The popular Hyundai Tucson has been facelifted for 2018. The Korean brand has trimmed its family car range and the updated model incorporates a handful of changes in terms of appearance, trim and specification. We drove the facelifted model at its local launch in the Western Cape.
The Tucson is one of Hyundai's more popular models (alongside the compact Creta) and a strong contender in the hotly contested compact SUV segment. It's an interesting segment, in which Toyota, Volkswagen and Mazda all vie for the top spot with the RAV4, Tiguan and CX-5 respectively. The Tucson is hard on their heels and with this latest update, could further dent its rivals' sales. Since its launch back in 2016, the Tucson has garnered over 13 500 sales, which is impressive.
The facelifted Hyundai Tucson has received a new look, complete with these attractive alloys.
Before we dive into the physical changes, let's discuss the changes to the Tucson line-up. The manual 1.7-litre turbodiesel Executive derivative has been dropped, as has the manual 1.6 TGDI Executive. In their place comes the 2.0 Executive automatic derivative, as well as a new 2.0 Executive 8-speed automatic, which sits at the top of the pile.
Meanwhile, the Executive and Elite spec levels incorporate some changes. Executive derivatives now feature leather trim, an electrically adjustable driver's seat, climate control, rear parking assistance with a reverse-view camera, ESP, Hill Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Traffic Alert, and 18-inch alloys. Elite derivatives further feature a panoramic sunroof, LED headlamps, an electrically-adjustable front passenger seat, keyless entry and start, as well as new 19-inch wheels.
In terms of looks, the Tucson has been revised substantially. The front end sports Hyundai's signature cascading grille, new-look headlights, fog lamps and skid plates. The rear gains revised tail-light clusters, as well as a neater twin exhaust, plus the new alloy wheel designs are particularly attractive. Inside, there's a completely redesigned dashboard, which now features a floating 7-inch infotainment screen, which supports Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
The Tucson has never been skint on safety features and the facelifted version is no different. There are 6 airbags, ISOfix child seat anchor points at the back and, depending on trim, Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Detection, Vehicle Stability Management and Hill Start Assist.
The floating touchscreen is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatible.
What's It Like To Drive?
On the launch, we had the opportunity to drive the second-from-top 1.6-litre turbo with 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. With peak outputs of 130 kW and 265 Nm, the Tucson feels quite spritely, thanks mostly to its transmission, which does a fine job of seamlessly swapping cogs.
Overtaking is a simple affair too: the 'box eagerly shifts down a ratio or 2, so that the turbopetrol engine can transmit all 265 Nm to the tarmac. The peak torque may not sound all that generous, but then the Tucson doesn't have as much heft to shift as you may expect. Having said that, if you were to add a quartet of passengers and a trailer (the Tucson does boast a 750-kg unbraked tow rating), we think some of that in-gear urge would be lost. Good thing there's a torquey turbodiesel alternative!
The facelifted Tucson receives new headlights and revised tail lights.
The Tucson is underpinned by a fully independent suspension and it exhibits a pliant ride quality; one senses this car will offer comfortable accommodation on a long road trip. Noise insulation is pretty good too (even when approaching the national speed limit) and when driven enthusiastically, delivers sure-footed handling. Granted, the average Tucson owner isn't going to be THAT performance-minded, but its reassuring to know that if you are in a hurry, the Tucson is sufficiently wieldy for a family car.
Speaking of performance, during the launch Hyundai SA mentioned how successful the locally developed pre-facelift Tucson Sport was (600 units were sold); the firm is considering the introduction of new-spec Sport early next year. We also drove the Tucson on a gravel road during the event and found it performed admirably, even if we don't recommend that you subject the beautiful new wheels to potholes.
Inside, the new-look interior feels modern and well up to date, and we effortlessly hooked up our smartphone to the infotainment system via the easy-to-access USB port. Thanks to the system's Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, you can tap into Google Maps and Apple Maps, which of course does away with the need for onboard navigation.
The range has been trimmed and the 1.7-litre turbodiesel is gone
With the battle for supremacy in the family car segment showing no signs of abating (quite the opposite, in fact), Hyundai needed to update its Tucson. The Korean firm has done so successfully, by imbuing its SUV with some stylish updates and bringing in Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, which will please the always-connected generation. The powertrains are still commendable, the build quality remains good and the overall comfort is nothing less than impressive. We're looking forward to evaluating the updated Tucson in-depth, but right now, at face value, we're satisfied with the latest round of updates.
Hyundai Tucson Price in South Africa (September 2018)
Tucson 2.0 Premium MT R399 900
Tucson 2.0 Premium AT R419 900
Tucson 2.0 Executive AT R459 900
Tucson 2.0 Elite AT R499 900
Tucson R2.0 Executive 8AT2 Dsl R529 900
Tucson 1.6 TGDI Elite 7DCT2 R559 900
Tucson R2.0 Elite 8AT2 Dsl R569 900