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Hyundai launches new generation Tucson, an SUV with daring aura

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By Rasheed Bisiriyu

The launch of a new look Hyundai Tucson SUV on Monday was ecstatic as many SUV enthusiasts and analysts say they are excited about the entire virtual unveiling experience.

They acknowledge that the new vehicle, a fourth generation Tucson, built for the 2022 market, evokes a combative and daring aura.

“We were excited about the virtual launch event, which took place in West Hollywood, California, on Monday,” say MSN Auto analysts.

Hyundai’s Global Chief Operating Officer José Muñoz and SangYup Lee, who runs the Hyundai Global Design Centre, spoke at the event on the new wonder machine on the wheels.

The professional surfer Sage Erickson, a Hyundai brand ambassador, made an appearance as well.

Hyundai says the 2022 Tucson will be quieter, smoother, and more fun to drive than the outgoing model.

The automaker uses more sound-deadening materials and has an acoustic windshield to reduce the wind noise from coming into the cabin.

Hybrid models use “e-handling” technology, which should improve the steering response and vehicle stability while providing a fun-driving experience.

According to Motor Trends, the new vehicle has a lot of unique things. First, it notes that in a big departure from the current styling, Hyundai sketched the fourth-generation Tucson with angled character lines and a big grille, turning the compact SUV into a distinct player in an ultra-competitive segment.

“The styling isn’t the only big change for the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, though. It’s longer, wider, and taller than the current SUV, and it will be available as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid for the first time,” it states.

Hyundai says the new car provides the automaker an opportunity to begin its next adventurous chapter and push the boundaries of efficiency a lot higher.

It says, “The entirely new look with a longer, wider body takes SUV design into more modern territory. And its complex network of sensors and cameras help keep you even safer while making driving—and parking— a lot easier.

“For the first time ever Tucson is giving you choices that push the boundaries of efficiency and performance: from the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid to the race-inspired N Line.”

The auto news website provides other striking details about the new Tuckson SUV. For instance, it notes that the change in proportions means more space inside.

The 2022 Tucson is said to be 5.9 inches longer, 0.6 inch wider and 0.6 inch taller than the model it replaces, with its wheelbase also increasing by 3.4 inches.

This means the new Tucson is now about the same size as the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, two SUVs that have also got bigger recently.

The Tucson is the latest model to embody Hyundai’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design language, which is seen in the Sonata and Elantra sedans but until now had not made its way to an SUV.

Motor Trends also states, “One of the most striking elements is the integration of the daytime running lights into the grille, which gives the 2022 Tucson a wider, futuristic appearance.

“Taking a page from the Kona and Santa Fe designs, the headlights are nestled in the front bumper, giving the Tucson a combative face. Combined with the well-defined fender openings and sharp character lines on the hood, the Tucson has a concept-y look in pictures, but once you see it in person, it embodies a sharper style that brings a new identity to the table.” 

Interior

The new Hyundai Tucson interior is spacious. When you enter the cabin, you will be welcomed by big screens and tons of techs.

The Tucson Limited model is equipped with a 10.3-inch touchscreen, capacitive HVAC controls, ambient lighting, and another 10.3-inch screen for the instrument cluster. Lower trims get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with a 4.2-inch LCD display on the instrument cluster, but they benefit from wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, something you don’t get with the 10.3-inch touchscreen.

Sitting in the driver’s seat you get a sense of spaciousness from the cabin. The hidden air vents on the dashboard and the lack of a physical lever (say hello to push-buttons) make the cabin feel roomier.

The Limited model also uses piano black trim and cloth on the door panels that looks and feels premium while adding a bit of character to the cabin.

The bigger proportions mean more space inside. The second-row seats feel like a living room, with a whooping 41.3 inches of legroom.

Engine

It has three engine options. They are gas, hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

Tucson’s bigger 2.5-litre, four-cylinder gas engine gives you more power with an estimated 187hp and 182lb.-ft. of torque.

Tucson hybrid’s 1.6L turbocharged engine kicks out 226hp estimated total combined system power. And HTRAC All Wheel Drive comes standard.

The third option offers you electric when you want it; and gas when you need it.

Tucson plug-in hybrid’s 1.6L turbocharged engine with 13.8kWh battery power charges in just under two hours. And with standard HTRAC All Wheel Drive and all-electric drive mode, the Tucson Plug-in Hybrid is a win-win.

Those opting for the Tucson hybrid or plug-in hybrid will get a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic, an electric motor, and standard all-wheel drive.

The regular hybrid gets a 1.49-kWh battery to deliver about 226 hp and 258 lb-ft, per Hyundai’s estimates, while getting 37 mpg combined.

The plug-in hybrid uses a 13.8-kWh battery that allows the Tucson to cover about 28 miles on electric drive only before reverting to full-hybrid operation.

Power numbers rise to around 260hp and fuel economy numbers increase to about 70 mpg-e.

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Lagos buys 100 new vehicles for state civil servants

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Lagos State Government has purchased 100 new cars for senior civil servants in the state on Grade 17 level.

The beneficiaries mainly directors in the teaching and health sectors were randomly selected through e-balot system, according to the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

He added that the beneficiaries had taken possession of the 100 vehicles.

Posting pictures of the cars on his social media pages on Saturday night, the governor said the purchase was done to keep his promise that Lagos State would always prioritise the welfare of workers in its civil service.

Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming governorship election is seeking a second term as governor.

Sanwo-Olu wrote, “In keeping to our promise of prioritising the welfare of our staff in the Lagos State civil service, we gave out 100 vehicles to Directors on grade level 17 through an e-ballot system.

