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Hyundai's Affordable Four Wheel Drives

Aug 17, 2007
Hyundai has become an increasingly popular carmaker in the Australian market, thanks largely to the ubiquitous Hyundai Excel. But it's in the off-road market where Hyundai is now really making in-roads. Here we look at the off-road offerings from this emerging Korean carmaker.

Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson offers a good off-roader at a great price. A new Tucson will set you back around $30,000 for the standard 2.7 litre V6 five door wagon. For the top of the range Tucson Elite S, you'll pay around $33,000.

The Tucson has air conditioning, automatic transmission, driver and passenger airbags and anti-lock brakes all as standard equipment. One thing to consider though with the Tucson is its lack of real ground clearance which inhibits its off-road abilities. But despite this, the Tucson represents good value for money.

A good one owner Tucson in good condition should be relatively easy to come by. If you are looking at buying a used car, check for off-road damage in the body and try to go for one that has done little or no off-roading. Also, get an inspection from a qualified Hyundai mechanic.

Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe has been a great success story for Hyundai in Australia. The Santa Fe should be considered more as a soft-roader rather than a serious four wheel drive. However, if you're just looking to have a little fun on the weekends, then this may be a viable option for you. The Santa Fe looks great and has the same standard features as the Tucson. The Santa Fe is reasonably priced at around $34,000 brand new.

If you're in the market for a used car, go for a one owner late model, as earlier vehicles weren't built as well as later models. And remember to check underneath and in the body for signs of off-road damage, and get a professional inspection.

Hyundai Terracan
The Hyundai Terracan is much boxier in appearance compared with the Santa Fe and Tucson, but this vehicle is built for more serious off-roading and the boxier shape actually makes it look like it means business in the bush. The Terracan, as opposed to the Santa Fe and Tucson, has good ground clearance offering good entry and exit angles. The Terracan is in permanent four wheel drive and has a two speed transfer box for torque low down when the going gets tough. The Terracan has some little luxuries too, with front fog lights, an MP3 CD player and ABS brakes standard from 2004 models onwards. New car prices start from around $35,500 for the standard model and $37,500 for the Highlander.

If you're looking for a used car, check for steering stability on the open road and check the body for damage from off-road use. Try and go for a one owner car made after 2004 as these will have the extra equipment as standard.
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