Road tests 10.10.2018 12:00 pm

ROAD TEST: Thumbs up for new Hyundai Tucson

Handles bumps with style, with not much body roll on mountainous roads.

As a motoring scribe, I have to drive cars in order to report about them.

So I get to change cars every week and I love what I do.

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I grew up in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, which is about 400km away from our offices in Johannesburg.

Thus, I require a very capable and reliable car to go and visit the family. It was time to head home for the recent long weekend and I was handed the keys to the facelifted Hyundai Tucson 1.6 TGDI Elite.

With 130kW available at 5 500rpm of power and 265Nm of torque at 4 500rpm, this one slots in just below the top-of-the-range R2.0 Elite Turbodiesel automatic model.

The car features a new front and rear end.

It has Hyundai’s signature grille along with a new design headlight, fog lamp, front bumper and skid plate. And it rides exclusively on beautiful 19- inch alloys.

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Inside it features a redesigned dashboard with a floating easy to-use seven-inch screen, a multifunctional leather steering wheel, driver and passenger electrically operated seats plus a panoramic sunroof.

It has a four-cylinder turbopetrol engine plus a new seven-speed DCT gearbox. Leaving on a Friday afternoon, I filled the 62-litre petrol tank, with the driving range estimated at close to 650km.

With five adult passengers in the car, it really attested well in terms of space and the boot, measured at 488 litres, took care of all our luggage.

With two USB ports on offer (one in front and one at the back), Aux and Bluetooth connectivity, we were able charge our phones while on the move, but the lack of a navigation system was disappointing.

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We had to use our phones to navigate to an alternative route after we hit a massive traffic jam.

On the road, the Tucson is a quiet drive although the engine can feel underpowered during overtaking. Even so it possesses enough grunt in all seven gears, thanks to Hyundai not going the CVT way.

Driving through mountainous Barberton roads, the car did not exhibit much body roll.

There is ample grip, even in poor weather conditions and the light steering makes parking the large car an easy task. You get three driving modes: Eco, Comfort and Sport.

I tried all driving modes on the road and I found it best in Comfort mode. Although you might not even consider driving your Tucson on gravel, it handles bumps with style, though you can feel the front tyres fighting to grip over serious bumps.

I managed to average 8.5l/100km, but the numbers would escalate and hover around the 8.9l/100km mark when driving in and around town.

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That is a huge number for a 1.6-litre engine but you still get impressive distance from a single tank.

Safety comes from ESP, Vehicle Stability Management, Blind Spot Detection for side mirrors plus Cross Traffic Alert detectors.

There are driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags that also keep you safe in case of a crash.

It is a great SUV that has it all and Hyundai has done a wonderful job.

My passengers quizzed me about what my choice would be between Tucson and the key rivals.

Well, Hyundai, you have my vote.

What we like.

  • Comfortable, practical SUV.
  • Great interior quality.
  • Punch, enjoyable on the road.

What we do not like.

  • Lack of navigation system.
  • High fuel consumption.

Verdict.

You can’t go wrong with yet another solid SUV from Hyundai.

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