Hyundai Tucson name returns at Geneva

Hyundai has shown off its stylish ix35 replacement in Geneva

Hyundai has revealed its latest mid-size SUV at the Geneva Motor Show, with a new name to match the dynamic new looks. The all-new Hyundai Tucson will go on sale later this year, replacing the current Hyundai ix35 and reviving a name not seen in the UK since 2009. 

• Geneva Motor Show 2015

The new Tucson, which has been designed for and will be built in Europe, is described as "another leap forward" for the Korean firm in this continent and in the competitive crossover sector. Jochen Sengpiehl, vice president of Hyundai Europe with responsibility for marketing, said: “We want this car to make you think a little bit differently about Hyundai.” 

The design is more elegant and athletic than before, with a ‘shark nose’ front, sharper lines, shorter overhangs and a sleeker A-pillar angle. Yet it still retains familiar Hyundai styling traits, such as the swept-back LED headlamps and the latest incarnation of the hexagonal front grille, with plenty of chrome in an attempt to give it a more prestige feel. 

Explaining the name change, UK CEO Tony Whitehorn told Auto Express: “This is not a direct replacement for the ix35 – it is a complete step change, a completely new vehicle. The Tucson name aligns it more closely with the Santa Fe, so we have more of an SUV family.”

The dynamic look continues in profile, with sculpted sides, ‘directional’ wheelarches – intended to give the car a dynamic look when stationary – and a noticeably small rear screen.

At the rear, boomerang-shaped tail-lights give the Tucson a recognisable signature. 

Hyundai Tucson: higher quality interior

In the cabin, there’s more space – thanks to a new platform, which will be shared with the Kia Sportage – and a marked jump in quality, with higher-grade materials plus extra comfort and connectivity features. The wine red leather featured in our pictures will be available as an option.

Hyundai says the cabin has undergone "extensive ergonomic testing" to ensure it's easier and more intuitive to operate. Optional equipment includes ventilated seats and a more advanced self-parking system, while autonomous braking, with three distinct modes, and rear-cross traffic alert systems are also available. The latter scans 180 degrees behind the Tucson to alert the driver to traffic approaching from the flanks. 

An upgraded TomTom sat-nav system controlled via a 7” touchscreen is said to be three times faster than that offered in other Hyundais. It also comes with a seven-year subscription.

The Tucson is 65mm longer and 30mm wider than the outgoing ix35, with 30mm added to the wheelbase. Passenger space is said to be improved all-round, but bootspace has been reduced from 591 litres to 516 litres. That figure is still competitive with the big hitters in the class, however, beating the Nissan Qashqai by 85 litres. 

Hyundai Tucson: engine range

The Tucson's EU6-compliant engine range will include two petrol units: a naturally-aspirated 1.6 GDI with 133bhp or a 173bhp version with a turbocharger. Both are available with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the higher-powered unit is also offered with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Three diesels are available - the entry-level 113bhp 1.7 and a 2.0-litre unit in two power outputs: 133bhp or 180bhp. These can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto. Two and four-wheel drive models will be available, with 4WD likely to be available on the 2.0 diesel.

Whether all five engines will come to the UK has yet to be confirmed, but Whitehorn said he would be keen to have them all.

Hyundai Tucson: wide range of rivals 

Rivals for the Tucson will be at the top of their game, however, so Hyundai's crossover has a tough job on its hands. Sister company Kia is readying a new Sportage – penned by Tucson designer Peter Schreyer – for the end of the year, while Honda has recently updated its CR-V and the Nissan Qashqai continues to sell well. Renault has also unveiled a new SUV of its own at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in the shape of the Kadjar.

The Tucson is set to join the throng in the UK market this September, with a slight price rise over the ix35, which currently starts at £17,000, inevitable. 

Hyundai Tucson: bold sales expectations

And Whitehorn has high hopes the Tucson will be a major sales success for the brand. He said: “The ix35 sold 16,900 for us last year and the Tucson will be a core car for us.

“It is part of our 20/20/20/20/20 plan – 20,000 sales each for the i10i20i30 and Tucson, and 20,000 for the rest of the range, to make 100,000.” 

Hyundai is also looking at the supermini-SUV market, although it has no plans “in the short term” to introduce a rival to the Nissan Juke. It currently sells the ix25 in China and India, but this model will not be brought to the UK.

Hyundai Tucson: design video

Now take a look at our round-up of the best 4x4s currently on sale

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