Drive – Hyundai Tucson City Review

24 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Hyundai Tucson City Review
Hyundai Tucson

Bruce Newton

Make Hyundai Family Tucson Year 2005 Badge Description City Doors 4 Seats 5 Transmission Sports Automatic Engine Configuration Description In-line Gear Num 4 Cylinders 4 Build Country Origin Description KOREA Fuel Type Description Petrol – Unleaded ULP Drive Description Rear Wheel Drive Warranty KM 130000

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In some countries there are no qualms about offering pretend four-wheel-drive wagons for sale. They’re vehicles that look like off roaders but actually only drive two wheels, just like normal cars. The trend hasn’t taken off here, because our imported vehicle tariff structure tends to favour four-wheel-drives over imitations.

Times are changing, however.

The locally built (and hence tariff-free) Ford Territory wagon is sold successfully as a rear-wheel-drive and also all wheel- drive. Meantime, the 5 per cent reduction in passenger-car tariffs 12 months ago has made imitation 4WDs a more financially sensible proposition for importers. As Hyundai has now proved with the Tucson City.

It looks a lot like the Tucson compact SUV that’s been on sale here since August 2004, and has the same high-riding driving position. But with power being transmitted only to the front wheels, it really is a small car clothed in more adventurous sheet metal.

There’s no off-road capability to speak of, although the point should be made that the real Tucson is of the genus soft roader anyway, lacking true mountain-conquering ability.

The City also downgrades to the Elantra’s variable-valve timed, 2.0-litre four-cylinder from the AWD’s 2.7-litre V6, and sheds the cladding around the lower body. No manual gearbox either – just Hyundai’s Selectronic four-speed auto with semi-manual mode.

The pay-off is in the price and running costs. At $25,990, the Tucson City is $4000 cheaper than the base-model V6 AWD, and its claimed 9.2 L/100 km fuel consumption average (on ULP) undercuts the V6 by nearly 2.0 L/100 km.

The flip-side should be sodden performance, but considering the City gives up 158 kg in kerb weight (primarily 4WD hardware and engine mass), the 25 kW and 57 Nm torque deficit doesn’t hurt as much as you might expect.

Equipment levels are also equivalent to the base-model Tucson V6 AWD, including dual airbags, traction control and ABS with EBD, plus air conditioning, remote central locking, an alarm, cruise control, a single-CD audio and 16-inch alloy wheels.

So within the family, the City shapes up pretty well, as long as you are realistic about your wants and needs.

Hyundai’s idea is not to cannibalise Tucson sales but give small-wagon buyers a ”leftfield” choice. It’s no surprise its price lines up closely with auto versions of Holden’s Astra CD, Mitsubishi’s Lancer ES and Toyota’s Corolla Conquest.

Hyundai Tucson

In many ways the City gives a good account. For a start, it has better luggage capacity than those three with the bench seat in-place or folded down.

Despite the taller ride height than a standard car, access to the rear isn’t too big a stretch, and a separately opening rear window adds convenience.

Where the Tucson starts to give ground to the likes of Astra and Lancer is in the driving.

The engine itself offers few issues, other than a tendency to be a little noisy close to the 6500 rpm redline, but the transmission is somewhat less convincing. An adaptive design, meant to provide shifts reflecting the driver’s inputs, instead proved unpredictable, sometimes holding gears and at other times shifting down with alacrity. The semi-manual mode helped, but it would still change up on its own accord rather than rev out.

More disappointing is the ride and handling, which Hyundai says is based on a more sporting European suspension set-up than the traditional pillowy SUV specification. But it’s still not great.

The steering demands an inconsistent level of effort and provides too much rattle and kickback over bumps; the front wheels slide into understeer too soon; the body height accentuates bodyroll in corners; and the ride quality deteriorates jarringly on rougher roads.

But keep the City in the city and a lot of that won’t matter.

In many ways the City succeeds in its objectives. If you don’t need off-road capability but want an SUV look, this is a user-friendly package that will ship a fair number of people and quantity of stuff around quite efficiently.

Hyundai Tucson

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