With compact SUV sales in Europe down 37% through October, Hyundai’s Tucson nameplate has been overtaken by the Kona as the brand’s best-selling model on the Old Continent.
However, according to Hyundai Italy boss Andrea Crespi, this is only temporary as the latest-gen Tucson “will be back as Hyundai’s top-seller,” he told Autonews Europe. Europe’s best-selling compact crossovers are the VW Tiguan, Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 3008.
Crespi added that Hyundai hopes to sell 15,000 Tucsons in Italy alone come 2021, of which 7,000 should be hybrids and 1,500 plug-in hybrids – the PHEV model will arrive in Europe in February.
This latest generation model has a lot going for it, starting with the bold exterior design featuring angular sheet metal, but also flared fenders and a complex grille design. Some of these styling cues are even considered “a no-go at design schools,” said chief designer SangYup Lee, while referring to the crossover’s triangular shapes and crisscrossing character lines.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Tucson is 20 mm (0.78 inches) longer, 15 mm (0.60 inches) wider and 5 mm (0.20 inches) taller. Meanwhile, the wheelbase has grown by 10 mm (0.40 inches), resulting in an additional 26 mm (1.02 inches) of backseat legroom.
All powertrain configurations come with available all-wheel drive, except for the 1.6-liter 113 HP diesel option. The Korean carmaker is also planning a sporty N Line version, expected to arrive early next year.
Speaking of powertrains, diesel units accounted for 66% of the previous-generation Tucson’s sales in Italy, and while Crespi expects that number to drop, he still believes diesel engines remain desirable.
“The share of diesels will shrink, but it won’t disappear,” he said.