“While 40 of the vehicles were given to Grade Level 17 Directors in the teaching sector, 30 vehicles each were allocated to the health and mainstream sectors of the public service respectively.”

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Lanre Shittu assembles new pickup, plans vehicles to carry its nameplate  

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Indigenous auto assembler, Lanre Shittu Motors, has revealed plans to build vehicles that will be known as Lanre Shittu expected to serve not just the needs of Nigerians but people and firms in other West African countries.

Group Executive Director of the company, Mr Taiwo Shittu, who disclosed this on Wednesday in an interview in Lagos, added that as a precursor to that, the auto company had commenced the assembling of a mid-size pickup truck called Huanghai LSM, in partnership with Dandong Huanghai Automobile Co Ltd, a Chinese automaker.

He said, “We intend to have a vehicle called LSM (Lanre Shittu Motors). We are starting from somewhere. We have partnered with Huanghai, a very good brand which is the second biggest pickup company in China. We are sharing technology and a lot of other things with them. In time, we shall transit to LSM.

“The idea is to build the Nigerian auto industry to the level of exporting our products to other African countries and beyond. That is our plan. We are growing; LSM will be 42 this year. The earlier we have our brand the better.”

Already, Shittu said the company’s assembly plant had started injecting local content into products coming from the auto assembler.

Indeed, he said about 30 per cent of components of vehicles assembled from Lanre Shittu Motors are currently sourced locally.

He said, “All the lubricants, the grease, liquid-based materials used in vehicles we assemble here are sourced locally. We also get the materials for the box body – the buckets on the trucks – our welders design and fabricate them together. In some cases, it is about 30% local content.”

He said the company was building a large assembly plant in Sagamu, Ogun State, which would be completed at the end of this year, as part of its expansion projects.

Shittu urged the Federal Government to urgently put in place policies that would “make (auto) component manufacturers to come and build factories in Nigeria.”

He added, “There is a big market for them here. But there is no policy yet to make them want to come. We can get the glass, tyres and batteries locally. No manufacturer will tell you to use its tyre or battery because they too source them from other makers of these products.

“If government places 100% duty on imported versions of these products when we start making them in Nigeria, nobody will buy imported ones when the locally-made are cheaper and of the same quality.”

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Purchase of 30-seater bus tears Innoson, NAN apart

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There is a growing disagreement between local auto assembler, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited, and the News Agency of Nigeria over a 30-seater bus purchased by the latter from the former.

While NAN insists on the replacement of the bus which it considers faulty, Innoson says it will fix the fault.

The demand by NAN was made in a letter the agency despatched to Innoson even as it expressed regrets over the patronage of Made-in-Nigeria vehicles.
The letter dated January 16 and signed by the agency’s Principal Legal Officer, Mojirola Eniola, stated in part,
“Following the failure of your organisation to meet our demands for the evacuation and replacement of the faulty 30-seater bus (IVM6751) supplied to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) within seven (7) days of the receipt of our letter dated January 6, 2023, we have been left with no choice but to return the vehicle to your premises.”
NAN reports that this is the second time the agency would be rejecting the company’s vehicles due to either non-compliance with specifications or mechanical fault.
In line with the Buhari administration’s admonition to patronise local industries, the agency had some time in 2021 approached the motor vehicle plant to supply it with a 30-seater bus for its workers.
The agency had paid Innoson the sum of N49.5 million, including taxes, for the purchase of the bus on 17 November 2021.
Trouble, however, started when the company on November 16 2021, delivered the 30-seater bus said not to be in line with the specifications it reached with the agency.
The agency promptly rejected the bus and directed its solicitors to demand a replacement in line with the agreed specifications.
In its February 1, 2022 letter to Innoson through its solicitors, the agency demanded a replacement within 14 days or a face legal action.
Responding to the threat, Innoson in a letter dated February 14, 2022 apologised to NAN for the inconvenience it had caused the agency.
“We want to use this medium to apologise to your client (NAN) for any inconvenience that they may have experienced due to their complaint,” the letter signed by a director, Jonas Ojukwu, said.
Ojukwu, who in the letter claimed that his company does not sell refurbished vehicles, promised to replace the rejected vehicle.
“We will bring in a replacement brand new Innoson 30-seater bus to your client (News Agency of Nigeria) before the fourteen (14) days that you stated from the date of receipt of your letter and we shall retrieve the one supplied before now.
“We want to assure you that our business relationship will not be thwarted by any form of dissatisfaction for our desire is to serve our customers to the best of their satisfaction,” Ojukwu stated.
In spite of the assurances in Ojukwu’s correspondence, the replacement vehicle delivered to NAN on April 8, 2022 only worsened the agency’s transportation woes as it was dogged by successive mechanical faults.
Before the eventual evacuation of the vehicle to the Innoson Abuja office, the bus was said to have been lying idle on the agency’s premises for several months due to mechanical faults.
The agency’s Head of Technical Department, Aaron Miller, said the vehicle since delivery had been permanently grounded due to a faulty gearbox.
He said several appeals made to the Innoson Abuja office to evacuate the vehicle for repairs were ignored.
“We made several representations to them to repair this faulty gearbox all to no avail.
“On the three occasions their technicians showed up to ostensibly repair the vehicle, the problems persisted, causing embarrassment to the agency, ” he said.
Frustrated by the vehicle company’s noncommittal response in evacuating the vehicle, the agency issued another seven-day ultimatum to Innoson Abuja office in a letter dated 6 January.
This was to be followed by a final notice in a January 16 letter and the eventual towing of the faulty vehicle to the Abuja premises of Innoson on Tuesday after the company reneged on its pledge to evacuate the vehicle.

When a NAN correspondent contacted Ojukwu on phone, he said the bus would be repaired.

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