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Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it?

Arvind · May 6, 2024 08:00 AM

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 01

More often than not, there is a fine line that separates good cars from truly superb cars that lead segments. Certain cars may individually offer great looks, substantive features, superb pricing, or excellent driving experiences. Truth be told, that may be enough to sway quite a few buyers.

However, to lead—a model must deliver the best of all worlds and combine every attribute equally. That’s what the Honda CR-V has accomplished for generations. Now in its sixth generation, it continues to lead as Malaysia’s favourite C-Segment SUV—even in the face of newer competition within the market.

By all accounts, the 2024 Hyundai Tucson is not a newcomer; the nameplate has been present in Malaysia for over a decade. In its fourth generation, it gets bigger, and more powerful, and adds a salvo of creature comforts. But does it hit the mark of being truly superb? Let’s take a closer look.

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Overview

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 01

Fully imported (CBU) from South Korea, the Malaysian-spec fourth-generation Tucson is offered in three variants at the following prices:

  • 2.0 Lite – RM 158,888
  • 1.6T Plus – RM 178,888
  • 1.6T Max – RM 195,888
Overview: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max
Price RM 195,888
Segment C-segment
Engine 1.6L turbo, 4-cylinder
Transmission 7-DCT
Power 180 PS @ 5,500 rpm
Torque 265 Nm @ 1,500 - 4,000 rpm
0-100 km/h 9.4 seconds (as tested)
Origin  CBU, Korea

The base 2.0 Lite is the sole naturally-aspirated variant, powered by a 156 PS and 192 Nm 2.0-litre ‘Smartstream’ four-cylinder, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the upper two variants are equipped with the 1.6-litre turbocharged Smartstream four-cylinder unit that delivers a stout 180 PS and 265 Nm, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 02

Notably, Malaysia receives the long-wheelbase version of the 2024 Tucson, measuring 2,755 mm, which provides more rear legroom compared to the short-wheelbase version at 2,680 mm.

Standard on all variants is an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a remote start function, a rear-view camera, and four drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, and Smart.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 03

As featured here, the 2024 Tucson 1.6T Max receives additional features including a fully digital 10.25-inch driver’s display panel, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, a powered tailgate, and a wireless charger.

Furthermore, all variants of the 2024 Tucson come with 7 airbags, an electronic parking brake (EPB) with auto hold, blind-spot collision warning, and safe exit warning.

Also read: Priced from RM 158k, all-new 2023 Hyundai Tucson (CBU) launched in Malaysia

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 04

The 1.6T Max variant additionally includes the full Hyundai SmartSense ADAS suite, which adds Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist – Junction (FCA-JT), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) among others.

Rivals

The 2024 Tucson has grown over the years; the previous two generations competed closely with B-segment SUVs like the Honda HR-V, both in size and price. The fourth-generation 2024 Tucson has moved upwards.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 05

Therefore, at its current prices, its closest rivals would be the Honda CR-V (locally assembled in Melaka) and Mazda CX-5 (locally-assembled in Kedah). The CR-V is priced between RM 160k for the base 1.5L S variant to RM 196k for the range-topping 2.0L e:HEV RS hybrid. The CX-5 is priced at RM 143k (2.0G Mid) to RM 187k (2.5G High AWD).

While the 2024 Tucson’s prices are comparable at the outset, note that the CR-V offers a more advanced and efficient powertrain, and the CX-5 offers AWD traction and way more power (in the 2.5T AWD variant) for less money. However, the 2024 Tucson 1.6T counters with the assurance of made-in-Korea quality, which shows when you experience the car. 

Exterior

In terms of looks, the main difference between the base 2024 Tucson and the upper two variants (Plus and Max) is the 19-inch wheels. Elsewhere, there are LED headlights up front and sharp-looking LED combination taillights on all variants.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 06

From its intricate ‘Parametric’ grille design to its sharp bodylines and sporty proportions, the 2024 Tucson 1.6T is undeniably a looker, consistently attracting admiring gazes when on the roads. Thus, for buyers who want to stand out in a crowd, the 2024 Tucson 1.6T offers exclusivity at this price point.

Interior

Getting inside, the 2024 Tucson 1.6T is, for the most part, a comforting place to be. The front seats are supportive and supple enough for long drives, and all important controls are within easy reach. The overall layout of the dashboard is straightforward, with plus points for the physical buttons that are easy to locate while on the move.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 07

That said, you are seated quite high within the cabin, so for drivers with longer legs, finding a comfortable position can take some adjustments to the seats and steering wheel before settling into a good driving position.

Also, given the seating position, the instrument panel - tacked beneath the top edge of the dashboard - can appear too low. Though it offers clear and legible readouts, you must look away from the road ahead to get a clear reading, especially if you want to check on ACC settings and the like.  

At the back, seating comfort and support are good and legroom is adequate. However, given the 2024 Tucson 1.6T's sloping roofline, there’s just enough headroom for taller passengers (approximately 180 cm). While it's not a dealbreaker, the CR-V’s overall width and taller roof provide better overall comfort for rear passengers.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 08

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 09

We also found the cabin space to be very refined, perhaps even quieter than the Honda CR-V. The engine is superbly quiet on the move, and ambient noise is kept to a minimum. However, a bit of tyre noise becomes evident at speeds between 90 km/h to 110 km/h. The 2024 Tucson 1.6T returned the following decibel readings in our tests.

