Tuesday 21 October 2008

From Tuscon to Death Valley

These are the very first pictures of the next-generation Hyundai Tucson undergoing durability testing in California, U.S, Slovakia, Eastern Europe and South Korea. The current Tucson SUV represents Hyundai's entry into the small SUV market and is known as a worldwide success. It has become a familiar component of the Hyundai range and ever since its official launch in 2004, the Tucson has been among top 5 selling Hyundai vehicles worldwide.

Production for the Korean model is expected to start late 2009, with sales in the U.S starting in mid 2010, making the Tucson a 2011 model year and European sales will start shortly after U.S sales.

Expect only 4 cylinder engines to be available, including a turbocharged model after the initial launch set to produce in excess of 200bhp. The unpopular 2.7 litre V6 petrol engine will be axed from the line-up. As usual, a diesel variant will be offered in Europe. Its likely to keep the current 2.0 litre CRDi, although the 2.2 litre CRDi - used in the Santa Fe may find its way under the hood too. The Tuscon will also underpin the 2011 Kia Sportage.

To avoid any confusion, the Tucson will slot below the Santa Fe and the forthcoming Portico crossover as a compact SUV and will rival popular crossovers like the Honda CR-V, Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage and Nissan X-Trial.

While insiders told up they had some pretty modern designs on the drawing boards, the Hyundai decision makers went for a traditional, yet new look for the small crossover. Expect the 2011 Tucson to take some styling cues from its bigger brother, the Hyundai Veracruz.

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