With intentions of improved market share, the South Korean brand then launched the more affordable Creta last year. However, with opposition brands stepping their game up, Hyundai has responded by releasing the updated Tucson and Creta, complete with a more streamlined range for the former. I travelled north of Johannesburg to sample the two models recently.
With a good mix of variants spread across several pricing sectors, the pre-facelift Tucson has been widely accepted and is well liked by the South African motoring public if one looks at the over 13 000 units that have already been sold.
The updated model aims to improve upon this popularity with refreshed aesthetics, which includes a new front grille, updated headlamps and fog lamps, reshaped bumper and a new skidplate. At the rear, there are new taillamps and a new rear bumper while certain variants get newly designed alloy wheels as well.
Inside is perhaps where the changes are most notable, with a new dashboard design which includes a new housing for the seven-inch infotainment system that now offers Apple CarPlay.
With Hyundai now sourcing its Tucson models exclusively from South Korea, it has had to simplify its model line-up, now made up of seven derivatives.
From an engine perspective, the only motor that has been dropped from the range is the 1.7-litre turbodiesel. There’s still the 115kW/196Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine available with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox.
The major changes to the range comes in the form of the 2.0-litre turbodiesel variant, which still produces 131kW/400Nm but is now teamed to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Carried over is the 130kW/265Nm 1.6-litre T-GDI turbo-petrol model mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box.
Three specification levels
The range now comes with three specification levels; the entry level ‘Premium’ includes features such as cruise control, the aforementioned infotainment system, LED daytime running lights and driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags.
Moving one up, the ‘Executive’ adds Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), leather seats, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, electric seat adjustment for the driver and climate control. The top-spec ‘Elite’ model gets a panoramic sunroof, electric passenger’s seat, push-button start, keyless entry and an second USB port in the rear.
Having only been on sale locally for a year or so, but having been available in markets such as India for quite some time, the updates to the Creta may seem premature for our market, but are certainly in-line with the model’s current lifespan.
From an exterior perspective, the Creta also gets a new chrome grille, redesigned bumper, dual-tone skidplates, updated fog lamps, redesigned roof rails, new alloy wheels, reworked taillamps and a new rear skidplate.
The interior however remains widely unchanged although I did note the black leather seats in place of the grey items from the model I drove previously. I also noted cruise control as a noteworthy addition to the specification list.
From a powertrain and specification perspective, Hyundai has kept the Creta range as it was before with three powertrain options. All models come with the Executive specification which includes an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and leather seats.
From a safety perspective, the Creta still lacks an Electronic Stability Programme, which is a cause for some concern, but it does sport dual front/side and curtain airbags as well as ABS with EBD.
The engine and gearbox combinations remain the same with a 90kW/150Nm 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine connected to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox, or the range-topping 94kW/260Nm 1.6-litre turbodiesel is mated exclusively to the auto.
Service plan and warranty
All derivatives come with a five-year/90 000km service plan as well as a seven-year/200 000km warranty, which consists of a five-year/150 000km warranty and an extended two-year/50 000km drivetrain warranty.
1.6 Executive - R339 900
1.6 Executive AT - R359 900
1.6 CRDI Executive AT - R399 900
2.0 Premium - R399 900
2.0 Premium AT - R419 900
2.0 Executive AT - R459 900
2.0 Elite AT - R499 900
2.0 CRDI Executive AT - R529 900
1.6 T-GDI Elite AT - R559 900
2.0 CRDI Elite AT - R569 900