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Hyundai’s European design team, led by Thomas Buerkle, has worked hard to give the new Tucson an improved presence on the road with a more dominant grille treatment.

Hyundai updates its Tucson compact crossover

The all-new Tucson shown at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show represents a major step forward for Hyundai in Europe, where the C-SUV segment accounted for 22% of the company’s sales in 2014.

As well as sitting on a new platform and being both longer and wider than the outgoing model, it represents a new styling theme according to Hyundai Motor Europe’s Chief Designer, Thomas Buerkle.

“We call it ‘Fluidic Sculpture,’" he said. "Its execution is purer and simpler than the previous car, the sculpture being emphasized on the complete body rather than just on features. So, for example, the rear fender is sculpted with a striking feature line that starts just above the front wheel arch and rises rearwards over the taillights.

“We made the hexagon grille more visible with a thick chrome frame; we wanted to make it more pure and focused. The lamps with LEDs have this sleek, high-tech look that gives the car a wider stance. Whilst the lower flying bar as we call it, with the day light running lamps adds to the car’s width to give it a good stance. What was very important for us was that we pushed the ‘A’ pillar [in] to increase the bonnet’s length, this not only improves visibility but adds to the car’s prestige.”

Buerkle says the car is “more serious, more adult” than the previous car adding that Hyundai wanted to reduce the number of external features to give the Tucson a stronger image: “What is very characteristic are the asymmetric wheel arches that have a forward moving element giving the car a more dynamic stance.”

Inside there has been a conscious upgrade of materials, fit, and finish, said Buerkle, with a more horizontal structure to the fascia; the central monitor is now level with the instrument cluster for improved visibility. “We wanted to make the interior sleeker with a wing profile,” Buerkle explained, “to make it feel bigger and more modern looking."

“Materials were a key issue for the color and trim team, the two tones make the interior feel more sleek, whilst the leather’s tactility and the feel of the switches have been greatly improved and upgraded,” he added.

Technically, there’s a new electric-motor-driven power steering (MDPS) system featuring newly developed software and a rack-mounted electric motor for fast and direct response.

The new Drive Mode Select (DMS) function on automatics offers customers a choice of two drive modes—Normal and Sport—with different characteristics for the steering, throttle, engine, and ratios.

The Tucson will be available with one of the widest powertrain ranges in its class. These include two gasoline engines plus three diesel options.

The gasoline units are the 130-hp (97-kW) 1.6-L GDI or 172-hp (128-kW) 1.6-L T-GDI. The new turbocharged 1.6-L T-GDI gasoline engine with 172 hp delivers maximum torque of 195 lb·ft (264 N·m) from 1500 to 4500 rpm, and it is offered with a six-speed manual or the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT).

The diesel options are a 113-hp (84-kW) 1.7-L, 134-hp (100-kW) 2.0-L standard power, or 183-hp (136-kW) 2.0-L high power. The "low" power 113-hp diesel engine delivers maximum torque of 206 lb·ft (279 N·m) from 1250 to 2500 rpm and is available exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, 2WD, and fuel-saving stop-start technology. The 2.0-L turbodiesel standard power delivers 275 lb·ft (373 N·m) of maximum torque at 1500 to 2500 rpm. The high power version delivers an impressive max torque of 296 lb·ft (401 N·m) from 1750 to 2750 rpm. Both feature maintenance-free lean NOx trap catalyst technology to reduce emissions.

The 1.6-L T-GDI petrol and 2.0-L diesel engines can be mated with a 4WD-system, which delivers 100% of torque to the front wheels during normal road driving and up to 40% to the rear wheels, automatically, depending on conditions. A manually-selected Lock Mode splits torque 50/50% for enhanced stability at low speeds.

All engines have been enhanced to offer improved driveability and fuel efficiency, and they meet Euro6 emissions standards; stop-start is available on selected engines.

New convenience features include a smart powered tailgate that opens as the key-holder approaches; smart parking assist system with parallel and bay parking functions; autonomous emergency braking; lane keep assistance; rear cross traffic alert; and an active hood system that raises the bonnet if impacted by a pedestrian or cyclist.

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