Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Used Car Review - Hyundai Tucson (2005-2009)

The Korean car industry was a discussion topic inside comedy bars (operated by car enthusiasts and their talents are Vice Ganda, if this person was a car enthusiast) and beer sessions. Slowly but surely, they have improved when it comes to vehicle quality and they have been now favorites of every motorist around the world. Myk Belmonte asses this popular vehicle.

2005-2009 Hyundai Tucson

Back in 1998, South Korea was severely hit by the East Asian Financial Crisis. Daewoo was bought out by General Motors and Kia was purchased by Hyundai with the three lettered brand declaring bankruptcy. With the marriage of Hyundai and Kia, their union produced high quality models and even shared platforms with each other. If Hyundai had the Sonata, Kia does have their Optima; Kia had their Carnival/Sedona and on its second generation, it produced the Hyundai Entourage which flopped and now out of production. The second generation Kia Sportage was an advantage of Hyundai for developing the Tucson under the Hyundai Elantra's platform.

Introduced in 2004 and marketed worldwide until 2009 (Brazil still has this generation of Tucson until today), the Tucson enjoyed immense success with its affordable pricing, decent standard equipment that undercuts the established competition, and with something that no one had ever wondered, the desirability of the Hyundai badge.

Hyundai Asia Resources Incorporated released the Tucson in 2005 starting with the 2.0 CRDi 4x2 variant, it added a 2.0 gasoline 4x2 model the following year, and completing the Tucson line with the 2.0 CRDi 4x4 variant made available in 2007. It was an entry ticket for motorists desiring a capacity of a SUV with the driving dynamics of a sedan priced under a million bucks. The nameplate was so salable that even its second generation model generated a long line, probably a first from Hyundai in the Philippines.

Value and Costs
Pre-owned first generation Tucson's doed have prices in the range of P440,000-P800,000. Do take note that prices vary from the engines residing under their hood, overall condition of the vehicle, and even the year model (as I scout used car classified ads some are priced as low as P440,000!). There are Tucson's that do have black side bumpers and moldings, so do check them if it comes standard, especially if there are dents and scratches.

One advantage of the popularity of this compact SUV is the abundance of parts, ranging from the original, to the replacement ones. Maintenance is on the easy side but if one is considering a 4x4 variant, check if the 4x4 system functions properly and with the diesel variants, if oil changes are done to prevent the CRDi engine to commit suicide.

Exterior and Interior
The Tucson may not resemble anything similar from the land of Super Junior and Girls Generation. It has design cues straight from European automobiles. Try removing the italicized "H" badge, and you'll now have an SUV from a German sports car brand, although shrunken in size (from L to XS, if there is any such thing). Wide windows are a treat for driver visibility and roof rails come standard.

It may be a compact SUV but it treats the occupants with a roomy cabin. Headroom is one good advantage for those with basketball player like height. The cargo area can adequately store anything (from an LCD TV Monitor to a dismantled coffee table) in that area. The transmission shifter is located upfront, leaving more room in the middle. The glass hatch can be opened separately and making cargo loading easy, unlike the first gen. CRV.

Two engine variants paired to two drivetrain options. Gasoline variants do have the 1,975cc Beta II engine that has 142hp at 6,000rpm and 186Nm at 4,500rpm. On the other hand, diesel powered Tucson's possess the 1,991cc CRDi I4 engine which lurks 112hp at 4,000rpm and 239Nm at 1,800-2,500rpm. The diesel variants may seem to be conservatively powered on paper, but it does the job fine. The lone gasoline option are adequately powered but not as fuel efficient as the diesel ones (obviously).

Driving Impressions
Thanks to the platform shared with the Hyundai Elantra, this SUV is a comfortable one, albeit the ride can get firm sometimes. Short drivers would like to add the first generation Tucson to their shopping lists because it provides a good commanding view (thanks to its high seating position) and excellent all around visibility - which is a pro for those spending most of their time in parking buildings of SM and Ayala Malls.

There are some good but valid reasons for not holding the trait of being picky and having badge snob issues. The first generation Tucson is definitely not for everyone, but those wanting a recent model SUV at a lower price, badging issues be damned, this is a good option and value. And not to forget, one of the fuel efficient choices out there, thanks to the CRDi engine choice.

The Good:
  • Available CRDi engine
  • Glass hatch can be separately opened
  • Adequate cargo area
The Bad:
  • Gas sucking gasoline variant
  • Quirky looks
  • Some hard plastics
The Pick: 2.0 CRDi 2WD

Engines: 1,975cc Beta II I4 gasoline and 1,991cc I4 diesel
Power: 142hp @ 6,000rpm (gasoline); 112hp @ 4,000rpm (diesel)
Torque: 186Nm @ 4.500rpm (gasoline); 239Nm @1,800-2,500rpm (diesel)
Fuel Consumption: 5.5-8km/L (city); 9-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear multilink

Price (New): P988,000-P1,188,000 (range from 2005-2009)
Price (Now): P440,000-P800,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Captiva, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Mazda Tribute, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota RAV4
On Sale: 2005-2009

Hyundai Quezon Avenue - 374-3911
Hyundai Pasig - 672-3801
Hyundai E. Rodriguez - 727-6396

Photo courtesy of http://makati.olx.com.ph/pictures/hyundai-tucson-crdi-a-t-2008-december-iid-143886172

1 comment:

  1. My lola currently has a Brazilian-made Tucson, only available with the 2.0L gasser since diesels are forbidden in Brazil for any vehicle with a payload lower than one ton, except hi-lo 4WD's and vehicles with seating capacity for more than 8 passengers plus driver. Hers has the A/T and she really hates it. Needless to say the 4-speed A/T takes away a lot of power and the non-lockup torque converter is quite slippy.

    About Brazilian restrictions against light-duty diesel-powered vehicles: