HEART AND SEOUL – Hyundai Tucson

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There is no stopping Hyundai these days. While the Korean automaker has just launched their BMW 3 Series-rivalling Genesis in the US, and their Volkswagen Golf GTI-beating i30 N in Europe, they further bolster their aims of world domination with a refresh of two of their best-selling models in South Africa – the Tucson and budget Creta SUVs.

With the highly-rated Tucson, the SUV has had its front and rear end tweaked, and has now gained Hyundai’s signature cascading grill, along with a new design headlight, fog lamp, front bumper and skid plate. Out back, it gets new taillights and a redesigned bumper. And to further spruce up the flagship 1.6 TGDI Elite derivative, Hyundai has thrown on a freshly designed set of 19-inch wheels.

The interior of the Tucson has also come under the knife, with the SUV now sporting a redesigned dashboard with a floating 7-inch screen for its infotainment system that offers features such as Apple's CarPlay. There’s even an extra USB port in the rear, delivering additional power to recharge the devices on-board if needed.

And with the exterior upgrades, Hyundai has now decided to relaunch the front-wheel drive Tucson in three specification levels – Premium, Executive and Elite. This now takes the total number of derivatives up to seven, with a choice of three powertrains on offer - a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine; a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine; and a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel.

Premium, the entry-level derivative, includes an impressive amount of standard kit. Notably cruise control, a 7-inch infotainment system, LED DRLs, and driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags. There is only one engine on offer – a four-cylinder 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor, good for 115kw and 196nm, available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The middle specification derivative, Executive, gains everything the Premium has, as well as Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), leather seats, Blind Spot Detection for side mirrors, Cross Traffic Alert detectors at the rear, electric seat adjustment for the driver and a full auto air conditioner with climate control.  An Executive derivative with the 2.0-litre petrol engine, delivering power to the front wheels through a 6-speed auto gearbox, is a new addition to the range, as well as the Tucson turbo diesel Executive with a 131kw and 400nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine and new 8-speed automatic gearbox.

Topping the Tucson range is the Elite variant, which further adds a panoramic sun roof, electric seat adjustment for the front passenger as well, a push-button to start the engine and keyless entry. In terms of safety tech, it gains Blind Spot Detection, Hill-start Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Management and Cross Traffic Alert safety features. Engines used in the Elite derivatives are the 2.0-litre petrol; the 2.0-litre turbodiesel; and a 130kw, 265nm turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine which is coupled with an in-house developed 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The Tucson's colour range includes Black, Platinum Silver, Gemstone Red, Aqua Blue, Dusk Blue and Pepper Grey, and includes a 5 year/90 000 km service plan; and a 7-year/200 000 km warranty.

Tucson 2.0 Premium (manual) R399 900

Tucson 2.0 Premium (automatic) R419 900

Tucson 2.0 Executive (automatic) R459 900

Tucson 2.0 Elite (automatic) R499 900

Tucson R2.0 Executive Turbodiesel (automatic) R529 900

Tucson 1.6 TGDI Elite (Dual Clutch Transmission) R559 900

Tucson R2.0 Elite Turbodiesel (automatic) R569 900

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