TUCSON MAKES THE CUT: Egmont Sippel reviews the new Hyundai Tucson. Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond
Wheels24 correspondent Egmont Sippel names his top 10 cars of 2016. Below is his review of the Hyundai Tucson.
Cape Town - There’s a lineage here, that’s more impressive than the equivalent one from Volkswagen.
Hyundai’s first compact SUV rocked up in 2004; the first Tiguan in 2007. Since then, the ix35 has moved through the Hyundai stable as a second generation Tucson and now we’re back with the original name, whilst the second generation Tiguan only debuted recently, pretty much when the third generation Tucson did.
Level-pegging, then, in terms of latest releases. Perfect to compare. With not much to choose between the two.
Here’s why: both ride on independent multi-link rear suspension; yes, the Tucson as well. In combo with the latter’s Sachs shocks, it really makes for decently compliant progress. Gas pressurized front shocks and hollow stabilizer bars fore and aft further advance the cause.
Both cars also boast good steering wheel weighting. VW was the first mass market producer to master the logarithms of electrically assisted power steering, whilst Hyundai/Kia struggled for many years. But they’ve nailed it on the new Tucson. Hyundai has also managed to catch up with smooth shift actions on manual transmissions, which previously were marred by somewhat dry, wooden and notchy throws.
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The new Tucson, however, glides through the gears - and not only on petrol models; on the oil burner as well.
In fact, you’ll be hard pushed to associate the 1.7 CRDi’s light and easy action as a shift having to deal with torque peaks of 265Nm, plus a dual mass flywheel. The mills in both the Korean and German cars are also smooth and refined with enough poke to keep you rolling with comparative ease and efficiency.
The Tucson 1.7-diesel will officially sip 5.6-liter/100km compared to the Tiguan 2.0 TDI’s 6.5-liter/100km, whilst the Tiguan 1.4 TSI petrol returns 7.3-litre/100km compared to the Tucson 1.6 Turbo’s 10-litre/100 km.
In the process, though, the Tucson 1.6T delivers 130kW/265Nm versus the Tiguan 1.4 TSI’s 92kW/200Nm.
Better power in one, better consumption in the other.
READ: Tucson returns to SA - 'Tougher, Prettier' Hyundai SUV
Give or take scenario
Even dimensions are pretty similar. The Tiguan is slightly longer and lower, the Tucson’s 62-litre juice tank holds a couple of litres more.
Ultimately, the biggest differences are therefore presented via character and style.
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The Tiguan has a chunky, filled-to-the-brim look in line with VW/Audi’s bold new design language where elegance is pushed to its limits by an underlying muscularity. Lord Greystoke is nothing but Tarzan in civil clothing; his neatly creased suit - and modern VW and Audi products carry horizontal lines, folds and creases galore - cannot hide the toned muscularity threatening to burst forth.
Don’t confuse this visual promise with on-road Tiguan performance, though - at least not yet.
The Tucson’s exterior design, by contrast, is much softer; a trait that’s continued in the cabin with a calm flowing lay-out to create a tranquil ambience, compared to the terse and intense straight-line modularity of the VW cockpit. Modern and classy, the latter, but definitely more uptight than the Hyundai’s curvier lines and relaxed presentation, not to speak of the VW’s unrelenting colour monotony vis-à-vis the Hyundai’s greater variety of black and grey shades.
READ: Hyundai SA replaces ix35 with Tucson - Specs and prices
Very little to go by, I admit.
But here’s a telling difference: besides the regular in terms of service plans and roadside assistance, the standard warranty on VW vehicles is three years or 120 000km, whichever comes first. Hyundai offers five years or 150 000km - plus a seven year or 200 000km drivetrain warranty.
Beat that for peace of mind.