We’ve tested the Hyundai Tucson 2.0 back in June and determined that the 2.0 Tucson was a refined cruiser in its own right. It’s not under powered by any means, but would it be more fun if it’s got a bit more push. This time round, we got the Hyundai Tucson 1.6 turbo, courtesy of Hyundai Sime Darby Motors.

View Gallery

From far, you’re hard pressed to tell the difference between the 2.0 and 1.6 Turbo, as both look spot-on similar and as far as looks go, they’re pretty svelte for an SUV. To differentiate between the two, Hyundai added chrome door handles and sills around the windows to highlight the higher level Tucson. Apart from that, the LED headlights with automatic leveling and LED rears give the 1.6 T Tucson a certain level of sophistication, as does the 225/60 R17 wheels specially reserved for the 1.6 T.

The minor  refinements in the cabin  of the Tucson 1.6 Turbo comprise keyless entry,  push start system and a leather dashboard. This is an upmarket appointment. To further enhance the upmarket look, the 1.6 Turbo variant comes equipped with a supervision instrument cluster with a larger 4.2” color LCD display, over the 3.5” monotone LCD display found in the 2.0 variant.

To cool the cabin down, the climate control in the Tucson 1.6 Turbo is a dual zone auto climate control which is a step up from the manual control in the 2.0 variant. There are also a pair of air conditioning vent that blows air to the rear to keep occupants cool in the 1.6 Turbo Tucson.

The other varying option is a mechanical handbrake on the 2.0 variant and an electronic one in the 1.6 T. This translates to more storage space around the center console in the 1.6 T. Near the parking brake switch, there’s a drive mode switch, offering up to three modes: Comfort, Eco, and Sport. Other switches on the console include auto hold button, front parking sensor on/off button and hill decent control.

The seats and comfort level are similar in both variants, but in the 1.6 T you’d find the driver seat comes with adjust functions. With a 488 loters of boot space, you do get a powered tailgate in the 1.6 Turbo variant to cut down on the need of opening and closing the tailgate. There is also a smart trunk function that opens the boot after standing at the back of the car for approximately 5 seconds.

Hyundai did not compromise on safety for the Tucson with a host of  standard safety equipment such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill-start Assist (HAS), Downhill Brake Control (DBC), Brake Assist System (BAS) and VSA. But for the airbag count, you get 6 airbags in the 1.6 Turbo variant over the 2 airbags in the 2.0 variant.

Getting behind the wheel, the 1.6 inline 4 turbo engine produce 177PS at 5,500rpm and 265Nm at 1,500 – 4,500rpm means that the Tucson is not a slouch. The engine has plenty of torque to pull the car even when you leave the car in eco mode. Meanwhile, the 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission that is paired with the engine is a well-spaced transmission. On acceleration, there is slight hesitation for the gearbox in engaging the first two gears, but once the car is on the move, the transmission gets smooth and more direct.

The suspension setup for either Tucson is based on front MacPhersons and a rear multilink, but you get a sport tune shock absorbers in the 1.6 Turbo. With a sportier setup on the absorbers, it  means that the 1.6 Turbo has a firmer ride compare to the 2.0. Plus, this further translates minimized body roll when doing a corner hard. Furthermore, the electric power steering is more direct compared to the 2.0, but the steering feedback and feel in the 2.0 was actually more impressionable, believe it or not?

Four-wheel disc brakes on the Tucson 1.6 gives sufficient braking, but premium SUVs are expected to come with all-round disc brakes. At the same time, NVH level in the 1.6 turbo is better than good eventhough the noise from the engine bay is quite obvious on hard acceleration.

Costing RM 20,000 more expensive than the Tucson 2.0, the 1.6 T should be a more obvious choice because you’ll get a lot more power and sophisticated items on board. Additionally, there’s much improved handling for an SUV deemed as a fun ride. Priced at RM 143,888, the Tucson 1.6 T is offered with a 5-year/ 300,000km warranty and a 3-y/50,000km free service. You can get the Tucson in either one of the four colors: White Cream, Platinum Silver, Phantom Black and Dusk Blue.