with GKUI (the revised Iriz, Persona and more recently the 2019 Exora).
Meanwhile, most middle class Malaysian SUV buyers are sticking to Proton’s X70 with GKUI and the rest who do not need a ‘talking’ cabin interface are going into Hyundai showrooms (and the other rivals) and taking ownership.
The Tucson Looks
This Hyundai Tucson continues the trend of incorporating Hyundai’s corporate radiator grille which is large and hexagonal.
We found the dashboard to be very restrained, which can be a good thing. Many car brands see a blank section of dashboard as an area to populate with as many creases, bends and trim pieces as they can but Hyundai has gone instead for the ‘less-is-more’ approach which we feel is better executed over some others.
The interior also carries the ‘modern premium’ brand direction into full swing. Most of the panels are made of high-quality dark plastics save for a few chrome strips. Despite being a ‘compact’ SUV, the Tucson is anything but. Cargo room has been improved to 31 cubic feet while head and legroom are more than adequate for 4-5 adults without pinching comfort.
Performance-wise, we were given ample time to put the car through its paces both on highway stretches and tight urban streets. Our time with the 2WD Nu 2.0 MPI powertrain showed that it had no difficulty at all propelling all 1435kg of the Tucsons weight with its 155 PS and 192 Nm of torque. Drivers should expect a good balance of power delivery and fuel economy thanks to the six-speed automatic gearbox, but don’t expect to take this 2WD Tucson into hardcore off-roading – it’s built as an urban SUV, however with its ride height you can still drive along village roads and farm lanes.
The 2-litre petrol engine fires up quickly and with minimum fuss, and on the move proves a revelation thanks to the low noise and its eagerness to rev. In fact, it will happily spin all the way around to 5,500rpm without complaint, and the rate at which the rev-counter’s needle climbs shows its smooth delivery. The driving experience is backed up by weighty and relatively accurate steering, which mates perfectly with the aforementioned gearbox. There’s a firm edge to the damping, but it never crashes or jars over imperfections and body control is excellent when pushing on. But despite its considerable talents, including a seating position that is neither too high nor too low, it never feels quite as car-like as some of its rivals. However, it feels incredibly grown up, almost from a class above its direct competitors, and we will happily recommend this 2WD SUV on driving experience alone.
Hyundai Tucson Nu 2.0 MPi 2-Wheel Drive Specifications
Engine: In-line 4 direct injection petrol
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Max Power: 155PS @ 6200rpm
Max Torque: 192Nm @ 4,000rpm
Top Speed: NA