BUYER’S GUIDE: 2018 Hyundai Tucson

Cherryl Anne Cruz

They say “three times’ a charm,” and rugged charm is something that the Hyundai Tucson has in spades. This crossover has already spanned three generations of updates and improvements, and yes, the latest one is a marvel to look at. But there’s more to it than that. Thanks to Hyundai’s “Innovation of Fundamentals” Philosophy, the third-generation Tucson now offers better performance and safety (among many others).

So what are the changes that you should expect from this uber sexy car? Allow us to give you the details.

Engine

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The Hyundai Tucson has two engine options: the gasoline-fed Nu 2.0-liter MPI and the R 2.0-liter CRDi e-VGT diesel The former has a maximum power of 153 hp/6,200 rpm and maximum torque of 192 Nm/4,000 rpm while the latter has a max power of 182 hp/4,000 rpm and a max torque of 402 Nm/1750~2750 rpm. Transmission options for the Tucson are either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic though the former is only offered with the Nu 2.0-liter gasoline engine.

Exterior

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We’ve already given you a huge bite of the pie in our introduction earlier, so we won’t talk too much about how attractive the Tucson is. What we can tell you is that it’s bigger by a couple of inches compared to its predecessor. Measuring 4,475 mm (length), 1,850 mm (width), and 1,660 mm (height), even its headroom and wheelbase have added spaces–enough to wiggle around without looking like an Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel.

Every line and body structure of the Tucson is designed to be aerodynamic. It has a 0.33 drag coefficient and “delivers a premium experience like no other.”

Interior

Get inside the Tucson, and you’ll see plastic everywhere. It’s enough to make you feel a bit slighted (given its price), but not enough to start a Tupperware party with your compadres.

Still, Hyundai makes it up to you by adding elegant and nicely-textured buttons, and easy to use controls. All four variants come with a 3.5-inch Mono TFT LCD + Trip Computer instrument cluster, a 3.8-ich Mono LCD/Radio/CD/USB/AUX infotainment system, and six speakers.

Safety

Hyundai Tucson offers new active safety features, with advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) for a stronger body. Apart from that, we’re a bit disappointed. Its lower variants offer minimal safety features apart from airbags, ABS-EBD, and Child Safety Rear Door Locking. Really, Hyundai, you can be more generous than that. On the other hand, the R-Variant significantly has more safety features that are quite impressive.

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Convenience

The Tucson’s strengths are practicality, convenience, and comfort, which are seen mostly in the supportive seats. They’re so comfortable that it makes you feel like you’re reading a good book at home, eating a dark chocolate eclair with two-shots of espresso on the side. Nice.

The fabric seats aren’t bad as well. We especially like the Driver (8-Way) + Lumbar Support (2-Way) of the top-spec R-variant.

The Tucson uses MDPS (Motor Driven Power Steering) for the N-variant, while its R-variant uses Drive Mode Select (GLS A/T). Some features worth noting are the seatback pockets in the front seats and the Rear Park Assist System that alerts drivers when parking in a tight space. Its Cargo Screen “covers all your things” so they won’t look messy, while the retractable seatback mounted hooks hold shopping bags and purses with ease.

Our Verdict

Should you go for a Tucson? No, if your priority is a rugged off-roader that can take you to any terrain with flying colors. It’s not for you if you like living on the edge, with the outdoors your main platform for entertainment–or self-fulfillment.

Besides, the safety features are not enough to buffer you (if you’re buying the N-variant) should you decide to go for an adventurous trek in the wild. If you want to upgrade for better features and safety amenities, then the R-variant is tough to beat.

Over the years, the third generation Tucson has evolved into a more refined SUV, more apt for city driving and occasional out-of-town trips to the province. It offers the middle line when it comes to fuel economy and performance, which is more than enough to satisfy urban or rural dwellers who just like to move about and have fun without getting “muddy” or “swampy” doing it.

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