2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max  - Cabin noise level
60 km/h 57 dB
90 km/h  62 dB
110 km/h  67 dB

Separately, the boot space is ample. With an adequately wide and rather long boot floor, it provides 582 litres of boot space with the second row up (1,903 litres folded), which makes it easy to carry a child's pram as well as other bags. The CR-V offers slightly more at 598 litres.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 10

As for other bugbears, while I love the overall layout and design of the dashboard, the centre console's excessive use of a Piano Black finish makes it difficult to keep clean.

Also, though the infotainment system connects easily to Android Auto and is fairly intuitive, the audio system could be improved. While it’s by no means inadequate, the sound quality isn't that impressive; notably, the 2024 CR-V RS offers a Bose audio system for the same money.

Driving Performance

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 11

Moving on to the driving experience, this is where the 2024 Tucson 1.6T becomes a bit of a mixed bag.

Starting with the positives, the 1.6-litre turbo Smartstream power unit is excellent. Despite its relatively small displacement, power is robust and immediate right from the start. Just above 1,800 rpm, the initial surge of torque is quick and effective, followed by a stronger burst of power after 3,000 rpm, continuing to approximately 6,000 rpm.

Matched to a rather quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, the Tucson delivers a good turn of speed on the road, making light work of overtaking and climbing steep hills. On the highway, the 2024 Tucson 1.6T cruises along at the speed limit without much fuss.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 12

In our standard 0-100 km/h testing, the 2024 Tucson 1.6T delivered a best time of 9.4 seconds. While not earth-shattering, it's sufficient for daily driving and even feels stronger than the Honda CR-V 1.5-litre turbocharged variants. Additionally, if it had better tyres that didn't lose traction even in second gear, it arguably could have performed even better.

For the most part, the 2024 Tucson 1.6T handles Malaysian roads well. Although smaller bumps and ruts occasionally catch it out, it manages larger bumps and potholes with quite a bit of talent.

Overall, the driving experience is smooth and quite surefooted on most roads. Additionally, light steering effort, nimble handling, and a pretty good turning radius also mean it's quite easy to manoeuvre in traffic and tight urban spaces.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 13

Pushing the 2024 Tucson 1.6T into a series of corners, it delivers solid chassis responses: body rigidity is good, the car settles into the line quickly, and the suspension feels composed right up to the limits of traction. While it's no corner-carving hot hatch, it does not shy away from a spirited drive, which is commendable.

However, there are two crucial areas where the 2024 Tucson 1.6T could be improved. Starting with the drivetrain modulation. Given the engine's peppy low-end, every little prod of the accelerator—for example, when reversing or inching along in traffic—results in the car lurching forwards or backwards. If the throttle response were more linear, this would make the 2024 Tucson much easier to drive at low speeds. To be fair, throttle response does become more linear while in Sports mode, but you couldn't drive in that mode for long due to its heightened setup and heavier steering settings.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 14

Secondly, the brakes, though forceful enough to stop the car quickly, have a squishy pedal response, so it is almost always a case of pressing too little or too much to bring the car to a halt.

Undoubtedly, if the 2024 Tucson 1.6T excelled in these areas, it would make the car holistically better to drive and live with on a daily basis, perhaps even pushing it closely alongside the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5, which excel in how fluidly they drive on Malaysian roads. 

Fuel Efficiency

That said, it's good to know that despite its punchy power, the 2024 Tucson still delivers rather good fuel economy.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 15

Covering a distance of 109.5 km in our standard fuel efficiency test, the 2024 Tucson 1.6T required a top-up of 8.71 litres, leading to an average fuel consumption of 7.95 litres/100 km. The test was conducted with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving.

Conclusion

Looking at the bigger picture the 2024 Tucson 1.6T is a great SUV, even if not the best in all criteria. It's eye-catching, has a potent powerplant that is also efficient and the interior is practical and spacious enough for typical family requirements. 

That alone should be enough for certain buyers to look away from its established rivals from Honda and Mazda. However, it could have been far more compelling if it had offered a better overall driving experience, better seating position and a more ideal instrument panel position. 

The 2024 Tucson isn't far off, but it still can be better.

Review: 2024 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Max: Superb looks with power to boot but will Malaysians skip the CR-V for it? 16

Also, its asking price doesn't quite make it the bargain performer the Tucson once was, which has somewhat put it in uncomfortable territory price-wise.

This is why I'm inclined to think the base 2.0 Lite variant might be the most sensible. Theoretically, with a simpler powertrain, the same good looks and practicality, but with a far more attractive RM 159k price tag, it just may be the most compelling package Hyundai has to offer. 

Arvind

Senior Writer

Arvind can't remember a time when he didn't wheel around a HotWheels car. This love evolved into an interest in Tamiya and RC cars and finally the real deal 1:1 scale stuff. Passion finally lead to formal training in Mechanical Engineering. Instead of the bigger picture, he obsesses with the final drive ratio and spring rates of cars and spends the weekends wondering why a Perodua Myvi is so fast.

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