2021 Hyundai Tucson Arrives as Hot-Designed, Tech-Laden, Revolutionary SUV

2021 Hyundai Tucson 22 photos
Photo: Hyundai Motor Group
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Compact Sport Utility Vehicles have tremendously grown in importance over the years to the point that Hyundai is relying on the Tucson as its most important – and top-selling – vehicle on a worldwide level. As such, it was imperative for the South-Korean automaker to stand out in a crowd. A humongous crowd, to be honest. So, they went the treacherous road of styling innovation.
While already reaching its fourth-generation evolution, Hyundai’s Tucson has only been on sale since 2004. That’s 16 years to achieve an outstanding sales figure for the Asian brand – 7+ million examples. And that’s no easy feat, considering how the original looked compared to the 2021 iteration.

Basically, in terms of styling, it’s like Apollo 11’s commander Neil Armstrong (first man on the Moon) and his crew (Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins) ditched the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle in favor of Star Trek’s NCC-1701 Enterprise starship. Seriously, just take a moment to check out the gallery – we have a picture there with the original.

The newly introduced (a virtual presentation, as per social custom these days) C-SUV (compact Sport Utility Vehicle) is marketed as a global model, with the company premiering both a short- and long-wheelbase model to address various market-specific customer demands.

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson is reaching South Korean dealerships this very month, while the U.S. and European markets need to wait a little longer, until the first half of 2021. Also, the Tucson N Line is making a global debut now and is also set to reach American shores (exact launch date to be announced later).

2021 Hyundai Tucson
Photo: Hyundai
Considering the model’s importance for the carmaker, Hyundai took a major gamble with its complete redesign that enhances to new levels the sharp design lines we’ve already seen on certain models from the family, such as the new Elantra and the larger Santa Fe SUV. The designer dose of insanity is most obvious in the front-end styling, which boasts the new signature “Parametric Hidden Lights” LEDs.

Overall, the 2021 Tucson respects the company’s latest Sensuous Sportiness design identity, even though we’re dealing with more edges than ever before. Few automakers dare choose the revolutionary road, but Hyundai seems to plunge with all forces – and the company also promises enhanced dimensions (and some new colors, naturally - Shimmering Silver, Amazon Gray, and Teal).

It’s a double take, since now we’re dealing with two wheelbase lengths, the short (2,755 mm / 108.46 in.) version being 4,630 mm (182.28 in) long, 1,865 mm (73.42 in.) wide, and 1,665 (65.55 in.) mm tall. Its larger sibling is even roomier, at 4,500 (177.16 in.) / 1,865 (73.42) / 1,650 mm (64.96 in.) and sporting a 2,680 mm (105.51 in.) wheelbase.

Inside, the company has created something called the “INTERSPACE,” essentially taking the Tucson more upscale than ever before. It is also following the latest trends of ditching unnecessary styling lines and focusing on a minimalist, tech-savvy layout.

Aggressive lines are nowhere to be found in the cockpit, and instead we’re dealing with a serene atmosphere – with a quirky steering wheel inspired by the Elantra and digital aids all around. The center console commands are all touch-operated – both the 10.25-inch AVN-T (Audio Video Navigation Telematics) and the HVAC (heat, ventilation, air conditioning) controls.

2021 Hyundai Tucson
Photo: Hyundai
The digital instrument cluster feature is not missing either, with an equally wide 10.25-inch display behind the steering wheel, while the models equipped with an automatic transmission featuring “shift by wire” operation. Softer materials are all around, alongside a mood-enhancing ambient lighting system with 64 shades and 10 different presets for brightness.

The all-new Tucson has a few more aces up its sleeve – it's not only the first Hyundai with a touch-operated dashboard, but also packs a new Multi-Air Mode technology with three-zone climate control, Hyundai’s Digital Key, or an available Car-to-home feature that allows those onboard to remotely control smart home appliances.

Practicality is enhanced via the “fold-and-dive” system for the second row of seats (foldable in a 4:2:4 ratio) and the company promises both additional legroom in the back (+ 26 mm / 1.02 in.) and enhanced space in the trunk. The latter has grown by 33 to 107 liters (1.16 to 3.77 cu. ft.) depending on the model, with up to 620 liters (21.89 cu. ft.) with the rear bench up and up to 1,799 liters (63.53 cu. ft.) overall.

Available interior space will not be influenced by the availability of newly electrified powertrains, says Hyundai. The latter will vary according to market, but we can already tell you some of the details pertaining to the European and U.S. configurations.

2021 Hyundai Tucson
Photo: Hyundai
On the Old Continent, the compact SUV will arrive with hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and 48-volt mild hybrid options, customers being able to choose between gasoline and diesel versions. Power levels range between 115 PS (diesel) and 230 PS (gasoline, hybrid). The PHEV version will top off the range at some point in 2021 with 265 PS.

The company offers its latest available technologies, such as a six-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (6iMT) and a seven-speed dual clutch transmission (7DCT), optional HTRAC four-wheel drive technology with the new terrain Mode selector, and even an Electronic Controlled Suspension (ECS).

Across the ocean, in the United States, the compact SUV will be offered with two gasoline engines. The 2.5-liter Smartstream four-pot with direct injection is capable of an estimated 190 PS and 182 lb. ft. of twist. Meanwhile, the smaller (but turbocharged) 1.6-liter T-GDI will be combined with hybrid (230 PS / 258 lb. ft.) or plug-in hybrid technology.

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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