Looking for a comfortable, spacious compact SUV that can get the family transported in style and is light on fuel? The Hyundai Tucson 1.7 Executive diesel model with manual transmission fits the bill – very well.
When Hyundai brought the new Tucson to South Africa it was initially limited to petrol models. We took the sporty 1.6 T-GDI Executive on a round trip from Johannesburg to Polokwane, Hazyview to Sabie and back and were thoroughly impressed with not only it’s looks, but sporty handling and fuel economy too. We got an average of 8.7l/100km, which was splendid considering how we threw the car around corners at quite a lick on the road between Hazyview and Sabie.
Next we took command of the 1.6 Turbo Elite AWD Auto model as part of our long term fleet and again we were impressed with the luxury, comfort and NVH levels, but this engine was a whole lot thirstier than the 1.6-litre engine without turbo.
Recently we’ve been playing around with the 1.7-litre turbodiesel…
Tucson 1.7 Executive MT diesel
The Tucson 1.7 Executive MT diesel gained our affection too, but for completely different reasons. We drove far more sedately than with the 1.6 T-GDI petrol model, as we tested this 1.7-litre model on the daily commute. School runs, traffic and a little bit of open highway driving. What we experienced was comfort, above all.
If you want a fast and sporty SUV, this is not the Tucson for you. The 1.7-litre diesel produces 87kW which is the lowest power output of any of the Tucson models, however at 280Nm the maximum torque is the second highest in the range. In compensation for the lack of wattage, this model does offer a claimed fuel consumption of 6.8l/100km. Without doing much open road driving, we averaged 6.9l/100km, which is one of the reasons we think this SUV is worth considering.
The clutch is light and gearing up and down through six-speed manual transmission that powers the front wheels was effortless. With this Tucson being fairly torquey it pulls well in second, third and fourth gear, however is unsurprisingly lacklustre if you try to accelerate in fifth or sixth gear. Still it cruises comfortably when it’s reached the speed that you desire and if you are a good citizen that sticks to the speed limit on national highways (more or less), you’ll have no room for complaint. Speaking of speed, the 1.7-litre engine also has the lowest maximum speed rating in the Tucson range, at 176km/h. If you like to blaze trails at 180km/h, or heaven forbid more than that, this won’t work for you. If on the other hand you want to get your family transported safely and comfortably there’s no reason why it shouldn’t.
Our Tucson rides on 17-inch wheels, which helps with fuel economy, while the Tucson 2.0 Elite (automatic) is fitted with 18-inch alloys.
When we received the 1.7-litre Executive model, Hyundai’s Flex Steering system, which offers two modes was set to ‘normal’. Although we don’t have a problem with the normal steering mode, the ‘sport’ mode offered a noticeably more satisfactory driving experience. The sport mode gives a stiffer feel and more feedback off the road surface, it doesn’t feel quite as floaty as the normal mode. However, this like so many things, is subjective and some people will no doubt enjoy more marshmallow-like steering.
Driving on the winding farm roads along Contermanskloof, the Tucson felt stable and sure, predictably not like a hot hatch, as it hugged the corners effortlessly with no apparent body roll.
With both front seats being electronically adjustable, it was a cinch for both the driver and front passenger to get comfortable. The faux-leather (which could have fooled us into believing that the seats were covered in real cow hide) seats are plush and supportive and all the dials and knobs have a good solid feel about them.
The infotainment system was very easy to use and we had no problem syncing our phones, playing music or even WhatsApp voice-notes through the speakers via Bluetooth. The navigation system was faultless and the sound emanating from the speakers was good. The only minor irritation is that the fan, which is especially loud, tends to blow full blast when you start the car in an attempt to regulate the cabin temperature.
Both turbodiesels come with a dual zone automatic climate control system; air vents for rear passengers; cooling in the glove box; cruise control; and a rear view camera with display in the rear view mirror. Initially, we found the rear view camera display a little disconcerting as your eyes can struggle with the two different areas of focus in the mirror, but we got used to it.
For the school run the Tucson swallowed school bags and sport kit in the 513 litre boot space without a hiccup. Space can be increased to 1 503 litres when the seats are folded down. We didn’t take it on a weekend away filled with the whole family’s luggage (two adults and two teens), however we’ve done so in a car with only 354 litres of luggage capacity – so the Tucson’s extra room would be ample.
Fortunately we didn’t have to evade reckless drivers or perform any emergency manoeuvring but it’s good to know that the all-new Hyundai Tucson has a comprehensive suite of safety features and scored five stars in the latest Euro NCAP tests.
Interestingly, service intervals are spaced at 30 000 km for the Tucson 1.7 diesel, while all the other Tucson models have 15 000 km service intervals. All derivatives come with a 5-year/90 000 km service plan.
Hyundai has a very appealing offering in the Tucson and this SUV scores high marks in our book.
Tucson 2.0 Nu Premium (manual) R379 900
Tucson 2.0 Nu Premium (automatic) R399 900
Tucson 2.0 Nu Elite (automatic) R469 900
Tucson 1.6 TGDi Executive (manual) R449 900
Tucson 1.6 TGDi Elite DCT AWD R534 900
Tucson 1.7 UII Executive Diesel (manual) R449 900
Tucson R2.0 Elite (automatic) R534 900