Riding on the success of the Hyundai Tucson in the Asia Pacific region where more than half a million units have been sold, Hyundai Motors unveiled the all-new Tucson in Southeast Asia with a ride and drive event in the Philippines with international motoring journalists in attendance.
Organized by Hyundai Automotive Resources Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the country, the four-day ride and drive event (dubbed as All-new Tucson: Tu-Tough; Tu-Sexy) had the journalists drive 20 all-new Tucsons along the scenic provincial roads of Panay island, with the drive commencing from Roxas City and ending at the Caticlan port in Malay, Aklan.
The motoring journalists converged at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City for the product briefing and event details. From the hotel, the group was ferried to the adjacent NAIA Terminal 3, where a chartered Philippine Airlines turbo-prop aircraft for Roxas City awaited.
Upon arrival in Roxas City (which is the seafood capital of the Philippines), a big spread of all the special fare Roxas’ waters had to offer were served for lunch. We had too much (lunch), in fact, that most of the drivers were reluctant in driving the first leg (as everybody was full). But the drive had to go on.
Rally legend Vip Isada, together with Roadwise rally drivers plotted the course for the Tucson covering close to 150 kilometers of short straights with lots of twisties carved from the boonies of Panay.
The all-new Tucsons were neatly parked near the lunch venue and welcomed the participants with its striking new looks. As what was discussed during the briefing, the all-new Tucson continues with Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design theme that debuted on the 2015 Genesis. The third-generation Tucson sports an athletic, bold and striking appearance, with the front being dominated by a hexagonal-shaped grille – a key element of Hyundai’s design signature, enhanced by available high-efficiency LED twin-projector headlights, LED headlight accents and integrated LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs)—that helps make the Tucson look Tu-Sexy.
With its fluidic shape, Hyundai engineers were also able to give the all-new Tucson a drag coefficient of 0.33 Cd, which is the best in its class. The Tucson’s lower drag coefficient was achieved through a special aerodynamic design on the A-pillar, rear spoiler, side trim and underbody panels, all of which reduce air vortex and drag.
On the inside, the Tucson has extra-wide instrument panel contours that enhance the occupants’ overall sense of interior roominess. Interior touch points have been upgraded with premium, soft-touch materials. All interior switches have a more refined feel during operation. The overall ambience of roominess is further enhanced by an available full-length panoramic sunroof, allowing both front and rear passengers day or night skyward visibility.
The 2016 Tucson is longer and wider and provides greater interior volume than its predecessor. A generous 513-liter cargo are easily accommodated our bags and gear for the four-day event. A new feature on the Tucson is the dual-level rear cargo floor, which enhances the vehicle’s cargo carrying versatility and a wide-opening tailgate that makes loading and unloading more convenient.
There were several stops along the way for photo shoots with the spectacular vistas as well as stops for driver and car changes. Everybody took turns in driving the 2WD and 4WD variants that were powered by either the Nu 2.0-liter MPi petrol engine with 6-speed automatic transmission, or the R 2.0-liter CRDi diesel power plant with 6-speed automatic transmission. The Nu 2.0-liter MPi petrol engine is Euro 2 compliant and has a maximum power output of 157 PS (154 horsepower) and 20 kg/m of torque. Meanwhile, the R 2.0 CRDi diesel engine, which is also Euro 2 compliant, has a more punchy power of 178 PS (175 hp) and 41 kg/m of torque.
The roads of Panay proved to be a very competent test pad for the Tucson. The undulating roads coupled with tight twists and turns that carved through the mountainsides proved how well-engineered the new Tucson is—making it Tu-Tough. The all-new Tucson’s suspension received a bit of engineering enhancements that enables it to become more responsive and provide exceptional handling. Besides that, the ride has evidently become smoother, quieter and more comfortable.
Traction was greatly improved with the Tucson’s state-of-the-art all-wheel-drive system that helps maintain grip on all four wheels even in rough, lose, or slippery surfaces. Driving the Tucson on the twisties (at speeds we don’t want to post) felt like we were riding on rails, thanks to the Advance Traction Cornering Control. The new system, instead of cutting power to the wheel that loses traction, transfers more torque to the wheel with the most grip.
Another excellent feature of the all-new Tucson is its Vehicle Stability Management (VSM). We got to try how it worked as it kept the vehicle fully planted on the road as we braked and turned simultaneously on an extremely wet street. The VSM complemented the electronic stability control and helped us control the Tucson in unstable driving conditions. A larger set of disc-rotors, both in the front and rear, were also installed on the new Tucson, giving the vehicle the stopping power whenever needed.
We were driving in a convoy so there was rarely a chance for us to test the Tucson’s other features including the new Blind Spot Detection (BSD) system. There was one case though, when an overly zealous racer-wannabe from a local publication, suddenly decided to break convoy and overtake everyone else (including the lead car, almost). Thank God for this feature as a visual alert lit up in both the side mirror and cluster display, and alerted me of the devilish overtaking maneuver—thus preventing what could have been a very embarrassing fender bender. Other features available with the new Tucson, which we were not able to test, include the Hill-start Assist Control and Downhill Brake Control. Both features claim it assists driver facing sharp incline or decline conditions.
Overall, the third-generation Tucson performed extremely well in all aspects; be it looks, ride, handling, performance and value. And with the all-new Tucson having a Tu-Tough and Tu-Sexy boldness, it’s price tag starting at P1.178 million makes it just Tu-Tempting to pass up.