Hyundai defends Tucson's 'futuristic' credentials despite no hybrids

Hyundai Australia concedes the all-new Tucson's powertrains aren't as advanced as some of its rivals

2021 Hyundai Tucson

Talking points

  • European-built hybrids 'prohibitively' expensive to import
  • Hyundai concedes Tucson's powertrains not as advanced as some rivals
  • Says Tucson brings enough new tech to justify its futuristic credentials

Hyundai Australia has defended its 'tomorrow’s car today' marketing campaign for the new Tucson despite the fact it is unlikely any electrified versions will make their way Down Under.

As reported in November 2020, the European produced hybrid (HEV)- and plug-in hybrid (PHEV)- Tucson variants were ruled out of joining petrol and diesel versions in the local line-up despite them being on Hyundai Australia’s wish list.

At the time a lack of Federal emissions targets was blamed for them not being available at launch.

2022 Hyundai Tucson (base model)

However, Hyundai Australia Co-ordinating Director Scott Yoon said while that is still the case, other factors such as the 'prohibitively expensive' cost of importing vehicles from Europe, as well as import tariffs on cars built in the Czech Republic, mean it’s unlikely they’ll join the Australian range for the foreseeable future.

Yoon told journalists at the Tucson’s Australian launch that while there was always the option the Nosovice plant could build hybrid Tucsons for Australia, the issue was making a business case to justify the additional costs to develop the Tucson to local specifications.

This means the Australian Tucson range will again be powered by similar four-cylinder powertrains to the previous model including new versions of the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, the 1.6-litre turbo petrol and 2.0-litre turbo diesel.

When asked if the lack of HEV or PHEV powertrains contradicted Hyundai Australia’s decision to market the 2021 Tucson as 'tomorrow’s car today', the company’s Chief Operating Officer John Kett said: "I understand that one of our competitors (Toyota) has an advantage on that today, quite frankly we don’t see that as tomorrow’s car."

"Zero emissions for us is our key priority, we think hybrid is a transition technology," he said.

"At this point in time, car for car, we think [Tucson is] an incredible proposition in terms of features."

"We feel like it’s an incredible offering and we do feel like it justifies that statement."

Hyundai Australia's General Manager of Corporate Communications, Bill Thomas, conceded the Tucson’s new powertrains weren’t as advanced as some of its competitors but said the Tucson led the medium-SUV in other ways.

"I don’t think there’s anyone [at Hyundai Australia] who would disagree that having a hybrid would be a disadvantage for us, we just can’t get it," he said.

"But when you look at the car and look at the features packed into it and think about it from that point of view, it’s a strong futuristic-looking car with the right kind of tech."

The 2.0-litre petrol, front-wheel-drive Hyundai Tucson has arrived in Hyundai showrooms, with the 1.6-litre turbo all-wheel-drive (AWD) due in the coming weeks, followed by the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel AWD in late 2021.


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