New approach for Hyundai 4x4
12 February 2004

Hyundai is stepping up its SUV offensive with the new RAV4-rivalling Tucson. Unveiled at last week’s Chicago show, it joins the Santa Fé and Terracan to forge a trio of off-roaders in the Korean brand’s line-up.

Prices will start from around £15,000 when sales begin this autumn, and engine choices are 2.0-litre diesel, 2.0-litre petrol and the 2.7 V6 petrol mated to either five-speed manual or four-speed auto transmission.

The four-wheel-drive system automatically diverts up to half the torque to the rear wheels when it detects a loss of traction, although there is also a manual override for four-wheel drive.

The Tucson sits on a modified version of the Coupé platform, and at 4325mm is 60mm longer than the rival five-door RAV4. Hyundai is developing suspension, brakes and tyres for British roads from its European HQ in Frankfurt.

Interior flexibility is helped by a separately opening rear window, fold-flat rear seats and a folding passenger seat, and Hyundai is endeavouring to give the cabin a more European feel.Although sharing styling cues with the Santa Fé, Hyundai Europe’s chief designer Michael Fink claims the new baby SUV is ‘much less polarising’ than its big brother. ‘The Santa Fé was tuned to US-only tastes, it was designed and focused on the US,’ he told Autocar. ‘The Tucson is aimed at the European market.’

The glut of new Hyundais will continue at next month’s Geneva Motor Show with a new concept car previewing the next Accent hatchback, which goes on sale next year. And the firm will also launch an all-new Mondeo-sized car at the Paris Motor Show in October.

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