Photographs by Aniruddh Kaushal
The new Hyundai Tucson (okay not so new, but it isn’t old yet), is one of my favourite cars of the lot being sold as soft-roaders in the country. So if you think this article is biased, you have been warned. But if you keep an open mind, I’m sure you’ll agree with me by the end of it.
Although there’s no change in its look, with the 4WD variant, I can’t possibly miss a chance to talk about its design. Yes, that’s because I think it looks fantastic. To pull off something so good looking, and in an SUV no less, deserves immense praise. Some may feel the Tucson looks like a smaller Sante Fe, but even they can’t say it isn’t a good-looking car. The squared off wheel arches and ‘Z-shape’ shoulder crease down the car’s flanks successfully give you the impression the Tucson is moving while it’s stationary. The rounded rear end looks smart, and the LED tail lamps leave you in no doubt that this is a Hyundai. I remember the sketches before the car was launched, and the Tucson is one of those rare cars that looks even better in reality than the sketches.
The 4WD variant gets the same engine as the 2WD, the punchy 2.0-litre CRDi diesel which makes 182 bhp and 40 kgm, and despite the added weight it doesn’t feel underpowered. Even with the 4WD, and despite my love for its looks, the Tucson is not a hardcore off-roader. The 4WD is more of an on-demand feature, which sends power to the rear wheels when it senses the front wheels are struggling. Yes, you can engage the 4WD in lock ensuring all wheels get power, in case you find yourself on not so sure footing, and the car will deliver. Just remember to go not go too hardcore.
The 4WD variant only comes with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, which works well as long as you aren’t in a rush. There’s also a Sport mode, for those urgent times, though it’s a bit jerky in Sport mode. On most days, you wont really need the Sport mode. Triple digit speeds are a breeze in the regular driving mode. The 4WD variant, being on top of the pyramid, gets all the fancy features you may want, along with traction control, hill hold assist, downhill assist and electronic stability control. The cabin is exceptionally quiet for a diesel motor and I’m sure long journeys will be a breeze.
The question at the end of the day is whether you should shell out an extra Rs 3 lakh over the 2WD GLS variant, for the 4WD. As much as I love the Tucson, I think you’d be better off saving that extra money. Unless your daily commute involves very bad roads or you live in Cherrapunji, where you may need the extra traction, the 2WD Tucson should suffice. Or if you’re one of those people who always wants the top of the line, the best of the best; then the Tucson 4WD starts to make sense. And trust me, you will not regret it one bit.
Hyundai Tucson 4WD
Displacement: 2.0L, 4-cyl diesel
Max power: 182 bhp @ 4000 rpm
Max torque: 40 kgm @ 1,7500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
F/R: 225/55 R18
L/W/H (mm): 4475/1850/1660
Ground clearance: N/a
Kerb weight: 1583 kg
Fuel capacity: 62 litres
PRICE: Rs 25.44 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
[This originally appeared in the June issue of Motoring World]