The Tucson showcases most of Hyundai’s key strengths — refinement, quality, equipment and reasonable maintenance costs
Hyundai’s flagship SUV in India, the Tucson, has received a mid-cycle update bringing with it BS6 engines and a new automatic gearbox with the diesel engine.
Hyundai has not made any drastic changes to the design, but they have freshened up the SUV’s look. The ‘cascading’ grille is sharper and finished in chrome and gloss black, the headlamps are now full LED, and there is a new DRL signature around the fog lamps. You will also find new 18-inch alloy wheels, and at the rear there has been a slight reprofiling of the bumper besides the addition of part-LED tail-lamps.
There are changes to the dashboard design as well. It now features a curvier layout with a thick band of double-stitched faux leather running across the centre, and a new free-standing 8.0-inch touchscreen. And, though the faux leather on the dash adds some class, it has to be said that in this price range buyers would expect a little more.
Interior space continues to be one of the Tucson’s USPs. The rear seat is wide enough to seat three comfortably, knee room is excellent and headroom is generous too. You can even recline the rear seat backrest a little for a bit more comfort. However, you sit uncharacteristically low and the windowsills are quite tall. This, combined with the all-black cabin, could reduce the sensation of space slightly.
Moving to the equipment, the big-ticket additions are the powered passenger seat which is also height adjustable, a wireless mobile phone charger, BlueLink connected car tech and a panoramic sunroof. But one recent Hyundai staple that is missed is ventilated front seats.
Other features include auto headlamps and wipers, keyless entry, dual-zone auto climate control, driving modes, a powered tailgate with hands-free opening, and a new eight-speaker sound system from Infinity.
Moving to the engines, Hyundai has ditched the manual gearboxes altogether. The 2.0-litre petrol engine now comes with a 6-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox as standard while the 2.0-litre diesel, which we drove, gets a new 8-speed automatic unit. The engine is smooth and largely refined with a bit of a grumble that is audible high in the rev range.
The Tucson’s healthy outputs of 185hp and 400Nm remain the same, and the engine is nice and responsive off the line; the shift to BS6 doesn’t seem to have dampened things too much at all. It is not particularly rev-happy, but you still get quite a satisfying shove as you power through the mid-range.
In terms of performance, the Tucson is quicker than before with our tests showing a 0.3 second improvement in the sprint to 100kph, and in-gear acceleration figures almost a second quicker. Compared to the old 6-speed auto, the new 8-speeder shuffles through the gears seamlessly and, save for the odd time it was a little slow to downshift at low speeds, it almost always has just the right gear for any situation.
As before, the Tucson diesel remains great for long highway drives. It is set up quite softly and this allows for great bump absorption at low speeds. It is, however, not an enthusiastic handler, and there is a fair amount of understeer and quite a bit of body roll when driven enthusiastically. The steering puts on a good amount of weight as you go faster.
Priced from ₹22.3 lakh to a not-inconsiderable ₹27.03 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Tucson sits in proper premium SUV territory. This is a big and comfortable, 5-seat family SUV with most of Hyundai’s key strengths — refinement, quality, equipment and reasonable maintenance costs — getting you a lot of Hyundai for your money.