Following the launch in the first quarter of this year of the new Tucson, which initially comprised only petrol models, Hyundai has now expanded the line-up to include two diesel variants.
As a package, the Tucson stacks up well against the establishment by offering a comprehensively equipped range and mostly refined drivetrains.
According to Stanley Anderson, Hyundai SA’s marketing director, the Tuscon has been selling on average 600 units per month, which is quite sizeable in a rather depressed market. Further testament to the model’s appeal is that it is a finalist in the Wesbank/South African Guild of Motoring Journalists car of the Year competition.
The two diesel variants come in the form of a 1.7-litre turbodiesel that generates 85kW and 280Nm and a 2.0-litre R turbodiesel that pushes out 131kW and 400Nm. The smaller unit is available standard with a six-speed manual, while the bigger of the two gets a six-speed automatic. Power on both is channelled to the front wheels.
According to Anderson, there has been a delay in bringing the Euro 6 standard 1.7-litre diesel engine (not to be mistaken for the engine fitted to the previous ix35) to the market. Thorough tests by the company’s global engineers had to be undertaken to ensure local compatibility and reliability with SA’s fuel quality. Hyundai has been rather cautious with making new engine derivatives available locally, a case in point being the 2.4-litre GDI (direct injection) engines, and the 1.6-litre turbo petrol that debuted in the Veloster and which is now available in the Tucson.
At the launch, which took place in Magaliesburg, on the northwest fringes of Gauteng, we managed to drive a 1.7-litre variant in six-speed manual guise over tarmac and through some gravel patches. While the six-speed manual was slick to operate, for me it was the engine that truly shone through. With the slightest of diesel clatter audible at idle, the engine revs up smoothly and eagerly with a butter smooth torque delivery that wouldn’t be out of place in a modern petrol engine.
The engine, which is built at the company’s Czech Republic plant, is said to have a 5kg lighter block, and a 2 000 bar high-pressure fuel injection system. It is claimed to drink fuel at a rate of 6.8l/100km, while carbon emissions are 124g/km.
Meanwhile, the 2.0 R engine is essentially a carryover from the ix35 and has a claimed carbon emission figure of 175g/km. This particular model was not available for us to sample as there have been delays from the company’s South Korean plant due to workers downing tools. However, Anderson reassured us that the model would be available before the end of the year following normal resumption of work at its plant, which produces the 2.0-litre engines.
The Tucson can be specified with an eight-inch infotainment system replete with navigation and a USB mirror link functionality for Android phones, while iPhones require an HDMI cable instead. It costs R15 000.
The introduction of the diesel versions to the Tucson line-up will expand the model’s appeal to an even wider audience. The new models will cost R439 900 for the 1.7-litre turbo diesel and R519 900 for the 2.0 R diesel. – Lerato Matebese