The just-released Hyundai Tucson is gunning to shoot Mazda’s CX-5 off its perch as the top-selling mid-sized SUV range in Australia. And if first impressions are anything to go by, the South Korean threat to Japanese domination looks very real indeed.
The now-defunct Hyundai ix35 that the revived Tucson nameplate replaces was a long-term top-seller, but a lukewarm performer in CarAdvice testing: an eight out of ten at best, a terrible five and a half at worst. But Australia’s love of the ix35, propelled largely by styling and value, made it the market’s second-best seller (though it was always anachronistically classified as a Small, rather than Medium, SUV).
Keeping this pair honest in the value stakes is the recently updated Subaru Forester, though in long-awaited and newly introduced diesel automatic form in high-spec 2.0 D-S trim, landing at a red-hot $41,490 before on-roads and options. Blind Freddy could see the generation gap between Fuji’s family hauler and, well, any of its rivals, though the Forester serves to make the Tucson work hard for its $4000 premium. In a recent CarAdvice two-car test, this very example of the 2.0 D-S scored a decent seven-and-half-from-ten victory over the Mitsubishi Outlander (check out the review here).
Toyota wants a handsome penny ($48,490 plus on-roads) for its RAV4 Cruiser AWD diesel, the big boy in a range that’s scored a seven at its fourth-gen 2013 launch and has failed to rise above a six since in various guises. Mostly from lacking solid value for money. But Aussies love them, and at last count year-to-date the RAV4 has robbed the ix35 of its second-best-selling mantle. It’ll be interesting to see, then, how Tucson measures up on merit in the face of such a bulletproof brand.