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Aussie input for Hyundai Tucson

Aussie influence: Hyundai's ix35-replacing Tucson underwent extensive Australian input for a more comfortable and rewarding drive when on home turf.

More than just local suspension tuning shaped new Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai logo31 Jul 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

HYUNDAI'S development engineers consulted with Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) representatives throughout the third-generation Tucson's development program, to obtain Australian market-specific input and feedback.

Speaking at the launch of the TL-series medium SUV in Thredbo, lead test driver and senior manager for product planning, Andrew Tuitahi, told GoAuto that development of the ix35 replacement started over two and a half years ago, and involved the HMCA team led by the local general manager for product engineering, Hee Loong Wong.

“It was a proactive approach gathering feedback right from the beginning,” he said. “Hyundai Motor Corporation began the discussions on what our requirements would be in early 2013.

“We felt we needed to be in the early development cycle.”

The Australian data that was shared with Hyundai South Korea revealed that the vast majority of journeys usually involve a single occupant, in mostly urban environments, but with an unusually high 30 per cent instance of dirt or gravel road driving.

“Gathering this sort of feedback is important,” Mr Tuitahi said. “And it was also conducted in North American and European markets too.”

HMCA employed the services of chassis consultant, David Potter, who has four decades of experience developing and honing suspension and related systems for companies including BMW, Subaru, and Porsche, as well as extensive contracts engineering military vehicles.

Mr Potter used chassis hard point information taken from computer aided design software and ran the date through simulations to virtually test a variety of spring rates, stabiliser bars, and bushes.

The results were handed on to the HMCA team, which provided the basis for testing actual prototypes in Australia from February this year.

Over 100 combinations of particular damper, anti-roll bar, and tyre types were trialled to achieve what is now a uniquely specific Australian tune for the Tucson, with the aim “… to introduce a common ‘feel’ to every Tucson, no matter which engine/transmission combination the car features,” according to Mr Tuitahi.

“Our Australian ride and handling DNA (means) smooth, calm and comfortable, in a car that encourages the driver to explore its limits a little more, to push it a little further,” he said.

“The front dampers are a bit softer than on international Tucson versions, promoting better roll response, more adjustability and sharper steering.”

Since February this year, further steering tune and dust sealing development also took place with prototype vehicles covering 20,000km in varying conditions including in searing outback heat.

The work has resulted in various modifications to the Tucson’s stability and traction control systems, transmission gear-shift logic, engine response, towing capacity and performance.

Competitors that were benchmarked in the Tucson's development include the Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4.

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