Written by: Don Cheng
Photography by: Don Cheng
My only memory of the second generation Hyundai Tucson was from The Walking Dead television show where the Kiwi-Green-SUV-that-could kept our beloved characters alive and away from the grasps of the undead. I always found it strange that that particular Tucson was kept so sparkly clean whilst the rest of the world was drenched in guts and gore concocted from Ketchup and liquid thickener. It came as no surprise that the car was actually revealed to have been part of a promotional stunt by Hyundai.
Although, I feel that placing a Hyundai SUV in a post-apocalyptic situation may have sent the wrong message: Instead of “trusting the safe and reliable Hyundai” I got: “if it’s the end of the world and there’s literally nothing else I can drive, I guess I’ll take the Hyundai”. But that was four years ago, and few get it right the first or the second time. As the saying goes, the third time’s the charm.
Hyundai officially unveiled the 2016 Tucson earlier this year in Geneva. It’s an appropriate place to drop anchor for the baby crossover as on first glance (and second, and third) the car oozes European flair, quality, and sophistication. Painted in Caribbean Blue - my personal favourite colourway - and featuring LED daytime running lights with adaptive HIDs, the Tucson is a chameleon that blends into any backdrop.
Despite its good looks, the Tucson hasn’t forgotten its family ties thanks to the finely sculpted hexagonal front grill that’s reminiscent of its bigger brother, the Santa Fe. While the Santa Fe often looked a bit large and disproportionate from certain angles, the Tucson remedies that with a well-balanced look. It’s silhouette features high swept shoulder lines that give the SUV the illusion of a lower ride height.
I’ve grown quite partial to the back-end of the Tucson too; the taillights look very similar to the Genesis sedan, one of my favourite cars of 2014-5. The contours on the power lift gate combined with the length of the taillights remind me just a little bit of a Porsche Macan.
Sitting inside the Tucson is a premium and feature-rich experience. Most surfaces are adorned with leather or soft touch plastic. The Limited trim adds extra padding to the door panels and console resulting in an unexpectedly quiet ride. In fact, it was so quiet inside the cabin that I actually had to check if the windows were constructed with acoustic glass – they were not.
There were some exceptions to the otherwise top-quality interior. A few trim pieces felt out of place and cheapened the experience. The most notable example was the plastic surrounding the power window switches (and the switches themselves). Both were hard and felt brittle, yet everything else in its proximity was covered in leather or soft plastic. The switches just felt incredibly out of place.
That being said, it just goes to show how much Hyundai has improved over the years when hard plastics are now considered out of place for the company. In Limited trim guise (as was my tester was) Hyundai’s 8-inch touch screen infotainment system makes an appearance too. It’s the same system found in other models both up and down the lineup, but it’s a good system that works very well. Navigating through the menus is logical, they pop up quickly, they look good, and there are no unnecessary fancy animations to bog it down. It’s a simple recipe but few automakers adhere to it.
One of the best things about Hyundai is how much value they pack in a car; at an as-tested price of $36,649, the Tucson comes with a lot more than just navigation and strips of leather. The car is equipped with other tech features such as: blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, and lane change assist.
The most convenient feature is the smart power lift gate. The lift gate can detect if you are behind the car with the key fob in your pocket. After a series of beeps, the car will pop open the powered lift gate for you. It’s incredibly convenient during this time of the year when your hands are full from Christmas shopping.
Opting for the Limited trim adds a panoramic roof too, and it’s not the sissy kind that has a cross bar right on top of you, this is the real deal. Rather, the cross bar is pushed further back and it’s a massive unit that almost entirely replaces the roof – it’s always a treat to look up into the great expanse and think about all the things you’d rather be doing than sitting in traffic on the 401.
When the traffic is good and you’re able to move at anything other than a snail’s pace, the Tucson handles quite proficiently thanks to a couple of standout items on its spec sheet. The first is the 1.6L twin scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s a solid performer. Though it may not be the more powerful 2.0T found in the Sonata, the tiny 1.6L still feels peppy enough to zip through the ebb and flow of traffic.
The motor is down on peak horsepower compared to its competitors but since the Tucson has got a twin-scroll turbo, it has dollops of torque in the low end – 195 lb-ft to be exact. Peak torque comes from as little as 1,500 rpm and keeps pulling until 4,500.
The second standout feature is the 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT). With seven speeds and quick shifting gears to play with, the car keeps itself in the fat power band, making getting up to speed a drama-less event. The DCT in the Tucson performs well, but it isn’t as snappy or as quick as ones found in Volkswagens or Audis. But when your competitors are using traditional 6-speed automatics or CVTs, having a DCT on the spec sheet really helps push the enthusiasts toward your camp.
There is one caveat though: the transmission is best left alone and in drive. Hyundai didn’t put steering wheel mounted shifters in the Tucson for a reason, and it quickly becomes evident when you snap the gear selector into Manual mode. Upshifts are sluggish and downshifts lack crispness. The silver lining here is that the responsiveness is software bound. With some tweaks of the code and a software update from the dealer, I’m sure the DCT could perform better.
On the other hand, the electric assisted steering rack feels numb but is rather responsive to steering inputs. Excessive body roll is kept at bay thanks to the well-tuned suspension, and the ride quality is compliant; it feels firm but isn’t harsh. The overall result is a car that’s got plenty of handling chops and will eat up even the nastiest potholes in the city.
After a week of driving, I can only imagine what the characters from The Walking Dead might think of the new Hyundai Tucson. I’m not sure how useful that rear view camera would be with the cross t̶r̶a̶f̶f̶i̶c̶ zombie alert, or how handy that large glass panoramic roof would be when the undead pound on it until it cracks. But hey, at least it’s got heated seats.
Hyundai knows that 99.99% of Tucson buyers won’t be taking their cars into the wilderness for any serious adventuring, and in a zombie-infested world the Tucson would probably remain on the bottom of a survival group’s list of getaway cars. If you happen to come across any of these two scenarios, then yes by all means, skip the Tucson and look into something more rugged, maybe a G-Class or a defunct Hummer H1.
But thankfully, the world isn’t infested with zombies and most SUV owners don’t go off-roading, which answers the question of why Tucson sales keep climbing up sky high - Hyundai’s beloved crossover is an incredibly appealing and capable performer. The only question I can’t figure out is what this weird bite mark is doing on my hand…
型号 Model: 2016 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Limited
顏色 Paint Type: Caribbean Blue
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $24,399
試車售價 Price as Tested: $36,649
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,670
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,475 / 1,850 / 1,650
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,683
引擎 Engine: 1.6L DOHC Turbocharged I4 with GDI and D-CVVT
最大馬力 Horsepower: 175 hp @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 - 4,500 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 7-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch Transmission
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: MacPherson strut
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Multi-link
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: 305 x 25 mm ventilated disc, single piston
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: 302 x 10 mm solid disc, single piston
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 9.9 / 8.4 / 9.2
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P245/45R19