Taking its name from a desert city in the American Southwest, the Hyundai Tucson is one of Australia’s most popular mid-size SUVs. And has been since making its return in the third-quarter of 2015; replacing the ix35.

 

While some Australians remain dubious of vehicles not designed, developed and built here, the strength and science behind the Tucson make it every bit equipped to handle local conditions. But we’re not talking about a tank here, either. Tough as they come, the Tucson is roomy and fun to drive too. The perfect blending of performance and panache.      

 

 

Where Is The Hyundai Tucson Made?

 

Whilst countries like Germany and Italy are famous for their expertise in automotive engineering, the Czech Republic began perfecting their car-making processes during the Soviet-Era with many innovative vehicles developed by the Škoda Works.   

 

In 2008, Hyundai opened it’s massive Czech Republic factory in the tiny of village of Nošovice (population 970) at a cost of $1.66 billion. And in addition to the Tucson, their iX20, i30 Hatchback and i30 Kombi are also made here, where 350,000 cars are built annually.

 

Each Hyundai Tucson begins life in the form of huge steel coils imported from Austria, France and Korea. But it’s worth noting that the steel imported from Korea to help build the Tucson is made using iron ore mined right here in Australia.

 

Whilst manufactured overseas, Hyundai has invested millions in local development and testing to ensure that the Tucson’s unique chassis is optimised for Australian driving conditions. A consideration not made by all foreign manufacturers.

 

Once uncoiled, cut, shaped and stamped into panels, a specialised monorail system delivers the steel to the factory’s team of 300+ robots who weld the panels into place with their swinging arms.

 

But the assembly process is far from entirely automated. There’s a very human element and plenty of personal attention that goes into building every Tucson.

 

From screwing on door stays to cross-threading bolts on the fuel tank, assembly line workers lend their expertise to completing each Tucson before it’s put through a series of rigorous quality control tests and a few laps around the factory’s test circuit.

 

 

The Hyundai Tucson Returns

 

When Hyundai reintroduced the Tucson for 2016, it arrived sporting a new hexagonal grille design, chrome-rich character lines and long, handsome headlights.

 

The redesigned cabin included a two-tier dash with a large centre display featuring a pair of large instrument dials, multi-function steering wheel, and soft-touch materials throughout.

 

Under the bonnet, the 2016 Tucson was available with either a 130kW 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine and seven-speed dual-clutch auto, a naturally-aspirated 2.0 litre petrol engine or 2.0 litre diesel.  

 

The new Hyundai Tucson was wider than the outgoing iX35 by a full 30mm. But it’s height was reduced by 10mm to give the SUV a sportier profile. It boasted 513 litres of rear storage space and a longer wheelbase than the iX35.  

 

After being incredibly well received here in Australia, the Hyundai Tucson received particular praise for the incredibly smooth ride it offered. Even over our most unreliable roads. This was surely due to the 104 different suspension settings Hyundai Australia went through before deciding on the best possible option for local conditions.

 

 

The 2018 Hyundai Tucson

 

More powerful base engines and improved infotainment systems highlight the latest upgrades to the 2018 Hyundai Tucson range; the Active, Active X Elite and Highlander.  

 

Direct-injected 2.0 GDi engines replace 2.0 litre MPi base petrol engines. And Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is available on all variants across the range.  

 

At the top of the range, the Highlander variant features a suite of intelligent safety features known collectively as Hyundai SmartSense. They include Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Assist System, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Forward Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

 

But even at the base level, the inclusion of six airbags, a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors and steering-wheel-mounted controls carry on the tradition of the Hyundai Tucson being as safe to operate as it is fun to drive.

 

2018 Hyundai Tucson Specs By Variant

 

Active

  • 2.0 GDi petrol engine (2WD) or 2.0L CRDi diesel engine (AWD)
  • Six airbags
  • Rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Rear parking sensors
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Projector beam headlights with escort and welcome function
  • Automatic dusk-sensing headlights
  • 7.0-inch touchscreen, six speakers
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • AUX/USB audio input
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Steering-wheel-mounted audio controls
  • 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/60R17 tyres
  • Cruise control with steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • 60:40 split folding rear seats with multi-stage recline function
  • Roof rails

 

Active X extras

  • 2.0L GDi petrol (2WD)
  • Leather-appointed seats
  • Premium steering wheel and gear knob
  • 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/55R18 tyres
  • Electric folding side mirrors
  • Heated side mirrors
  • Illuminated glove box compartment
  • Optional panoramic glass sunroof for $2000

 

Elite extras

  • 2.0L GDi petrol (2WD), 1.6L T-GDi petrol (AWD) or 2.0L CRDi diesel (AWD)
  • LED headlights with static bending lights
  • Electrochromic auto dimming interior mirror
  • Electrically adjusted driver’s seat (10-way inc. lumbar)
  • Electronic park-brake with Auto Hold function
  • Dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning
  • Proximity smart key with push-button start
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen satellite navigation, three-year map update plan
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Privacy glass
  • Chrome effect front radiator grille, door handles & belt-line moulding
  • Puddle lights in side mirrors with courtesy light in door handles
  • LED side repeater integrated into side mirrors
  • Steering-wheel-mounted phone controls
  • Optional panoramic glass sunroof $2,000

 

Highlander extras

  • 1.6L T-GDi petrol (AWD) or 2.0L CRDi diesel (AWD)
  • 19-inch alloy wheels with 245/45R19 Continental ContiSportContact5 Tyres
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Blind Spot Detection (BSD) incorporating Lane Change Assist (LCA)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Emergency Stop Signal (ESS)
  • Trailer Stability Assist (TSA)
  • Front parking sensors
  • Electrically adjusted front passenger’s seat (8 way inc. lumbar)
  • Heated and air-ventilated front seats
  • Panoramic glass sunroof and LED map lights
  • Centre console driver’s side knee bolster
  • Twin-tip trapezoidal exhaust
  • 4.2-inch TFT LCD colour display in supervision cluster
  • Matte grey effect skid plate (front & rear)
  • Chrome garnish on power window switches
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • LED tail-lights with bulb turn signal & reverse lights
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Solar-control glass
  • Glove box compartment with cooling

 

 

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