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First local drive: Hyundai Tucson 2.0


Hyundai Sime-Darby Motors will be launching the all-new third-generation Hyundai Tucson later this week, but thanks to our usual Hyundai dealer, we were able to get a quick test drive of the SUV before its official debut!


Upon laying my eyes on the new Tucson, I noticed how much more matured the new SUV is, with its pronounced front grille, surrounded by a pair of large projector headlights with LED daytime running lights. The Executive variant I tested here also features front foglights and LED position lights.


All Tucson variants in Malaysia feature a set of 17-inch alloy wheels, wrapped with 225/60R17 Continental MaxContact 5 rubbers all round. Ventilated disc brakes are found up front, while the rear gets a pair of solid discs. Like most new 2015 cars, the third-generation Hyundai Tucson is also equipped with rear foglights.


Moving inside, the high-riding Tucson does offer a much better designed interior than its predecessor. Gone are all the swooping curves found on the second-generation Tucson, now replaced with a simpler, more matured design. For example, the aircon vents are now horizontal, as opposed to the vertical slats on the older Tucson. The Executive variant here also gets a 10-way electronically-adjustable driver seat, as well as an Android-powered touchscreen infotainment system.


Not much has changed under the hood, as Hyundai Sime-Darby Motors has thrown in the same 2.0-litre engine mated to a six-speed automatic. According to Hyundai, the engine pushes out a maximum 158 PS at 6,200 rpm and 192 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The third-generation Tucson is front wheel drive.


Paper specifications is one thing, and driving experience is another. While the paper specifications may not impress some, the driving experience of the new Tucson certainly did raise my eyebrow, in a good way.


After familiarizing myself with the controls, I immediately noticed how responsive the new Tucson is while on the move. The six-speed automatic transmission was very eager to downshift, which in turn was able to make the most out of Hyundai’s ‘Nu’ engine. In fact, the Tucson feels far more responsive than the supposedly-sporty Veloster Turbo. Engine noise can get rather intrusive at higher revs, but that is not how Tucson owners are going to drive their new SUVs. No, the Tucson owners will be puttering around town or fetching kids to school. For that, the Tucson deserves top marks for its NVH levels, as tyre and road noises are very well suppressed from the cabin.

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Also surprising from the new Hyundai Tucson is the way it handles. Sure, it is an SUV, but the steering, albeit light, does offer good precision not found on other SUVs in the segment. Turn in, and the Tucson’s rear end tracks the corner with confidence. The Tucson is also very well mannered through corners, with the harder suspension set up keeping body roll at a minimum. Some may find that ride comfort might be a bit bumpy, however.


The initial test drive here certainly showcases the potential of the new Tucson, which we certainly can’t wait to try it out for a longer period. Stay tuned for our full review of the third-generation Tucson!

Third-generation Hyundai Tucson photo gallery