Why are Malaysian SUV buyers in this segment shying away from this Tucson? This SUV should be selling better, but its sales success was railroaded by the arrival of the Proton X70 earlier this year which competes directly with it on nearly all levels.
The Hi! Proton Global Key User Interface (GKUI) system has been the ‘killer’ feature in making Proton the darling of the SUV segment. The Tucson and some of its other rivals have had to conduct numerous conference calls with their associates at their respective home factories to comes up with a GKUI rival.
Hyundai should be talking to Samsung on a Joint Venture for all their vehicles to quickly install a GKUI rival as all new Proton products like the revised Iriz, Persona and 2019 Exora are GKUI ready.
Most middle class Malaysian SUV buyers are sticking to Proton’s X70 with GKUI and the rest who do not need a ‘talking’ cabin interface are going into Hyundai and its rivals showrooms and taking ownership.
The Tucson Look
This Hyundai Tucson continues the trend of incorporating Hyundai’s corporate radiator grille which is large and hexagonal.
The dashboard is rather restrained, which can be a good thing. Many car brands see a blank section of dashboard as an area to populate with as many creases, bends and trim pieces as they can but Hyundai has instead gone for the ‘less-is-more’ approach which is better executed over many others.
The interior also carries the ‘modern premium’ brand direction in full swing. Most of the panels are made of high-quality dark plastic save for a few chrome strips.
Despite being labelled a ‘compact’ SUV, the Tucson is anything but. Cargo room has been improved to 31 cubic feet while head and legroom are more than adequate for 4-5 adults without pinching comfort.
Performance-wise, the car was put through its paces both on highway stretches and tight urban streets. The 2WD Nu 2.0 MPI powertrain showed that it had no difficulty at all propelling all 1435kg of the Tucsons weight with its 155 PS and 192 Nm of torque.
Drivers should expect a good balance of power delivery and fuel economy thanks to the six-speed automatic gearbox, but don’t expect to take this 2WD Tucson into hardcore off-roading as it’s built as an urban SUV. However its ride height allows it to be driven along village roads and farm lanes.
The 2-litre petrol engine fires up quickly and with minimum fuss, and on the move proves a revelation thanks to the low noise and eagerness to rev. It will happily spin all the way around to 5,500rpm without complaint.
The rate at which the rev-counter’s needle climbs shows its smooth delivery. The driving experience is backed up by a weighty and relatively accurate steering, which mates perfectly with its gearbox.
There’s a firm edge to the damping, but it doesn’t crash or jar over imperfections and body control is excellent when pushing on. Despite its considerable talents, including a seating position that is neither too high nor too low, it never feels quite as car-like as some of its rivals.
It feels incredibly grown up, almost a class above its direct competitors, and the author will happily recommend this 2WD SUV on driving experience alone.
The Tucson comes with Hyundai Sime Darby Motors’ 50,000km free service which is valid for 3 years as well as its 5-year/300,000km warranty.
Hyundai Tucson Nu 2.0 MPi 2-Wheel Drive Specifications
Engine: In-line 4 direct injection petrol
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Max Power: 155PS @ 6200rpm
Max Torque: 192Nm @ 4,000rpm
Top Speed: NA