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Geneva show: Hyundai Tucson connects with future

Well connected: The new Tucson is expected to offer both CarPlay and Google Drive web-based services.

New ix35-succeeding Tucson will be first Apple/Android compatible Hyundai


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17 Feb 2015

HYUNDAI will move out of the light-sized SUV segment into the traditional small/medium category when the all-new Tucson, revealed overnight in Europe, replaces the strong-selling ix35 in the second half of this year.

The all-new Tucson will herald the return of the nameplate to the Australian market after a six-year absence. The nomenclature change is part of a global decision to move away from an alphanumeric system, and follows the recent i45/Sonata switch locally.

GoAuto understands that the Tucson will also be the first Hyundai vehicle in Australia to offer both Apple CarPlay and Google Auto functionality as standard.

Both systems are designed to integrate seamlessly with existing mobile phone architectures to provide navigation, Siri or Google Voice function command and other functions across the entire Tucson range.

The Apple system, released last year, is already in use in US-spec Sonatas, and provides hands-free message reading and dictation, Apple Map integration and more.

The ix35 is the clear leader in the city SUV class, moving 1636 units in January this year. It was the third-highest-selling SUV across all segments in 2014, beaten only by Mazda’s CX-5 and Toyota’s RAV4.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia PR general manager Bill Thomas said he did not believe the name change would create problems for the South Korean brand.

“Tucson was a successful vehicle for Hyundai in Australia – it sold well and many people still have great affection for it,” Mr Thomas told GoAuto.

“Yes, it was replaced by the ix35 after only one generation, but anyone trading in their ix35 for an all-new Tucson will have no doubt about the type of vehicle they’re buying. Tucson is a completely new model – we don’t see the name change as being a major issue.” The heavily stylised SUV will be built on an all-new platform, and will be offered in both front- and all-wheel-drive variants. It measures 4475mm long and 1850mm wide, and stands 1645mm high, and offers a claimed 513 litres of luggage space with the seats up.

It is unlikely that the vehicle will be offered with a third-row seat option, however high-level extras such as leather trim, heated/vented front seats, smart tailgates and assisted parking are anticipated.

From a safety perspective, the Tucson will come equipped with a three-mode – pedestrian, city and inter-urban – autonomous braking system, an active lane keep system, blind spot detection and a speed limiter. LED headlights and daytime running lamps are also fitted, and a rearview camera will be offered across the entire range.

Australian buyers will be able to choose from a variety of powertrain options, though it is understood not all will be offered locally.

The 2.0-litre R-Series CRDi turbo-diesel engine will carry over from the ix35, matched to an all-wheel drivetrain. Likewise, the 2.0-litre GDI petrol engine will make the transition, most likely mated to FWD.

A 2.4-litre petrol engine is offered in European markets, but it will not be offered here, replaced instead by a T-GDI 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder – as used in the Veloster Turbo – that generates 130kW. It is likely to be offered with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DCT) unit, and in an AWD configuration.

Mr Thomas underlined that final specifications and prices are yet to be formalised, but confirmed that the 2.4-litre is not a starter for Australia.

“The 1.6 turbo will provide plenty of power and torque, giving equal if not greater performance than the 2.4, most likely combined with improved efficiency,” he told GoAuto. “It's an excellent powertrain option for us. “ As with previous Hyundai models, localised steering and suspension tuning will be undertaken on the Tucson before local release. This process will start in late February, according to HMCA.

The Tucson will be made in both the Czech Republic and in South Korea, and HMCA will take vehicles from both plants, as it has done to great effect with the current ix35.

The Tucson’s design was commissioned and overseen by Hyundai Motor Group president and chief design officer at Peter Schreyer, with input from Hyundai’s design centres in Korea and the United States, and places the Tuscon’s design lineage firmly in step with its bigger Santa Fe stablemate.

The company claims that it has also worked hard on improving the quality and texture of interior materials and surfaces, as well as on improving levels of NVH.

Final Australian specifications and pricing will be released closer to launch.

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