Hyundai Australia is confident of making a big splash in the medium SUV segment when it launches the new Tucson around July 2015, seeking to outsell all rivals with the possible exception of the dominant Mazda CX-5.
The Korean brand appears to be pulling out all the stops to ensure its new SUV staple capitalises on Australia’s obsession with high-riding soft-roaders. The mission isn’t just to outsell the hugely popular ix35 it replaces, but to outshine new segment-rivals such as the Nissan X-Trail and Toyota RAV4 too.
For one thing, the company will echo a strategy it enacted on the ix35 to guarantee good supply —lower Tucson grades will come from Korea, while top-spec Highlanders versions and perhaps others will be sourced from the Czech Republic.
These are the versions that will have technologies such as low-speed autonomous braking, Lane Keeping Assist, Rear Traffic Cross Alert, Blind Spot Detection and — potentially — a Speed Limit Information Function that monitors local overhead and roadside speed limit signs and provides reminders.
Speaking with CarAdvice this week, Hyundai Australia COO John Elsworth said the bar would be set high — close, even, to the top-selling CX-5, which enjoys a huge 20.7 per cent market share this year.
“It’s around about that yeah,” he said, though added immediately after that “I would doubt that we’ll topple them, we’ll grow but I doubt we’ll topple them”.
Still, the intention for the Tucson to outsell the ix35 is interesting. Hyundai has registered 6225 ix35s this year. No model in either the small SUV or medium SUV segment except for the CX-5 (7996) can match that. The Nissan X-Trail with 6160 is next. It was a similar tale in 2014.
In what amounts in some eyes as a bit of an anomaly, the ix35 is classified by industry database VFACTS as a small SUV, though the X-Trail and CX-5 ‘medium’ SUVs are obviously rivals too. it’s all academic, really.
“From a volume point-of-view, it’s the car that fits in one of the biggest segments, a growing segment, certainly that’s where all the heat is in the market,” Elsworth added.
“Getting the two production sources… gives us the best chance of maximising our volume, to go with one or the other, we really are limited.”
Reflecting the official re-definition as a bona fide SUV, the Tuscon is larger than the ix35, though it’s also 65mm shorter and lower than a CX-5, and sits on a shorter wheelbase. Its cargo space in the rear with the seats in use is an impressive 513 litres.
The Tucson will launch with a 130kW 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine and seven-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic drivetrain in place of the ix35’s atmo 2.4.
Also offered will be a 135kW 2.0-litre turbo-diesel matched the six-speed manual or auto transmissions. A 2.0-litre petrol is also expected. All-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive will again be offered.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be offered from launch, making it among the first mass-market cars to come with both here, alongside the likes of the new-generation Skoda Fabia.
Read more about the forthcoming Hyundai Tucson, and watch our preview video, here.