The SUV segment has been witnessing widespread growth in India in recent years and automakers are coming up with more offerings in almost every possible segment and price band in order to entice buyers away from premium saloons. Hyundai India has also tasted success with its highly successful Creta compact SUV which is one of the highest selling cars in the country today. The company also has the flagship Santa Fe premium SUV in its Indian line-up. The Tucson has made a comeback into the Indian market (it was previously discontinued) and has been slotted into the gap that exists between the Santa Fe and Creta, completing Hyundai’s SUV portfolio in the Indian market. The first generation Tucson debuted in the country in the year 2005 but did not find many takers. Hyundai did not launch the second-generation model in the country on account of falling demand. This is the third generation Tucson model that has been launched in the country.
The Hyundai Tucson showcases the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design theme of Hyundai and bears the signature touches of its smaller and bigger siblings, the Creta and Santa Fe. The Tucson however gets detailed dual-barrel LED headlights. The Tucson does not have a massive and butch look like some other SUVs. It looks more like a soft-roader aptly tailored for urban driving. The front fascia gets the signature hexagonal grille from Hyundai along with sweptback headlamps. There is a horizontal line that demarcates the bumper’s lower half while splitting the daytime running lights and fog lamps. There is a rising window line at the back which lends some heft to the SUV’s side profile. The Tucson makes use of 18-inch alloy wheels and comes with 172 mm of ground clearance. The rear styling is clean and pretty neat with the slim LED tail lamps and the tailgate. The design is ideal for people who seek a clean urban SUV.
The Tucson’s interiors look more inspired by the Creta than the Santa Fe. The cabin of the Creta is certainly nice but those who upgrade to the Tucson may expect a little more. The two-tone beige and black dashboard with separation between the entertainment and HVAC units is a nice touch. There is an 8-inch touch screen like the one used in the Elantra and this gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto alike. The dials are nice to read and there is a 4.2-inch color screen placed between the dials for trip computing and other functions. There are two pockets and a USB slot below the HVAC unit. There is a bigger central console box than the Creta along with a different floor-pan for the central console. The multi-function steering wheel comes leather wrapped and so are the transmission knob, armrests and seats.
Interior space is on the brighter side and the rear legroom is really good with reclining seats. The rear seats are set a little lower and with the high window line, the outside view may be a little limited. There is ample boot space of 513 litres which can be accessed through the auto-opening feature like the Elantra where the boot opens in case you stand near it with the key on your person. The boot can be increased with the 60:40 split rear seating.
The automatic variant gets 6 airbags with only two airbags for the manual variant. There is ABS with EBD as a standard feature while the top end trim has hill start, electronic stability control and brake assist in tandem with downhill brake control. There are parking sensors available for both front and rear in tandem with the rear camera view.
The Tucson gets both petrol and diesel engine options and these can be paired with 6-speed manual or automatic transmission units. The petrol is the same 2.0 litre engine used in the Elantra and this makes 155 hp and 192 Nm. The extra weight blunts performance of the engine in the Tucson and this is okay for regular driving but performance is compromised. Even in the Sport mode, the car does not feel lively and sound levels do increase with the engine sounding more eager than the actual performance that you get.
The diesel engine is relatively new in Hyundai’s Indian lineup and this R2.0 litre mill makes 185 BHP and 400 Nm. The engine offers refinement and adequate performance. The transmission is on the smoother side and in Sport mode, it works nicely. The diesel engine makes the Tucson a sheer pleasure to drive and absolutely effortless too. Ride quality is good but this is clearly a car that is best pushed mildly and not too hard. There is no sunroof available as well which could have been provided at this price point.
The ride is very comfortable, but the handling doesn’t give in to a very spirited driving. This is a car that does not like to be pushed hard, but can be driven briskly. The steering is well weighted but with a slight vagueness around the straight-ahead position.
The Tucson simply needed something more to create real zing for customers. However, it looks smart and comes with very good features and equipment. There is ample interior space and overall quality is good. However, handling is not very sharp and the petrol engine is a disappointment to drive. The diesel engine, though, is definitely a pleasure to drive and makes the whole thing pretty effortless. The Tucson fits the bill in case you are looking for a premium 5-seater SUV that has all the latest features and offers decent driving quality for weekend trips and city driving alike. However, there are options both at the higher (premium SUVs like Toyota Fortuner & Ford Endeavour) and lower (Mahindra XUV500, Tata Hexa, Hyundai Creta) which may merit a closer look before choosing this one.