Twins: 2019 Hyundai Tucson Sport returns in style

A little extra pizzazz never hurt.PHOTOS: quickpic
A little extra pizzazz never hurt.PHOTOS: quickpic

ISN’T it wonderful when a Sport model is given extra power and torque to back up its appearance package; the one that adds weight to render it fractionally slower?

Hyundai heard my silent plea. In order to create a uniquely South African Tucson, back in September 2017, Hyundai engineers separated a 1.6-litre, turbopetrol Elite from the flock.

They then chipped it, tweaked the exhaust system, added an imported body kit and asked Tiger Wheel and Tyre for a dedicated set of black alloy wheels with 245/45R19 tyres. That engine upgrade added 20 kilowatts and 30 Newton-metres to produce 150 kW and 295 Nm of sizzle. Its six-speed manual transmission remained untouched. An all-wheel drive version with seven-slot DSG came along later but both were shelved when the range was facelifted in September 2018. The said facelift meant that a new body kit had to be found and now it has.

But rather than resurrect the by now obsolete 1.6T awd to run alongside the original front-wheel driver, Hyundai SA chose instead to transfer power and appearance kits, exhaust and wheels to a 2.0-litre diesel Elite.

That continues to use its eight-speed, torque converter automatic while the petrol model inherits the old awd version’s seven-speed DCT. Appearance-wise, the grille was blackened, there’s a spoiler below the front apron, side skirts were added and four exhaust pipes add menace to a body coloured skid plate under the rear valance. The black, 19” wheels remain unchanged.

Elite specification covers almost everything: both front seats adjust electrically; there are six air bags; a sunroof; LED headlamps with auto-on; fog lights front and rear; all-around disc brakes with ABS, EBD, ESP, VSM, AYC, DBC and HAC; dual zone aircon with ioniser and pollen filter; seven-inch touch screen; lots of connectivity; smart key entry and start; automatic locking and unlocking; cruise control; blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane change assistance; folding outside mirrors and reversing camera. Need I go on? The brief acquaintance run showed that both are entertaining to drive although characters differ. The diesel, with its tons of new-found torque, chirped front wheels easily on pull-away although its gearbox was less trigger happy. Plain English: Flooring the pedal at around 100 km/h produced a steady surge of acceleration but no dramatic kick down. The petrol car was less strident on take-off but sportier overall; gears shifted more evidently, the engine snarled delightfully (that special exhaust) and it offered greater driver-machine involvement.

I liked both but you can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?

Tucson five-seat SUVs boast ample room for cargo and passengers and sell at an average of 316 per month. Fuel consumption claims are, apparently, realistically attainable on the Highveld too.

Stanley Anderson, the sales director, says he checks them personally. And a little extra pizzazz never hurt anyone.

THE NUMBERS

Base prices: 1.6 turbopetrol @ R654 900,2.0 turbodiesel @ R664 900

Petrol engine: 1591 cc, DOHC, D-CVVT, 16-valve, direct injection four-cylinder, turbocharged

Power and torque: 150 kW/300 Nm

Zero to 100 km/h: 8,9 seconds

Maximum speed: 201 km/h

Claimed average fuel consumption: 8,9 l/100 km

Diesel engine: 1995 cc, DOHC 16-valve, E-VGT diesel

Power and torque: 150 kW/460 Nm

Zero to 100 km/h: 9,3 seconds

Maximum speed: 201 km/h

Claimed average fuel consumption: 7,9 l/100 km

Tank: 62 litres

Luggage: 488 — 1 478 litres

Warranty: 5 years/150 000 km, with additional two years/50 000 km on powertrain

Roadside assistance: seven years/150 000 km

Service plan: five years/90 000 km at 15 000 km intervals.

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