Hyundai Sime Darby held a media preview this morning where the specs and variants for the new Tucson and Sonata were confirmed. What’s not confirmed is the pricing of the cars, which are still in the process of being approved by the authorities. The planned launch for the duo is in late April or early May, and we’ll be one of the earliest markets in Asia Pacific to receive right-hand drive cars. As previously revealed by this blog, both the Tucson and Sonata are imported CBU from Korea and will come in 2.0-litre Standard, 2.0-litre High Spec and 2.4-litre variants.

Both cars use the Theta II family of engines with DOHC and Dual CVVT. The 2.0-litre produces 164 bhp and 197 Nm of torque, which compares favourably to the Honda CR-V’s 148 bhp/190 Nm or the Accord’s 154 bhp/189 Nm.

Hyundai’s 175 bhp/227 Nm 2.4-litre beats Camry 2.4 figures and Honda K24A torque ratings, although it’s just shy of the Honda’s 178 bhp (which is made at a high 6,500 rpm). No diesels though, our Euro 2M standards are still not convincing enough for HMC.

Hyundai Sonata dashboard

All models will come with a six-speed automatic gearbox with tiptronic function. Developed in-house by Hyundai, this gearbox is said to be maintainence free. To back up the claim, Hyundai ran the gearbox for one and a half months, 24 hours a day, cycling through all six ratios. In that situation, the transmission lasted 300,000 km, so we can presume that it’ll last even longer with normal use.

For “harsh conditions” (the example given for “harsh” was up and down Genting Highlands full bore every day), you can send it in for service after 100,000 km. It was also mentioned that the A/T is “serviceable”, meaning that a faulty component can be replaced, rather than chucking the whole unit away. Anyhow, a five-year or 300,000 km warranty covers the gearbox, so it should be truly worry-free.

Hyundai Tucson dashboard

The Tucson is available in 2WD and 4WD, but the latter is only for the 2.4-litre. It’s a torque on demand system that automatically sends drive (maximum of 50%) to the rear wheels if slip is detected, and there’s a button on the centre console that locks it at 50:50. High spec 2.0 and 2.4 models are fitted with ESP, Hill Start Assist and Downhill Brake Control – the latter takes over braking duties from your foot in steep off road descents.

They also get keyless entry and start (with start button), a full length panaromic sunroof, semi-leather seats and driver’s powered seat. The only feature on the 2.4 that’s missing from the high spec 2.0 is auto climate control with ionizer.

The spec spread is pretty similar for the Sonata, which high spec 2.0 and 2.4 also get the glass roof and keyless entry/start, but adds on HID headlamps. Curiously, the panaromic roof on the sedan has a one-touch function that’s missing from the Tucson. Wheels of up to 18 inches are available for the two, but Hyundai Sime Darby has opted for 17s to avoid expensive tyre replacement costs. Both cars are yet to be officially crash tested, but Hyundai expects no less than full five stars for both cars in Euro NCAP and North America’s IIHS test after in-house simulations.

Now, all that’s left is the pricing. HSD is not having it easy on this matter; although this new breed of Hyundais meet and exceed class standards, the typical Malaysian customer still wants a substantially lower price than an equivalent Honda or Toyota, so we’ll see!