Car Review: 2019 Hyundai Tucson Sport

More performance, sportier styling and the addition of a diesel engine for the 2019 Tucson Sport…

Hyundai South Africa recently added its sportiest member to the updated Tucson family, so we joined the brand, along with fellow motoring media, in the Cape to see (and drive) it for ourselves…

On the outside, the Tucson Sport gets subtle, but sportier styling that includes an extra front spoiler, side skirts, dual rear spoilers and blacked out alloy wheels. Although diehard Tucson Sport customers love their edgy body kits, I like that Hyundai hasn’t gone overboard with anything too obnoxious when it comes to styling, and that they chose to stick to what has worked in the past with a more subtle (but still sportier) Tucson look. That being said, the new Tucson Sport still looks the part with its more daring styling.

Inside, the Tucson Sport gets the same standard spec as the Elite trim level, with its full leather interior, a panoramic sunroof and electrically adjustable seats for driver and passenger – to name just a few. Its comfortable and sleek cabin offers loads of soft touch and high quality materials to make long distance travelling and commuting in congested cities enjoyable. As is with Tucson’s Elite spec, the Tucson Sport’s dashboard incorporates a floating 7-inch screen for its infotainment system that offers features such as linkage to Apple’s CarPlay or the Android Auto application on smartphones.

Previously, the Tucson Sport was only available with a petrol engine. Now, Hyundai has added a diesel engine to the range for customers who want a more frugal and perhaps more comfortable driving option. The petrol version is a 1,6-litre turbocharged engine, and the diesel version is a 2-litre turbocharged engine.

The 1.6-litre petrol turbo delivers 150 kW at 5 500 r/min. and maximum torque of 300 Nm at 4 500 r/min. Power is fed to the front wheels through an automatic 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), with the option of manual shift override.

The 2-litre turbodiesel also delivers 150 kW, but at lower engine revolutions of 4 000 r/min. Torque delivery from the turbodiesel is an impressive 460 Nm in an engine speed range of 1 750 to 2 750 r/min. This engine, also delivering power to the front wheels, is coupled with an 8-speed automatic transmission which also offers a manual shift option.

We had the opportunity to sample both engines at the launch. Out on the highway, we test drove the diesel variant and enjoyed the kick that that extra bit of torque offers, particularly noticeable when demanding acceleration is needed for overtaking slow-moving vehicles. At our destination (which happened to be the Killarney Raceway) we opted to drive the petrol variant for our fun hot lap session. Now you might be thinking, “who on earth is going to be venturing onto any racetracks with their new Tucson Sport?” and while I agree that it might seem a bit odd to be throwing a car like this around a racetrack, it was a good way to put it to the test and see how it manages when powering through the circuit and under harsher circumstances. Despite it not being AWD, the Tucson Sport didn’t do too badly – but of course, Traction Control needed to stay on at all times.

In terms of safety, the Tucson Sport adds Vehicle Stability Management that keeps the car stable on wet, slippery or rough roads, as well as Hill-start Assist Control to prevent roll-back when pulling off against an incline. This is on top of all the regular safety features you see on the rest of the Tucson range as standard, namely, dual front and side airbags (driver and front passenger) and curtain airbags that offer protection for rear passengers as well in all derivatives. Isofix latching points for child safety seats are also fitted to all Tucson derivatives.

With the previous Tucson Sport being such a success for the brand, Hyundai has high hopes of seeing this continue, especially with the addition of a diesel option for 2019. For our readers, who are likely to be spending more time out on the highway (and not on a racetrack,) we recommend the diesel engine for a comfortable, smooth drive and fuel-saving option.


The prices of the Tucson Sport are:

Tucson 1.6 TGDI Sport (Dual Clutch Transmission)

R654 900

Tucson R2.0 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.

All service intervals are 15 000 km, with a mandatory initial 5 000 km service for the Tucson 1.6 TGDI Elite and Sport derivatives.