What is it?
It’s been two years since the Hyundai Tucson re-entered the Indian market. And so far it has done reasonably well. Now, with monthly sales hovering around 200 units, we won’t call it a runaway success. But, since the addition of the all-wheel drive version, especially in the lower priced trim, the demand for the SUV has seen more consistent.
The Tucson you see here, though, is the facelifted version. It will go on sale in India in the second half of 2019. But, unlike the car we drove which is powered by a 1.6-litre diesel, the Indian facelift will continue to get the 2-litre drivetrain fuelled by both diesel and petrol. And, of course, the all-wheel drive versions will continue to be on sale as well.
For 2019, the Tucson gets styling tweaks both inside and out. Outside, the shape of the headlamps hasn’t changed much, but these are all-LED units now. Well, at least in the top of the line spec, they are. The grille has been redesigned, and it is more in line with what we have seen on the new Xcent and the Verna. Bumpers too are new, and Hyundai has changed the design for the wheels, the tailgate and the fuel filler cap.
Inside, the biggest change is around the dashboard; specifically, the multi-media screen. In the current car, the screen is integrated in the dash. But, the facelift uses a floating tablet design. Not only does this give the Tucson´s interiors an air of freshness, I thought it helped improve the visibility as well. And, of course, the new screen gets better graphics and nicer touchscreen response.
Now, the car we drove had some features we might not get in India, like lane change assist and adaptive cruise control. But, otherwise, it’s mostly the same. The quality, the ergonomics, the feature-list, as well as the convenience of cups and bottle holders and storage spaces are identical to the current car. If you don’t remember what all that’s like in the current car, here’s our detailed breakdown on it.
How does it drive?
Not much has changed when it comes to mechanicals on the new car either. It still uses the same suspension, the same tyre sizes, and the same steering. However, the suspension has been tweaked in favour of better dynamics.
So, the Tucson facelift has a hint of stiffness to its ride over smaller bumps, but that hasn’t compromised its ability to take on the larger bumps or potholes. It still goes through them without severely crashing or rocking about. What hasn’t changed though is the Tucson’s quiet ride, planted straight-line stability and a steering that one wouldn’t exactly call communicative. And it’s still no ballet dancer around a twisty road. But, it doesn’t roll around excessively either.
The engine on the car we are driving is completely different from the one we get in India. This one is a 1.6-litre diesel. And it’s pretty similar to the one powering the Elantra in India. It has exactly the same bore and stroke dimensions, but under the hood of the Tucson, it makes more power and torque. The max power is rated at 136bhp while the peak torque is a healthy 300Nm.
On the road though, the 1.6 feels slower and less exciting than the 2-litre diesel. The lower power to weight ratio compared to the Indian model isn’t as telling in city traffic or during an 80kmph highway cruise. However, get to a winding road, or try and accelerate in a hurry and the difference is telling. Not that we can term the 1.6’s performance as sluggish, but for a car this size, we think we’d stick with the 2-litre diesel.
Worth waiting for?
We won’t be getting the 1.6-litre diesel in India, which is good news. But, the not so good news is that we won’t be getting the 7-speed dual clutch auto either. The car we drove had one. And, compared to the auto ‘box on the Indian Tucson, the DCT shifts quicker and responds to throttle inputs with more consistency and readiness. We will, instead, continue to get the 6-speed torque convertor.
As far as other changes go, the telling differences are the tablet-like screen for the multi-media system, the all-LED head lamps for the top trims, new suspension setup that has reduced the wallowing, and new bumpers and a tail gate that certainly look nicer than the current car. But, are these improvements big enough to hold your buying decision for another year?
We are not so sure. What’s more, come 2021-22, we will be getting the new generation Tucson. And that will certainly be worth buying. It will be longer and wider. It will seat seven as standard. And, with higher localisation to stay true to the made-in-India mandate, it will also come with a competitive price tag; even with all the additions.