First drive in the new Hyundai Tucson Sport


Last year, Hyundai gave its popular Tucson model refreshed styling and new specification to compete in our strong local SUV segment against the likes of the Toyota Rav4, the Mazda CX-5 and the Volkswagen Tiguan – to name just a few. But what some customers may have spotted was the absence of the edgier Tucson Sport in the range.

With the 2017 Tucson Sport being such a hit (516 units sold), Hyundai has finally introduced its fun derivative to the updated local Tucson range. It adds sportier styling, sportier driving, and this time Hyundai has added a diesel option to the engine line-up.


In terms of looks, the updated Tucson Sport gets subtle bespoke styling features, such as black rims and an extra front spoiler. Hyundai South Africa’s sales and operations director, Stanley Anderson, says that although this is indeed the Sport member of the Tucson family, it was important to treat the Tucson with a sporty look without being overbearing. “Tucson customers have really taken to the Sport after our first ‘experiment’, so we could confidently repeat the exercise this time,” says Anderson.

Tucson Sport

That being said, members of the public are still intrigued by the look of the updated model and we noticed heads turning at intersections as we headed towards the Killarney Racetrack, Cape Town, this week (26 July 2019).


Inside, the Tucson Sport gets loads of standard spec and includes the same treatment as the Tucson’s range-topping Elite derivative. This means you’ll find all the creature comforts you’d expect from today’s modern SUVs, including electric and fold-away mirrors, electric seat adjustment for driver and passenger, dual climate control, a panoramic sunroof, rear air vents – the list goes on! In terms of tech, customers can stay connected on the road via the Tucson Sport’s infotainment system that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Tucson Sport


So what’s the 2019 Tucson Sport like to drive, you ask? Well, Hyundai South Africa went as far as allowing motoring media to take its updated sporty SUV for a few hot laps around Killarney’s International Raceway. While it might seem a bit obscure to experience a family SUV on a racetrack – I don’t foresee many customers doing this – it gave us a surprisingly good idea of how much the Tucson Sport can do with its tweaked power.

With two engine options available, a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol, and a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel, the former proved to be more popular in terms of responsiveness and overall enjoyment on the track. It offers 150 kW of power and 300 Nm of torque and is mated to a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (with a manual shift override for more control, however this wasn’t necessary, even on the track). The diesel variant differs when it comes to its impressive 460 Nm of torque, as well as its 8-speed automatic transmission, however it seemed somewhat more sedate in terms of responsiveness around the racetrack.


Out on the open road, the diesel and petrol derivatives still maintain their sporty intensions – with a bit of grunt to show off – and you can feel the added torque when you need to accelerate to overtake slow moving vehicles.


Priced from R654 900, the 2019 Hyundai Tucson Sport is not only well equipped with loads of standard spec, as well as gracious levels of comfort, its upgrade in the looks department has been well received among media members. Whether customers in today’s market are going to be as enthusiastic as before is up to future sales charts, but the Tucson Sport has a lot to offer families looking for a sporty SUV with comprehensive spec.


Tucson 1.6 TGDI Sport (Dual Clutch Transmission) R654 900
Tucson 2.0 Sport Turbodiesel (automatic) R664 900

*All prices include a 5-year/90 000 km service plan; a 7-year/200 000 km warranty and Roadside Assistance for 7 years or 150 000 km.

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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