Hyundai Tucson

Midlife is better not bitter

DANIEL GARDNER

UNLIKE the Carlton United Brewery, which tried to water down VB to 4.6 percent in the hope no-one would notice, Hyundai knows not to mess with a good recipe. That’s why the 2019 Tucson update is nominal at best. A light exterior scrub-up brings the family ‘cascading’ grille along with a head and taillight redesign, while a new ‘floating’ touchscreen headlines an interior makeover with smartphone mirroring. The most significant changes however, lie under the Tucson’s pleasant skin starting with a suspension revision completed in the name of comfort. Coarse surfaces still allow a little roar into the cabin but the likeable road manner remains even when thrown over nasty surfaces. A new eight-speed auto arrives for diesel-powered versions and decidedly trounces the previous six-cog ’box which is still available for the more affordable but slightly lacklustre 2.0-litre atmo Tucson. Smooth swaps and tightly bunched ratios now extract the very best from the 400Nm oil-burner.

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

01 Tray measures 1215mm between the wheel arches – wide enough to fit a standard pallet. Payload is 1107kg; towing capacity is 3500kg.

02 Engineering improvements for the V6 version include additional crossmembers for the ladder frame and structural body reinforcements.

03 There are four 12v outlets (two front, one rear, another in the tray) and a 360-degree camera that’s useful for parking and when off-road.

Model Hyundai Tucson Elite CRDi

Engine 1995cc 4cyl, dohc,16v, turbo-diesel

Max power/torque 136kW/400Nm

Transmission 8-speed automatic

Weight 1707kg

0-100km/h 9.0sec (est.)

Economy 6.4L/100km

Price $43,150

On sale Now

An unchanged mid-range 1.6-litre turbo petrol coupled to a seven-speed dual clutch is still a lively performer and easy to recommend, but the arrival of the new diesel transmission has elevated the more efficient CRDi to the pick of the bunch if the budget allows. A new Go variant replaces the previous Tucson Active which will doubtless continue to cater for fleet and government buyers along with the more speccy Active X, but the all-round excellent Elite and Highlander versions maintain the allure for those who appreciate their favourite brew in full-strength.

DANIEL GARDNER