Hyundai Tucson is here to challenge Qashqai dominance | CAR Magazine

Hyundai Tucson is here to challenge Qashqai dominance

Published: 19 February 2015 Updated: 19 February 2015

► First pictures of new Hyundai Tucson
► Replaces the ix35 in Europe
► Now bigger than Qashqai

Hyundai’s main event at the forthcoming Geneva motor show is the new Tucson – the junior crossover that’ll replace the ix35 SUV.

And from these first photos it’s apparent that this could be a junior Santa Fe in the making. The new Hyundai Tucson looks a very grown-up kind of family 4×4 to challenge the ubiquitous Qashqai.

Hyundai Tucson (2015): what’s new?

This is a European-built car hailing from the Czech republic, although the Tucson will be a global vehicle and assembled at various locations around the world. Hence the name switch from ix35 to Tucson, a badge that has been used in parallel in other markets around the world for some years. 

Remember the old, boxy Tucson sold in the UK? The 2015 model couldn’t appear more different…

The new grille may look heavy-handed in these first official photos, but it’s intended to ram home the dramatic change in wardrobe. ‘The all-new Tucson has a bold and athletic presence achieved through refined, flowing surfaces, bold proportions, sharp lines and most importantly, our newest generation hexagonal grille – our brand signature,’ parrots Peter Schreyer, now Hyundai’s chief design officer.

Sounds like he’s slowly but surely applying the same rigorous style makeover at Hyundai that he undertook so successfully when he turned around sister brand Kia’s design direction.

Engineering, specs of new Tucson

This compact crossover is based on a totally new platform, the company claims. The architecture liberates more space for bodies and bags (the boot’s swollen to 513 litres) and the overall footprint has grown by 65mm in length. The Tucson is now 4475mm long and it’s 30mm wider, too, at 1850mm. The footprint is consequently a shade bigger than the market-leading Qashqai’s

Engine choice looks like this, with a choice of two petrol engines and three diesels. The higher-powered petrol can be specced with an optional seven-speed twin-clutch transmission:

1.6-litre GDI petrol 133bhp
1.6-litre T-GDI petrol 174bhp
1.7-litre diesel 113bhp
2.0-litre diesel 134bhp
2.0-litre diesel 182bhp

There’s a bundle of tech available, too, including autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, self-parking into parallel and nose-first spaces, heated and ventilated front seats, powered tailgates and navigation with a seven-year subscription to TomTom Live traffic serves.

This is an important launch for Hyundai; it’s developed a strong foothold in the SUV marketplace, notching up 1 million sales in Europe in total, more than 116,000 of them in the UK. Not bad going since the Santa Fe only launched here in 2001.

One fifth of the company’s sales in Britain are made up by C-SUV segment. So expect to see plenty of new Tucsons pounding the UK’s streetscape in the months ahead.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words