Sprint Review: 2018 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Elite

Did you know that Hyundai now has four SUV’s in the local market? The funky Kona and sensible Creta cater for the compact segment (and wallet) while their brand-new seven-seater Santa Fe wears the brand’s crown. But the one which started it all – at least locally – is this accomplished Tucson.

What you need to know: During its teenage rebellious phase, the frumpy Tucson changed its name and drastically altered its image to conquer some impressive SUV market share. Good call, Hyundai. Looking sharper than ever, with new-age drive trains and specifications, this new-new Tucson now plays defensive against an armada of rivals.

More facts: You get diesel, petrol or turbo-petrol power and this 1.6T Elite represents the most powerful and expensive derivative. Its R580,000 price tag is hardly reasonable yet justifiable when specifications are taken into account. You don’t easily get twin clutches, keyless entry, touch-screen nav, LED headlights and a massive warranty at this price.

Where we went: Friends, family, a farm, the office and a meeting in another village. The Tucson did as was expected of it, slotting into our everyday lives with little fuss. Jeep tracks, dirt roads and suburban speed humps are no problem with 172mm of ground clearance. The boot takes a generous 490L, extendable to almost 1,500L with the rear seats folded.

Watch out for: Progress wasn’t always butter-smooth from the dual-clutch auto’box; be extra cautious at parking speeds and on steep inclines. Those striking 19-inch alloys necessitate lower side profiles (245/45) of their tyres; read: less low-speed comfort. Performance is good though: 0 to 100km/h in just under nine seconds.  

Why you’ll want one: New additions to its already-handsome visage are subtle design tweaks on the outside and a new stand-up infotainment system on its curvy dashboard. The features contained therein are easily controlled once you get the hang of the various inputs: touch, knobs, buttons or steering wheel-mounted controls.

Paint, panel fit, seals and cabin materials are pleasing to most people; grab a VWAG product for that extra bit of tactile quality. Otherwise, the Hyundai Tucson represents the perfect modern-day vehicle. SUV abilities wrapped in a bold design with all modern conveniences and a chunky warranty at a competitive price.


  • Engine: 1.6L i-4 turbo-petrol
  • Transmission: 7-speed Automatic, FWD
  • Max. Power / Torque: 130kW / 265Nm
  • Avg cons.: Approx. 11L/100km (claimed 8.5)
  • 0-100km/h: 8.40 seconds (claimed 8.9)
  • Top Speed: (claimed 201km/h)
  • List Price: R579,900

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