Yes, the name might not ring a bell for many, while some would scoff saying that this is a old bugger which went extinct some years back. Well, the fact that the Tucson was never reviewed in here set our grey cells ringing. Moreover, we love discontinued cars. Be it the Fiat Uno or many other cars from its ilk. The discontinued cars are here for two reasons. One, they may not have been the bread winner for the car company or the second thing is that they may have given way for some new model replacement. Well, the Tucson belongs to the first breed. On second thoughts, it also is somewhat from the latter troupe. The reason is that the Hyundai Santa Fe is being billed as a replacement for both the Tucson and also the Terracan. Back at that time, the “Fluidic Concept” theme was still in the process of development in the Hyundai designers minds. Needless to say, there is no incorporation of the same in this SUV. We got our hands on this Hyundai Tucson which came as part of the deal for the Indiandrives inventory. It was a 2007 model. Here is a review of the Hyundai Tucson in India.
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On the first look, this car reminds one of the Yamaha Fazer which was sold in India with the bug faced look that it had. As for the bumpers, they aren’t body colored. Hyundai had originally intended this car to be a soft roader, however later on, it was introduced with a 4×4 option, which made it quite clear the need for ABS coated plastic bumpers. If any Tucson owners did take their cars for off-roading? That’s not a tough one to answer. No one did. Infact, Tucsons were more of soft roaders. This same protective covering runs across the whole body of the car and extends till the back, where a cut has been made and twin silencers jut out of the body of the car. This was one of the kinds type vehicle at its time to have twin tail pipes at the rear. The 16 inch tubeless tyres had conventional looking alloys and no Korean fantasy kinds. Towards the rear, there is a washer and wiper. It’s a different thing that the one we were checking out had its wiper broken. The front side glass doesn’t have a quarter glass while the rear side glass does have one. Oh well, there are roof rails as well to give company. The silver finish on the roof rails was beginning to chip off and maybe, the owner didn’t bother to get it repainted.
The beige color interiors definitely ask dirt and grime to settle in them as also does the light colored steering wheel cover. Our test specimen had got hand stains all over it. Since it was yet to be cleaned, we assumed that a simple cleaning up job would do the trick here. The steering wheel doesn’t have any audio controls or even a Bluetooth equipped head unit. The meter dials are similar to the ones in the Mahindra Scorpio and boast of a central speedometer unit. Like the Honda CR-V and also its own stablemates i10 and 120, this SUV has got a dashboard mounted gear lever. An aluminium strip is present on the central console and there are also many cubby holes in and around the cabin. The seats don’t have electric memory function, but they do have adjustments for both height as also lumbar. The steering wheel adjusts for rake but then isn’t telescopic. The Hyundai Tucson in India is a strict 5 seater and unlike modern compact SUVs, this one doesn’t have a middle hump which makes life harder for the middle passenger. That saying, space is at a premium than the Honda CR-V which boasts of space in lavish proportions. The quality of plastics is just about okay and unlike the one in modern day Hyundais. Boot space is good, however with the rear seats not being foldable, changing of houses wouldn’t be possible in this one. The car’s plastics definitely have bore the brunt of the times and apart from the broken handle of the inside door, there was nothing much missing in this. The previous owner was kind enough to even add in a touch screen audio system and also a reverse parking camera.
Handling and ride quality
Well, definitely not CR-V like, but then the handling of this SUV is better than what we have experienced with the Tata Safari and also Scorpio. The steering wheel ain’t typical Hyundai and is a bit on the heavier side of things. It has more feel than the current generation i20’s steering wheel. While the ride quality was fine on roads with less aberrations, it was more of a bouncy thing with all those potholes. In this aspect, even though the Safari may be a boat, it rides quite well, but then the Tucson doesn’t. The wallow and pitch is similar to the way a Santro would behave over broken patches of road. Not only that, our Indiandrives vehicle evaluator tells us that the right side damper has gone kaput and needs a replacement. The handling of this car is definitely its plus point than the ride quality. Imagine a 2 tonne car going around corners furiously like it was on rails. Well, not exactly on rails but somewhat like that. The Tucson’s tyres did have a fair amount of grip going for them inspite of having covered 20k kms on the same set. As for the in cabin noise, the Tucson’s ageing CRDI motor still was one of the finest things to come to the Indian market. Even at the 100 plus speeds that we drove it at, it exhibited a good amount of sound deadening material under its hood and rarely proclaimed that it was a diesel motor which was propelling it. The visibility from the cabin was good since it was elevated position, however reversing would have taken quite an effort, were it not for that reverse camera which the previous owner had fitted in.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Hyundai Tucson in India was offered from the onset with a diesel engine. The 2.0 liter CRDI motor produces 120 Bhp of firepower and 245 Nm of torque. In the US, Hyundai offers the choice of an auto transmission or a manual one whereas for the Indian market, they didn’t bother with and went ahead with a 5 speed manual one. The gear shifting was a chore only from the first to the second one, rest all were strictly okay. More like a Santro from the pre 2005 batch. The reverse gear was a real pain to engage. Most of the times, it ended up in neutral. The engine, however, made us forgive all the foibles of the transmission, with its smooth nature. This coming from a engine which had already clocked in 50k kms, is commendable. Needless to say, the power delivery was also very linear. There was a faint hint of turbo lag, after which the car would just surge ahead. Timing the 0-100 kmph run, we found out that this old work horse could do it in only 13.3 seconds. Top speed that we achieved was a cool 157 kmph, after which the engine started sounding a bit strained. Clearly, this one doesn’t believe in going to its redline too often. Infact sedate driving with the occasional bursts to 130 plus is what this car likes to do. The brakes were a squealing lot, however, this was down to the disc pads being past their lifetime. Inspite of that, the Tucson afforded good braking with little squeals to show its age. Hyundai were generous enough to kit this car with ABS as also EBD. There is traction control as well and the on the fly 4×4 system worked well for the few sections where we could try and test it prowess.
Twin airbags, a collapsible steering column as also tailored banks of sheet metal ensured that this SUV is as safe as it gets. In the US, except for the roll over protection thing, this car managed to get good ratings in all the tests. For the overall testing phase which was a good 231 kms, the Tucson consistently delivered a healthy 12.5 kmpl. This coming from a 2 tonne vehicle is really commendable.
Well, we really can’t compare it with its newest competition, however, what we can do is get the verdict on how it stacks up with its then competition, the Honda CR-V. While the CR-V was the epitome of refinement, it could never manage anything more than 8 kmpl. The Tucson in the meanwhile was a car which ran on the sticky fluid and also delivered enough driving thrills like the CR-V, but, without cutting down on fuel efficiency. This is where Hyundai struck chord, but then, this car doesn’t have the character of a Honda and hence lost out subsequentially. This was one fine product backed by Hyundai’s good logistics support as also service centers. Finding one in a good condition now is Herculean task, however if you do find one, then grab it with both the hands. It definitely is worth the extra penny. Hyundai Tucson price in India used to be a steep Rs 16.4 lakhs, before it was discontinued. Now used examples can be found as easily for half the price tag. Hyundai India might think of bringing back the Hyundai Tucson and would name it as probably the ix40 or something. But then the dates are really uncertain.