I recently learnt something rather interesting about Hyundai’s logo. Not only is it a stylistic version of the first letter in their name, but is also an abstract representation of two individuals shaking hands. Specifically, a representative of the company, and a supposedly happy customer.
And that’s exactly how today’s review kicked off. The salesman shaking our hands and handing over the keys to the metallic blue Tucson that was waiting outside. Except, was it a Tucson? Because I swear it was a Santa Fe for a second. Must be a trick of the light. Actually, it may have been the sun glinting off the extensive chrome adorning the front grille and side edges, something that Hyundai seems to have made merry with. The design itself though, which continues to highlight the company’s motif, is unlikely to offend anyone, while at the same time conveying a sense of presence and solidity.
The Tucson in question was a mid-range Exclusive, priced at R439 900 and armed with a 1.6L turbo-petrol good for 130kW and 245Nm of torque. Standard features, like anything produced by the Korean automotive giants, are vast in number and ergonomically wise, easy to find. The automatic air con and cruise control switches are exactly where you expect them to be, with an interior lathered in soft-touch material to create the impression of a quality product. There is a tradeoff though, as with the creation of functional workings comes the feeling of minor blandness. Sitting in this car is a comfortable experience, though perhaps not the most interesting. In terms of space, the car had everything going for the expectations of this segment, with decent legroom and headroom in the back, and a respectable boot size of 488 liters.
But what is lost on the dashboard in front of you can be made up in what that dashboard and subsequently, the steering wheel, can do for you. Driving around the hazardous terrain that is town roads you are assisted by a comfortable suspension that holds up well. Though marketed as small SUV, the Tucson is more suited for the tarmac than the mud, especially with ground clearance lower than its competitors resulting in fear of belly scratching if you go off the road. Steering that does seem sloppy at low speeds can be remedied by its switching from normal to sport mode that results in a more responsive system (though some may take issue with this considering that these modes are only available on more expensive models). Technology is your friend in this car, with conveniences such as a handbrake pull-away system on inclines, as well as an automated emergency braking setting for rolling declines. Good safety is also ticked off with the presence of six airbags and stability control.
But all these elements, even the ones that could raise an eyebrow, are complimented with the engine of this machine. While some may view the 2.0 naturally aspirated option as less of a drinker and potentially more reliable, our turbo delivered on promises made. Power is immediate in its delivery and reckoned that even if bogged down by luggage and kids, could stand up to inclines in the fifth of its six gears. At high speeds, the suspension and handling allow for a relaxed ride in this well-insulated cabin.
Upon returning our Tucson, we once again partook in the action that Hyundai’s logo represents and came to our final conclusions. Pros, drives well and well-priced. Cons, a bit boring in interior styling and not advised for off-road use (something to really keep in mind). Either way, it is a product to be considered when looking at say, the Ford Kuga or the Nissan Qashqui.
Hey, I did say the customer is the logo was supposedly happy, right?
Images source: Quickpic.co.za
This article originally appeared in Grocott’s Mail.