Hyundai Tucson review, test drive

    The Hyundai Tucson is returning to India. But does the third-generation SUV have what it takes to rake in sales this time?

    Published on Sep 27, 2016 06:00:00 PM


    Make : Hyundai
    Model : Tucson

    Remember the first Hyundai Tucson? You probably won’t. It went away as quietly as it came and in the five years it was around, Hyundai managed to sell only a piffling 1,810 units. The Tucson was one of Hyundai’s rare flops, not because most people struggled to pronounce the name right (it’s not ‘Tuck-son’ but ‘Too-sawn’ after the city in Arizona) but because it was the right product at the wrong time and possibly at the wrong price. The Tucson, the only diesel soft-roader when it was launched in 2005, had a lot going for it, but it was up against the marginally cheaper Honda CR-V. That was also an age when customers thought it silly to pay Honda-money for a Hyundai, even if it had a diesel advantage. And back then, with petrol at Rs 40-45 litre, diesel wasn’t such a big deal.

    Disheartened by the Tucson’s failure, Hyundai didn’t bother to bring in its successor, the second-generation Tucson also known as the ix35 in many markets. But now, after skipping a generation, Hyundai is all set to bring the Tucson back to India. Why the change of heart? It’s more like a change of times. A bold, confident and aggressive Hyundai is no longer on the back foot and is, in fact, making deep inroads into the upper reaches of the market which once eluded it. The timing of the Tucson’s launch is also perfect. The runaway success of the Creta and the skew in demand for the more expensive variants have proved there’s an appetite for premium SUVs and the Tucson is well placed to catch the spillover of customers looking for something even more premium. The Tucson also neatly fills the gap between the Santa Fe and the Creta to complete Hyundai’s SUV portfolio and further cash in on the SUV craze, which is showing no signs of cooling off. And, the fantastic response at the Auto Expo was the last bit of validation Hyundai needed, to give the Tucson a green light. So, will it be second-time lucky?

    No doubt, it’s a much more competitive landscape now with everyone and their uncle swarming in with SUVs. But interestingly, the Tucson has found a sliver of the SUV market, the Rs 17-22 lakh band, all to itself. True, SUVs like the Endeavour and Fortuner are formidable rivals but none of them are soft-roaders or as urban-centric as the Tucson and this makes it unique. The Tucson’s first true direct rival will be the VW Tiguan but that’s not coming until mid-2017. So, can the Tucson make the most of this free run?

    Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.


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