hyundai_tucson_frontIs it, I wonder, an attempt at quirky Korean humour that the new Hyundai Tucson, celebrating 30 years in Australia, requires turning the ignition key to start the engine (no push-button fire-up) and eschews satellite navigation. It certainly takes me back more than a quarter of a century to the times when Hyundai was a funny little cheap-an-cheerful car.

How things change. Hyundai is now consistently in the top three sellers in Australia with 10 or more per cent of total sales and has a huge range of quality vehicles.

Seriously, the limited edition 30th anniversary medium-size Hyundai SUV stands shoulder to shoulder with a special edition of its cousin, the Santa Fe large SUV as a reminder of the South Korean marque’s success Down Under with advanced levels of performance, special features and value for money. Only 300 examples of each vehicle are bound for Australia.

At $37,750 the Tucson ‘30’ Special Edition, plus on-road costs, sits in the centre of the Tucson range and is covered by the Hyundai iCare program and includes Lifetime Service Plan, five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, satellite navigation updates, complimentary roadside assist for 12 months on new vehicles, complimentary first service, a Customer Care Centre and myHyundai owner website.


In styling terms the Tucson ‘30’ Special Edition is no throw-back, exhibiting all the physical features of the modern mid-size SUV.

Based on the Hyundai ActiveX model, the Tucson ‘30’ Special Edition adds a combination of matte-grey side steps and matte-black 19-inch RAYS alloy wheels.

At the rear, the limited edition also sports a new twin-outlet muffler integrated into the rear bumper, which also incorporates a rear diffuser.

The Ash Blue exterior paint is exclusive to the Tucson ‘30’ Special Edition together with unique ‘30’ badging.

Projector beam headlights with escort and welcome functions, automatic dusk-sensing headlights, front fog lights are backed up by LED daytime running Lights, an LED high-mount stop light and LED front positioning lights.


Hyundai Tucson ‘30’ has an interior is spacious with surfaces and controls of soft-touch materials and finishes.

Leather appointed seats include two-way electric driver’s lumbar support and 60/40 split folding rear seats with multi-stage backrest angles. The load area incorporates a cargo cover and net.

There’s a premium feel steering wheel and gear knob, plus electric folding and heated side mirrors and one-touch window operation with anti-pinch safety switch.

The link to information and entertainment is via a 7.0-inch touchscreen and six speakers. At hand is MP3 capability, Apple CarPlay, Aux and USB audio input with digital iPod compatibility.

Bluetooth connectivity includes hands-free phone and audio streaming, while steering wheel-mounted audio controls are at the driver’s fingertips.

Newly introduced Apple CarPlay is advanced smartphone technology providing access to Apple Maps navigation, Siri command functions – including hands-free phone calls, messaging and dictation, music, calendar entries, apps and more. Commands also can be entered via the touchscreen.

Existing owners of Apple CarPlay can be connected free of charge via a software upgrade, taking just 15 minutes at Hyundai dealership service departments.

With most people ‘packing’ a mobile phone or tablet these days with access to satellite facilities, the absence of a navigation system is no great hardship.

The Tucson ‘30’ engine is a detuned version of the direct-injection turbo-petrol unit that powers the Veloster SR Turbo. It has peak power of 130 kW at 5500 rpm and maximum torque of 265 Nm between 1500 and 4500 revs.

The 1.6-litre motor is matched with Hyundai’s in-house developed seven-speed dual clutch transmission and Hyundai’s Active On-Demand AWD system with front and rear lock mode.

High-strength steels make up more than half the Tucson body structure, while hot-stamped AHSS structural components are present in the engine bay, B- and C-pillars, and extend under the cabin and across the roof, improving side-crash safety and adding to roof strength.

Crash-avoidance features are electronic stability control system, reversing camera with active guidelines, four-sensor rear parking assist, automatic dusk-sensing headlights and LED high-mounted stop light and daytime running lights.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia’s gun chassis development team ran a detailed rule over each Tucson variant, including the Tucson ‘30’, collating data in 103 tests of different damper, spring, stabiliser bar and tyre combinations. The ride and handling benefit with comfort and assuredness.

The new Tucson’s drag co-efficient of 0.33 reduces wind noise was kept to a minimum, while fuel economy came in at six to seven litres per 100 kilometres on the open road and around 10 to 12 litres around town.

Emission standards are Euro 5.

The engine takes time to ‘get into gear’, then really hits its straps around the 5000 rev mark. Engine growl is evident only when the motor is pushed.

There is some road noise intrusion on courser road surfaces.

A Drive Mode Select system offers two settings – Normal and Eco – each altering transmission programming, throttle mapping and steering effort.

Cargo area access has been improved over the previous model with a wider tailgate opening. Handy features include luggage screen, retractable rear parcel hooks and an underfloor full-size spare.

It may have taken 30 years to get here but the compact Tucson ‘30’ has stepped up into the mid-size SUV segment with something ‘Special’ that’s big on features. It will need to be, just to make its mark in the highly competitive Australian market.


The complete Hyundai Tucson range, including the ‘30’ Special Edition is:
Tucson ‘30’ Special Edition 1.6-litre turbo-petrol AWD: $37,750 (DCT) Tucson Active 2.0-litre petrol FWD: $28,590 (manual), $30,490 (automatic) Tucson Active 2.0-litre turbo-diesel FWD: $28,590 (manual), $31,090 (automatic) Tucson ActiveX 2.0-litre turbo-diesel FWD: $31,150 (manual), $33,650 (automatic) Tucson Elite 2.0-litre turbo-diesel FWD: $35,990 (automatic) Tucson Elite 2.0-litre petrol FWD: $36,750 (automatic) Tucson Elite 1.6-litre turbo-petrol AWD: $39,750 (DCT) Tucson Highlander 1.6-litre turbo-petrol AWD: $45,450 (DCT) Tucson Active 2.0-litre turbo-diesel AWD: $35,090 (automatic) Tucson Elite 2.0-litre turbo-diesel AWD: $41,750 (automatic) Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Hyundai dealer for drive-away prices.

19-inch RAY’s alloy wheels in matte black with 245/45R19 tyres
5-star ANCAP safety rating. Six airbags – driver and front passenger, driver and front passenger side (thorax), full-length curtains
Electronic Stability Control including traction control, anti-lock braking with electronic brake-force Distribution, brake assist, vehicle stability management down-hill brake control and hill-start assist
Rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, rear parking-assist
Projector beam headlights with escort and welcome functions, automatic dusk-sensing headlights, front fog lights
7in touchscreen audio with MP3 capability, 6 speakers with Apple CarPlay, AUX / USB audio input with digital iPod compatibility
Bluetooth connectivity (hands-free phone and audio streaming)
Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
Cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls
One-touch turn signal operation (3, 5, or 7 flashes)
Drivers’ side one-touch window up and down with anti-pinching safety feature

SPECIFICATIONS (Hyundai Tucson ‘30’ Special Edition 1.6-litre turbo-petrol SUV)

Capacity: 1.591 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line, 16 valves direct injection
Maximum Power: 130 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 265 Nm @ 1500-4500 rpm
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.7 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 178 g/km

DRIVELINE: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, active on-demand AWD with 50/50 front & rear lock mode

Length: 4475 mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Width: 1850 mm
Height: 1660 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1690 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 62 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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