2021 Hyundai Tucson unveiled with bold look, new tech

The new Tucson is claimed to mark a “design revolution” for Hyundai as the brand continues to push upmarket. Revealed in advance of sales starting later this year, the SUV receives a styling makeover and a raft of new technology.

The fourth generation of the South Korean firm’s worldwide best-seller will go on sale with a line-up of 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, most featuring 48V mild-hybrid technology, and a 227bhp 1.6-litre T-GDi hybrid. A turbocharged plug-in hybrid version will follow next year, although Hyundai has yet to give performance details.

The latest Tucson features a bold new front grille with what Hyundai calls ‘Parametric Hidden Lights’ built in. Effectively, the LED headlights and “jewel-like” running lights are integrated into the sides of the grille and can’t be distinguished from it when turned off. The grille features 3D parametric graphics, which are used as highlights elsewhere on the car.

Side on, the angular theme continues, while at the back, the window wiper is hidden in the roof-mounted spoiler – a first for Hyundai – with the brand’s logo set into the bottom of the rear windscreen.

At 4500mm long and 1865mm wide, the Tucson is 20mm longer and 15m wider than before, with the 2680mm wheelbase stretched by 10mm. Although two wheelbase versions will be built, only the shorter variant will come to the UK. Buyers can choose from 17in, 18in and 19in wheels and two-tone colour combinations.

Eduardo Ramirez, Hyundai Europe exterior designer, described the new Tucson’s design as “quite brave”. He added: “We’re experimental, always trying to find a very distinctive character in design. Although that doesn’t mean we’ll apply the same formula to every car.”

Ramirez continued: “It’s always a big challenge to replace a car that’s been so successful. We’re so proud of Tucson, but we didn’t want to fall into the trap of trying to retain what we had achieved and not go further. We felt free to innovate, which is how ideas like the hidden lights came to life.”

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Hyundai has also added a number of new safety and driver assistance features, including a central airbag and remote parking on the hybrid and PHEV models.

Engine-wise, the mild-hybrid petrol is offered with 148bhp and 178bhp, with the diesel producing 134bhp. Petrol units send power through a six-speed manual or seven-speed auto gearbox, with diesels using the auto. A non-electrified 148bhp petrol and 113bhp diesel will be offered, both with a six-speed manual. Four-wheel drive is optional on most powertrains.

Hyundai has also worked to improve the Tucson’s ride and handling. Vehicle dynamics engineer Julio Varela said the focus was on making it “more comfortable and fun to drive”. It is the first Hyundai outside of the N performance range to be offered with the firm’s Electronic Controlled Suspension, which includes Normal, Eco and Sport driving modes. There are three extra off-road-focused modes on four-wheel-drive variants.

European versions of the new Tucson will be built in the Czech Republic. As well as the PHEV model, an N-Line version is due next year. Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but expect a small increase over the outgoing model, which starts at £23,150.