WHEN the third-generation Hyundai Tucson first arrived in our shores and was introduced at the Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. Logistics Center in Laguna, the subsequent reaction was nothing short of awe—as it was now bigger and definitely bolder. In fact, this beefed-up Korean icon can be the next big thing that could ever happen in the succeeding episodes of the Walking Dead (where a previous model was also last seen).
In a country where practicality is priceless and every inch of saved space is gold, this crossover comes into the picture as a one-man army machine eager to provide power, performance, elegance, a touch of brute, and needed room. A closer look into this Ara Blue-colored Hyundai Tucson 2.0 CRDi GLS 4x2 AT brings its fine features further to the fore.
Bold and athletic, this stunner’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design philosophy is carefully embedded in its DNA. Based on pure aesthetics, this third-gen Tucson grows in proper proportions as here clearly stands a better version of this vehicle’s ancestors. From a plain metrosexual to a flamboyant ritzy athlete who knows his swagger—upfront, this manly beast imbues a clear-cut aggressive and strong stance with its restyled blacked-out LED headlights, a large chrome-plated hexagonal grill, a revamped bumper, and new fog lamp styling.
One gets to feel its upscale aura, particularly with its sculpted body contours all the way to the visual effect of its wheel design. It continues its pronounced panache all the way to the rear with sharper combination taillights, a roof-mounted spoiler, and a larger rear bumper. Completing its unabashed flair are its massive reflector lights, a third brake light, twin-tip exhaust pipes and 17-inch alloy wheels. With 51 percent advanced high-strength steel that increases rigidity by 48 percent, its overall body structure all the more props up its tough persona.
Meanwhile, the sleek dark-themed interior instantly speaks of a sound regal appeal. Since a simple semi-minimalist approach marks the dashboard, it could have been more fitting if a tad more entertainment cues were added—and not just some 3.8-inch monochromatic LCD with radio and six speakers. Though, in a way, it helps to keep the driver’s eyes on the road.
This Tucson also comes with 10-way driver and eight-way passenger power adjustment seats, together with a three-spoke steering wheel with audio mounted controls and manual air-conditioning with rear vents. As a bonus, the Tucson can accommodate 513 liters of cargo.
From the get-go, this adorable creature is peppy in the city and kept its momentum with this writer’s short weekend trip to Pampanga. From previous accounts, this runabout vehicle is on a lofty throne when it comes to a finely tuned suspension compared to its predecessors, which have haunted Korean cars of the past due to excessive movements. One could even tell its impressive high center of gravity as no trace of giddiness troubled this scribe; especially when scampering from one place to the other to avoid traffic situations in the tight spots of the metro. Steering is even superb and well-balanced, thus could smoothly unleash a bite of vigor when shifted to sports mode. On rare long straights of this urban jungle, the prowess of the 2.0 common rail direct-injection (CRDi) 16-valve diesel engine with variable geometry turbocharger that pumps out 178hp and 410Nm of torque roused this driver, inspiring every turn of the wheel and push of the pedal which leaves one hungry spirit no less than gratified; hence, wanting for more.
Fuel economy-wise, this behemoth guzzles about a reasonable 10.25 km/l on city driving, while consuming 12.75 km/l on the highway.
Positives: Start-stop Button, keyless entry/sensors, comfortable space, elegant design, refined suspension, quiet ride
Negatives: Can be mistaken for a Santa Fe, entertainment system needs improvement, no sunroof