The new Tuscon follows the current trend in SUV design such as incorporating a number of design elements from sedans.
“For example, Hyundai Motor’s latest Santa Fe and Tucson, the two best-selling SUVs, have longer bodies, lower roofs and larger wheels, resulting in a more dynamic look.
“The sloping rear roof and smaller side glass also mean that the latest Santa Fe and Tucson even more strongly resemblance a sedan or coupe,” said Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors managing director Lau Yit Mun.
He said the interior of SUVs is also becoming more sedan-like with a large number of convenient features, which had traditionally been reserved for large sedans finding their way into the latest SUVs as a result of growing consumer demand.
“Moreover, ride quality and vehicle stability of SUVs are much improved, becoming more like a sedan while maintaining the dynamic quality of an SUV.
“Similarly, fuel efficiency and safety have been boosted and as a result, a growing number of first time car buyers are choosing SUVs as their first car,” he said.
Globally, SUV sales reached 17.8 million units in 2014, a growth of 12.6% since 2013. The rate of growth far exceeds the overall automobile market growth of 3.3%
The rapid increase in demand for SUVs is making them an attractive segment to major automakers worldwide.
The SUV market is evolving faster than any other segment in terms of design, performance, and safety and convenience features.
As a result, new SUV models are directly under the spotlight when they are released.
The third generation Tucson will be even more closely scrutinised as a potential market leader in the SUV market, which has become the battleground for major automakers.
Lau also said a wider range of drivers are opting to buy SUVs, with compact SUVs proving popular among female drivers and drivers in their 40s and 50s.
“The increasing number of female drivers are driving up demand for SUVs, constituting 16.8% of SUV buyers. In response, international automakers are accelerating the development of SUV models targeted at female SUV buyers,” he said.