When our previous Motoring Editor got the nod to travel to Tucson, Arizona in the US of A to drive the first-generation Hyundai Tucson, I remember thinking that it was a long way to go to drive a rather bland looking and somewhat mediocre SUV.
I also truly hoped the copious amounts of Mexican beer and food on offer would stave off what I believed was going to be a slow and painful death by PowerPoint for him. Thankfully I was right, the beer worked!
Fast forward a bunch of years and the fourth generation Hyundai Tucson has just been launched locally, and things could not be more different.
Beer is no longer required to dull your senses as Hyundai has evolved from a somewhat niche brand in South Africa that offered budget cars, to a world class organisation offering reliable, sought-after, high-quality vehicles across the entire motoring spectrum.
The Tucson itself has truly transformed into a stylish and tech-laden offering that should sit right near the top of any family’s shopping list today.
And to test out the family theory out for myself, I was the first one with my hand up when it came to allocating me the top-of-the-range 2.0D Elite for the week and a long weekend that involved a trip to the other side of the world for some overpriced frozen yogurt, balanced by fresh air out on the trails South of Joburg on my mountain bike as a bonus.
From the outside, the new Tucson looks smaller than it is, and after the positive comments about the styling, the next compliment came in the form of my girls being impressed with the interior space. And they were right, this new Tucson is 150 mm longer, 15 mm wider, and the wheelbase is 85 mm longer than the previous generation.
Boot space is up to 539-litres with the seats up and 1 860-litres with them down – enough to gobble up my mountain bike without having to remove the front wheel.
Staying inside you will immediately notice the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster that replaces the old analogue unit, followed by the new touchscreen in the centre console.
Under the skin so to speak, you have three-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is there too with the convenience of a wireless charging pad in the centre console to compliment the front and rear USB ports. This is one modern, quality finished interior that does not have to bow down to anything on offer from the competition.
Getting out on the road, you have a 2.0-litre turbodiesel driving 137 kW of power and 416 Nm of torque to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
I had absolutely zero complaints when it came to the drive of this SUV. Smooth as can be with more than enough urge for everyday motoring, and a fuel consumption of 7.2-litres per 100 km to match, I am not sure what more you would want.
Now, I don’t have to tell you our roads are dangerous, and none more so than over a long weekend. Social media was full of pics of scenes where drivers had obliterated themselves, their cars and others all over the place.
I was truly thankful for the full suite of active safety and driving features found on the new Tucson that Hyundai call SmartSense, something that not too many of our drivers are, or have any of.
To further explain this potentially life saving technology, I am taking this straight from the Hyundai media pack as there is no clever way to say this any differently. SmartSense translates into the following:
• Blind-spot Collision Avoidance Assist: uses rear radars to monitor the rear corners. If another vehicle is detected, a visual alert appears on the exterior mirrors. Where necessary, BCA emits an audible warning and applies differential braking.
• Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist: this autonomous braking function can detect cars, pedestrians, and cyclists.
• Lane Keeping Assist: helps prevent accidental lane departure by sensing road markings, automatically steering the vehicle if necessary.
• Lane Follow Assist: automatically adjusts the steering to help keep the vehicle centred in its lane.
• Smart Cruise Control: this regulates vehicle speed and maintains the distance to other vehicles in front
• Rear Cross-traffic Collision Assist: applies the brakes while reversing if a rear collision from a passing vehicle is detected.
• Rear Cross-traffic Alert: reduces the risk of collision with approaching traffic when reversing out of narrow areas with low visibility by alerting through audio and visual warning.
• Fatigue Detection / Driver Attention Warning: is a driver protection feature which helps monitor driving patterns in order to detect fatigued driving and prevent potential accidents.
• High Beam Assist: a system that automatically adjusts the headlamp range (switches between high beam and low beam) according to the brightness of other vehicles and road conditions.
The all-new Hyundai offers a comprehensive package that comes in at R699 900. It includes a seven-year/200 000 km warranty, a six-year/90 000 km service plan and roadside assistance for seven years or 150 000 km. Don’t ignore it!
For more information on the new Hyundai Tucson, click here.