Cars/ First-drive/ Hyundai Tucson – First Drive│The flagship lands in India.

Hyundai Tucson – First Drive│The flagship lands in India.




Did you know that the number of SUVs sold in 2020 was close to 25000, amounting to 22% of the Indian automotive industry? In 2022 this number has come up to 49,000, nearly double the amount in 2020. Currently, the SUV market share is over 41%, and estimated growth is up to 65,000 units by 2025. Catering to the skyrocketing demand for SUVs and premium SUVs in the Indian automotive market, Hyundai has launched their flagship premium SUV in India, known as the Hyundai Tucson. This one is a global bestseller product for Hyundai, and we explore this premium SUV in Nandi Hills, Bangalore. Our drive was made exciting as we drove through windy scenic roads in both the trims offered by Hyundai. 

Strong inside, sporty outside 

Hyundai claims a strong body structure with the hot-stamping application. The body is made of 26.4% mild steel, 17.7% high-strength steel, 15.6% hot stamping, 40.3% advanced high-strength steel and extended application of as high as 74% overall. This rigid, lightweight chassis is aided by HTRAC - All Wheel Drive System with Multi-Terrain modes. Modes include SNOW, MUD, and SAND. While this global bestseller is offered in multiple drivetrains globally, including a hybrid, India gets two options. The first one mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission is a 2.0l petrol engine that produces 156 ps and 192 Nm torque. And finally, a much more robust 8 Speed Automatic Transmission operated 2.0L Diesel engine produces 186 PS and an enthusiastic 415 Nm torque. India gets the LWB - long wheelbase version as standard. 

Tantalising appearance

Hyundai Tucson has been in the international market for some time, but there is nothing in its price range in India that looks alike. The front smiling large grille with dark chrome design neatly integrates with nickel chrome metallic semi-deposition Inside the 5-point Parametric hidden LED and DRL lens. With the DRLs off, the entire unit looks like a single piece of design mimicking a significant smile. At 4,630mm, the new Tucson has grown significantly more than its predecessor. The wheelbase is more extensive at 2,755mm and is a considerable upgrade from its 2016 avatar. Camouflaging this large SUV is a series of design choices by the Hyundai design team and engineers to make Tucson look premium yet sporty. Complementing the design is the choice of multi-toned elements like a matte silver window sill that ends in an aerodynamic style at the rear. The design makes this large SUV feel more friendly and compact with visual illusions created by sharp lines.  The most appealing section of this beauty is the connecting rear-LED with unique diamond-cut elements making this SUV prettier in real life. It extends on both sides of the car and makes this rear element a timeless piece of design which will age well. There's a subtle Tucson batch with a hidden rear wiper under the spoiler. Matte grey skid plates and boxed-out wheel arches add character to the Tucson. Many design elements with creases, lines and cuts make this car feel true to a concept design. The sharp-cut design elements also translate into the large 235 section 18-inch dual-tone diamond-cut alloys, with a full-size spare alloy wheel in the trunk. The powered tailgate liberates 540L of cargo space with three levels of gate adjustments. It can be extended to 1860 litres with dedicated levers in the trunk to enable 60:40 split-folding second-row seats. The boot gets a guidance light and extra 12V sockets for added functionality. 

A chiselled body technophile

Hyundai always offers its customers top features, and the flagship hits the ball right out of the park. Onboard computers in Tucson provide innovative features like Home to Car (H2C), where simple vocal commands to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant can operate your car. Voice commands could include, "Alexa, turn on my car's AC", "Alexa, turn on my car's AC, "Alexa, find my car", "Alexa, check my car's fuel level", and "Alexa, lock my car doors." Advanced connectivity also allows Smartwatch connectivity with TIZEN, iOS and Android.  Bluelink app offers 60+ connected features, and the car infotainment setup can improve with time thanks to OTA - Over-The-Air updates for the system and map. Tucson also gets Hyundai's most advanced Voice Control for Seat Ventilation, Sports (Cricket, Soccer), Sunroof, and climate control, while the Voice Assistant has 104 embedded voice commands.  The large 10.25" HD infotainment system is India-specific yet global ul supports -10 regional + 2 international languages, including English, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi, Malayalam, Telugu, Oriya, Gujarati and Korean. Apart from these, the 8-speaker premium Bose sound system can accompany your drive with six built-in ambient nature symphonies, including an open-air café, rainy day, snowy village, warm fireplace and calm sea waves. There's Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but Hyundai has missed the mark by not making these wireless. With OTA updates, these wired features may go wireless in the future.  The minimalistic cabin feels classy with soft-touch plastic, textured soft-touch fabric and multi-toned colours. The seats on our cars were light beige, making the cabin feel more roomier. A smart one-touch panoramic sunroof accentuates the roof-line of the cabin. Apart from the usual wireless phone charger, the large 10.25-inch touchscreen and touch-sensitive controls keep the central dashboard neat. The overall cabin feels like a cockpit with the large 12.3-inch floating MID displaying ample information, including TPMS. The gear Knob is chunky and yacht-inspired, while the steering feel is perfectly round, chunky enough to get a sense of this large vehicle and also comes with ample buttons to control the MID and infotainment setup. The soft lid of the central arm-rest reveals open enough space to house your smaller pets.  Both the front seats get electric adjustments, with the driver seat getting 10-way adjustments while the co-passenger seat is getting 8-way adjustments and two memory seat functions. There is also a chauffeur mode on the front passenger seat walk-in device that enables left rear seat passengers to recline and adjust the front seat to their liking from the rear with the help of electric buttons on the front left seat. Overall the design is ergonomically designed to aid the driver. Even the front ventilated and heated seat controls are integrated into the central arm-rest. Advanced climate control technologies ensure a remarkably comfortable cabin atmosphere with dual-zone climate control with Multi-Air Mode and a hidden type AC vent with diffuse mode. This feature is inspired by aircrafts. A diffuse button sits in the centre console along with drive select modes - Eco, Normal and Sport. All the buttons feel tactile and perceive a sense of quality associated with a premium feel.  The rear seat experience of the Tucson is excellent with rear AC vents, Type-A illuminated USB ports, deep recline angles on the seats and a large arm-rest with cup-holders. Thanks to bright leather seats, the premium feel of the multi-toned cabin with minimalistic yet functional design approaches, and one of the most prominent panoramic sunroofs, the Tucson interiors are a great abode on wheels. 

