Hyundai launches the all-new Tucson in India

Hyundai's SUV and crossover lineup in India is limited to the blockbuster Creta and the highly-capable Santa Fe. Between the two models is a huge price gap. In comes the Tucson, to plug that gap. 

Launched in New Delhi yesterday, the all-new third-generation Tucson is making a comeback in the Indian market. Hyundai launched the first-generation Tucson here amidst a lot of hopes but it failed so miserably that the Korean automaker pulled the plug and never bothered to bring along the second-generation model. Now that SUVs are high on demand and Hyundai has had back-to-back hits in the premium segment, the Tucson is back.

Following Hyundai's Fluidic 2.0 design philosophy, the Tucson looks bold and mature. The chrome-lined hexagonal grille dominates the fascia flanked by a pair of sleek wrap-around projector headlamps. The bumper has a thin air dam underlined by a skid plate with hexagonal-shaped fog lamp enclosures on either sides. The profile is characterized by a prominent shoulder line and beefed-up wheel arches that lend character to the design. The window line goes up and up, almost ending at the top of the rear windshield. Just like the i20 and the Elantra, the Tucson has wrap-around taillights that extend well into the tailgate. Dual chrome-tipped exhaust pipes and plastic-clad bumper complete the rear.

Hyundai has been consciously moving away from flashy designs and the Tucson's cabin is yet another step in that direction. The dual-tone dashboard is neatly-designed in such a way it would offend none. Build quality, fit and finish would be top notch, something we have experienced with Hyundai time and again. Though the Tucson can seat just five, it can do so in absolute comfort given the space on offer. 

Feature list runs into pages with several segment-firsts like full LED headlamps with static bending, puddle lamps, powered tailgate, electric parking brake and auto-folding rear view mirrors with heated function. Other features include full leather upholstery, 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control with cluster ionizer, smart key with push button start, automatic headlamps, cruise control, 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, split-folding rear seats, cooled glovebox and a 8.0-inch touchscreen infotaiment system that can support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Having said that, the base variant of Tucson appears severely under-equipped. Would you believe us if we tell you it comes with fabric seats and manual air-conditioning while lacking features like keyless entry and rear air-conditioning vents? 

For a premium vehicle like the Tucson, it is unfortunate that the safety kit isn't standard across the range. While six airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist Control, Downhill Brake Control, Brake Assist, front and rear parking sensors, ISOFIX child seat anchor system and electronic shift lock system are on offer, most of these are reserved for the top-end GLS variant only.

Powering the Tucson are a pair of 2.0-liter engines. The 'Nu' petrol engine is shared with the Elantra and generates 153 horsepower and 192 Nm of torque. The 'R' diesel engine is all-new and churns out 182 horsepower with 400 Nm of torque. While the base variants come with a 6-speed manual transmission, the GL and GLS variants are equipped with a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission. 4WD isn't on offer at the moment and is expected to join the lineup next year. 

In terms of pricing, Hyundai has positioned the Tucson bang in between the Creta and the Santa Fe. The two petrol variants retail at INR 18.99 and 21.79 Lakhs while the diesel variants are priced between INR 21.59 and 24.99 Lakhs. Pricing is a hit and miss. The base variants are competitively priced but the top-end variants are so close to Ford Endeavour and Chevrolet Trailblazer territory which have the advantage of offering 7 seats. 

Despite common perception that it was overpriced, the Creta has been a smash hit in India selling around 8000 units a month. The Elantra has started off strongly as well with over 1000 bookings within a couple of months of its launch. Will the Tucson be Hyundai's next big hit in the premium segment? We have our fingers crossed.

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