MANILA, Philippines - With its functional styling, solid build quality, a choice between fuel-efficient gasoline and common-rail diesel engines, and a price tag that’s hard to beat, the Hyundai Tucson has been a perennial hot-seller in the compact SUV stakes.
And while that state of affairs might cause some automakers to rest on their laurels, Hyundai had absolutely no intention of doing so. Hence the head-turning all-new 2010 Tucson that was unveiled to much Gary V.-led song-and-dance fanfare last week at the A. Venue hall in Makati Ave.
With its provocative front end and curvaceous lines, the 2010 Tucson’s head-turning styling should handily vault it to the top of the wishlist of people shopping for a compact SUV. The flowing and graceful design starts at the front with a sexy hood character line, followed by a “Z” form side character line that exhibits a strong and artistic 3-dimensional embellishment for a dynamic sports car-like profile.
This sporty theme is continued at the rear, with sharp-looking taillights, an oversized two-tone rear bumper, a rear spoiler, and a sloping backlight.
Putting even more attitude to the all-new Tucson’s style is Hyundai’s new design identity – a hexagonal grille in chrome and high-gloss black. Tracing its roots to the Hyundai ix-onic concept previewed at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show, this design is the new defining face of Hyundai’s family of future automobiles, beginning with the all-new Tucson.
Inside the new Tucson’s much roomier cabin, full-leather seats and other fine touches work with advanced NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) countermeasures for a quieter and more luxurious drive. This includes strengthening major stress points such as the engine bay and rear wheel housing, as well as applying soundproofing to specific parts like the rear quarter panel to efficiently shut out road noise while on the move.
The dash features a futuristic X design center fascia with black, high-gloss metallic paint that accents controls and switches and a 4-spoke steering wheel in leather and metallic accents.
Housed in the center fascia is a premium 7-speaker subwoofer-equipped sound system with 6-CD changer and multimedia (iPod/USB) capabilities. Hyundai’s signature blue illumination is applied for all instruments and gauges while a trip computer monitors instant fuel consumption, driving range with fuel onboard, among other things.
The Tucson rides on a MacPherson strut front suspension and a multilink rear suspension. It rolls on big 18-inch alloy wheels.
The all-new Tucson is powered by either of two continuously variable valve timing-equipped (D-CVVT) gasoline engines: Hyundai’s Theta II 2.4-liter (4WD) and Theta II 2.0-liter (2WD) motors. The Tucson’s 2.4-liter engine churns out 177ps at 6,000 rpm and maximum torque of 23.1kg-m at 4,000 rpm.
The 2.0-liter engine, on the other hand, develops 166ps at 6,200 rpm, and 20.1 kg-m of torque at 4,600 rpm. That’s a 24.6-percent increase in power compared with the 2.0-liter Beta engine of the previous Tucson.
Performance is upgraded in both engine variants thanks to a two-stage Variable Intake System (VIS) that allows switching between long and short-intake manifolds resulting in optimized engine breathing for maximum power.
All-aluminum in design with a stainless steel exhaust manifold, the Tucson’s new timing chain-equipped Theta II engines are now lighter and much more durable compared to the timing belt-quipped Beta 2.0-liter engine of the previous model.
Fitted with Electronic Throttle Control, these engines offer faster response and more accurate air/fuel ratio, thus improving vehicle drivability and fuel economy.
Both engines are paired with a class-leading 6-speed automatic (with Hyundai’s H-matic Shiftronic manumatic system) while a 5-speed manual is available on the 2-liter variant only. Developed over a four-year period, the new 6-speed automatic transmission is 12 kg lighter and more compact than the 5-speed automatic it replaces, enhancing fuel efficiency and space utilization. The performance of the new automatic alone is responsible for a 12.2-percent improvement in fuel consumption compared to the old model.
Body rigidity is reinforced with extensive use of ultra-high-tensile strength steel. In crash tests, the Tucson scored a five-star rating in Euro NCAP testing for both frontal and side impacts. An Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with ABS actively controls engine torque and applies optimum brake-force distribution under critical situations.
Other functions added to the ESP include the Downhill Brake Control (DBC) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which helps the driver maintain vehicle control and speed on downhill descents, and minimize backward rolling on steep ascents, respectively.
Front and rear disc brakes, dual front airbags, side and curtain airbags, active headrest, ECM rearview mirror, auto light control, LED-type signal lamps on the electric folding outside side mirrors, and safety power windows complete the new Tucson’s safety features.
The new Tucson comes in Vanilla White, Sleek Silver, Gray Titanium, Phantom Black and Silky Bronze. The prices are P988,000 for the 2.0 GL M/T 2WD, P1,038,000 for the 2.0 GL A/T 2WD, P1,158,000 for the 2.0 GLS A/T 2WD, and P1,458,000 for the 2.4 GLS A/T 4WD.