Hyundai SmartSense

Hyundai has included level 2 ADAS driver assistance on their flagship. They call it Hyundai SmartSense. It's a combination of a front camera, front radar and rear radar. Overall, there is 19 ADAS level 2 features enabled by Hyundai SmartSense. Some of these features include - Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Car/Pedestrian/Cyclist + Junction Turning, Front collision warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW), Blind-Spot View Monitor (BVM), Safe Exit Warning (SEW), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & GO (SCC with S&G), Lane Following Assist (LFA), High Beam Assist (HBA), Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW) and Surround View Monitor (SVM). The 360-degree cameras are sharp at resolution and enable dynamic parking assist lines for added convenience.  Drives pliant  Petrol trim: Hyundai Tucson gets a 2L petrol engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission churning 156PS and 192Nm. The power delivery on the petrol trim is linear, and power builds gradually as the revs build. The lightweight steering feedback makes maneuvering this car in the city a child's play while the steering satisfactorily weighs up as speeds rise. Eco mode dulls down all the responses and almost feels like the valet mode in the car. Normal is the best of both worlds, while Sport mode makes responses a bit tighter, including the heft on the steering wheel. Impressive bits include good insulation on the engine bay, keeping engine NVH levels to their minimum and overall cabin NVH levels as silent as physically possible. Suspensions perform at par for Indian road conditions, and the car manages to gulp most road undulations. Ride quality is supple and further enhancing the confidence are non-intrusive ADAS features.  First seen in the Alcazar, the turn indicators work in tandem with the 360-degree cameras to give a real-time side view on the MID console. The ambient lights are soft and offer tons of customizability. Vanity mirrors with individual light buttons and extended sunshades bring versatility to an overloaded technophile Hyundai Tucson. The Bluelink app makes remote car operations, real-time usage information, GPS features, remote unlock, and engine controls. The only thing missing here is the summon feature we see on Teslas. The gear shifts are seamless and refined, but the car's responses take a while to get going with sudden throttle responses. Drivers sit with a commanding view of the road, and the large front windshield with large door windows enables a massive point of view. On the go, the 18-inch wheels perform great and four disc brakes with a big safety net brake on a dime. Tucson manages to lose its sense of weight when on the go, thanks to clever engineering, which enables a straightforward approach and ease of driving a premium SUV.  Diesel trim: Most of our overall feel of the chassis, body weight and minimum body roll with excellent body control remain the same on the diesel trim. But, we guess this to be the bestseller among the two trims thanks to a healthy 400+ NM torque accessible from the lower rev range and throughout all rev bands enabling 186PS of power. This added power is managed by an intuitive 8-speed AT transmission, which is smoother and more responsive than the petrol version. The diesel feels enthusiastic when driven, accentuating with Sport mode. Even in Normal mode, the diesel is peppy to drive in comparison. The NVH levels on the diesel are as impressive as the Petrol trim. Almost no vibrations are felt inside the cabin, even when revving and driving this car at triple-digit speeds.


Hyundai Premium Assurance

Hyundai offers an unlimited kilometre 3 Years warranty with 30 000 km complimentary maintenance. They also assure 3 years of roadside assistance with 3 years Bluelink / Map subscription and 1 Shubhaarambh (Home Visit). 


Hyundai Tucson is Hyundai's flagship model in India, making a bold statement for itself with the plethora of features offered. Both the trims offer great value to the end consumer and assure a car that shall stand the competition of the time. If you are in the market looking for an upgrade to your existing car or want a chunk of the insanely growing SUV market, the Hyundai Tucson is one attractive option with enough tech to keep your next generation happy.  2.0L Petrol - 156PS | 192Nm | 6-speed AT 2.0L Diesel - 186PS | 415Nm | 8-speed AT ADAS level 2 - 19 safety features  360-degree cameras 60+ Bluelink features  3 years unlimited warranty  Ex-Showroom Price: INR 27.70L

TopGear Magazine May 2024