Will it be a Hit or a Miss with Buyers?
A lot of vehicle manufacturers have been playing it safe in the last couple of years when it comes to new designs, especially with some of the bigger-selling models in their line-ups. Hyundai looks to be something of an exception to this orthodoxy and lack of inspiration, and you only have to look at the all-new version of its massively successful Tucson SUV for proof.
The current third-generation Tucson has been selling around 140,000 units per year in the United States and more than 26,000 units per-year here in the UK, and a total of more than 7 million Tucson's have been sold globally since Hyundai launched the first-generation back in 2004. This means the Tucson represents something of a cash-cow for the South Korean brand, so you could probably have forgiven the company if it decided to play it safe when designing a new fourth-generation model.
Instead, Hyundai's designers have come up with what could be seen as one of the most daring mass-market SUV designs since Nissan came up with the first Juke and the first Murano.
The overall shape of the new model is reasonably standard compact SUV fare, although the side of the new Tucson looks to have taken inspiration from the head of Kryten from the TV comedy "Red Dwarf" with its quite notable creases in the metalwork.
It's the front fascia that appears to be the biggest departure from the current model, which is a vehicle that's proved so popular with buyers here that you probably couldn't look at a UK town or city street for more than 30 seconds without seeing one.
The front grille appears to take up almost the entire front of the new Tucson, which even has the LED headlights and running lights integrated into it. Hyundai calls them 'Parametric Hidden Lights,' but we'll have to assume they're pretty bright when they're on as they can't be identified as lights at all when they're off as they just look like a continuation of the grille.
Eduardo Ramirez, Hyundai Europe's exterior designer, admits the new look is "quite brave." He also says: "We're experimental, always trying to find a very distinctive character in design. Although that doesn’t mean we’ll apply the same formula to every car. It’s always a big challenge to replace a car that’s been so successful. We’re so proud of Tucson, but we didn’t want to fall into the trap of trying to retain what we had achieved and not go further."
Available engines will include a mild-hybrid petrol powerplant in 148bhp and 178bhp versions and a diesel that will develop 134bhp. The petrol engines will send their modest power to the front or all four wheels through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox, while diesel variants will make exclusive use of the automatic. A 148bhp petrol and 113bhp diesel will also be offered without any electrification, but with a six-speed manual box, and a four-wheel-drive will be an available option with most powertrains.
There will also be hybrid, plug-in hybrid and eventually even N-Line performance versions of the fourth-generation Tucson, and prices are expected to see a small increase over the current model when the all-new Tucson goes on sale next year.