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Driven: All-new Hyundai Tucson touches down

Hyundai cements its push upmarket with all-new, comprehensively equipped Tucson

7 May 2021

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has accelerated its ambition to move its product lines upmarket with arguably its most important mainstream model – the all-new Tucson medium SUV.


Now into its fourth generation, Hyundai’s new NX4 Tucson is underpinned by a wealth of active-safety technology (including several class firsts), a newfound focus on leading-edge design and comprehensive levels of equipment, starting at $34,500 plus on-road costs.


That price is for the entry-level model simply called Tucson, which features a revised 115kW/192Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated, multi-point-injected four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive and a standard six-speed automatic transmission.


A six-speed manual will no longer be offered – it previously made up less than four per cent of Tucson volume in Australia.


In an effort to provide a more egalitarian approach to equipment levels and corresponding drivetrain configurations, HMCA will also be offering the front-drive 2.0-litre auto in mid-spec Tucson Elite ($39,000 plus on-road costs) and top-spec Highlander ($46,000 plus on-road costs) trim levels.


And in a similar fashion, come July/August, an optional N-Line package will become available – offered on every Tucson model grade, regardless of drivetrain.


Costing $3500 extra on a Tucson, $2000 extra on a Tucson Elite and $1000 extra on a Tucson Highlander, the N-Line package introduces bespoke front and rear bumpers with sports detailing, a gloss-black grille, LED head- and tail-lights, side skirts, colour-coded wheelarch trim, twin-pipe exhaust outlet, unique 19-inch alloy wheels, leather and suede upholstery, a 10.25-inch LCD instrument cluster, N-Line skid plates and N-Line badging.


Uniquely, Tucson Elite and Tucson Highlander will also be available with all-wheel drive. Featuring either a new-generation 132kW/265Nm 1.6-litre direct-injection, turbo-petrol four cylinder tied to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or a heavily revised 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder (now with an alloy block, saving 20kg in weight) mated to a new eight-speed automatic, these drivetrains command a $4000 or $6000 premium respectively over the FWD 2.0-litre.


Official combined fuel consumption is rated at 8.1 litres per 100km for the 2.0-litre, 7.2L/100km for the 1.6-litre turbo, and 6.3L/100km for the 2.0-litre diesel.


The delayed turbo-petrol is due to arrive in a month’s time (June) while the turbo-diesel is scheduled to land at the beginning of the third quarter (around July/August).


In terms of additional value, it’s the base Tucson that has been elevated most significantly – priced bang-on where the majority of Tucson volume previously occurred (around the $33-34K mark).


Replacing both the former TL Tucson Active and Active X variants, the new $34,500 Tucson costs $2360 more than its Active X 2.0 FWD auto equivalent but features an extensive new suite of safety gear, including a centre-front airbag, blind-spot collision avoidance (a segment first), intelligent speed-limit assist, forward collision junction and turning assist, leading vehicle departure alert, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and safe-exit assist.


That is in addition to new auto-folding door mirrors, 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia with Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay and four USB ports (two front, two rear), tyre-pressure monitoring, premium slush-moulded dashboard and door trims with cloth inserts, and a Drive Mode selector.


The base Tucson also features 17-inch alloys (including a full-size alloy spare), roof racks, a leather steering wheel, power driver’s lumbar support, an acoustic windscreen, rear-seat air vents, and a rear camera and parking sensors.


The Elite expands on that with 18-inch alloys (with full-size alloy spare), keyless entry/start, rain-sensing wipers, fully flush 10.25-inch multimedia system with embedded navigation, wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, perforated leather seats, front seat heating, electric driver’s seat adjustment, dual-zone climate control with multi-air ‘diffuser’ (a segment first), rear privacy glass, advanced rear-seat alert, front parking sensors, auto up/down rear windows, and ‘shift-by-wire’ push-button gear selector (as well as paddle shifters) on 1.6T and 2.0 CRDi models.


For its additional $7K, the Highlander gains 19-inch alloys (with full-size alloy spare), LED head- and tail-lights, dark-chrome grille, electrochromatic mirror, LED cabin lighting, LED ambient mood lighting, a panoramic glass sunroof, 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, ventilated front seats, two-position driver’s seat memory, electric passenger’s seat with walk-in function (a segment first), a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats.


The Highlander also gains Bose premium sound with eight speakers and amplifier (six speakers on the other two variants), a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitor (on both sides of the car – a segment first), remote smart park assist (diesel only – also a segment first), parking collision avoidance assist and a power tailgate.


Eight colours will be offered, including Shimmering Silver, Amazon Grey, Silky Bronze, Deep Sea Blue, Titan Grey, White Cream, Phantom Black and Crimson Red (N-Line only). The Highlander also offers two interior trim colours – light grey leather or brown leather.


Chief competition for the NX4 Tucson will be from Toyota’s RAV4 and Mazda’s CX-5. The base Tucson ($34,500) competes against the RAV4 GX 2.0 ($34,695) and CX-5 Maxx 2.0 auto ($33,190), while the Tucson Elite 1.6T AWD ($43,000) is up against the RAV4 GXL Hybrid e-Four ($42,915) and CX-5 Touring 2.5 AWD ($41,280).


The Tucson Highlander 2.0D AWD’s ($52,000) main rivals include the RAV4 2.5 Edge AWD ($48,915) and Mazda CX-5 Akera Diesel ($52,380).


HMCA expects the Australian model split to favour the base Tucson (50 per cent), followed by the Elite (30 per cent) and Highlander (20 per cent).


Once the N-Line comes on stream, HMCA expects up to 50 per cent of Aussie Tucson buyers to select the optional package.


In terms of drivetrain mix, the front-drive 2.0-litre is expected to make up 60 per cent of total sales, with the 1.6 turbo-petrol and 2.0 turbo-diesel split equally (20 per cent each).


To the end of April, HMCA has sold 3578 examples of the Tucson, down slightly on the 4120 examples sold to the same point last year.


2021 Hyundai Tucson pricing*

Tucson (a) $34,500
Elite 2.0 MPi (a) $39,000
Elite 1.6 T-GDi (a) $43,000
Elite 2.0 CRDi $45,000
Highlander 2.0 MPi (a) $46,000
Highlander 1.6 T-GDi (a) $50,000
Highlander 2.0 CRDi (a) $52,000

*Excludes on-road costs

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