Hyundai is gearing up for the release of the Tucson 4×4 next month.

The five-door entry-level SUV fits below the existing larger Santa Fe and Terracan and goes on sale in the UK on 14 August.  Hyundai hopes it will attract customers who have not previously considered a 4×4.

There are seven Tucson models in the range, with prices starting at £14,995 for the 2.0 16v GSI and rising to £18,695 for the 2.7 V6 CDX.

The Tucson has a monocoque construction, and sits on a modified version of the current Coupe platform. There are three engine options (2.0 litre petrol, 2.0 litre common-rail turbo-diesel, and a 2.7 litre V6), and two trim levels; GSI and CDX.

The 2.0 litre engine develops 140bhp at 6000rpm and 136 lbs ft of torque at 4500rpm.  It reaches a top speed of 108mph and performs the 0-62mph run in 11.3 seconds.

The diesel power plant produces 111bhp at 4000rpm and a useful 181 lbs ft between 1800-2500rpm.  Top speed is 104mph with 62mph arriving in 13.8 seconds.

The top-of-the-range 2.7 V6 CDX has 173bhp on tap at 6000rpm, delivers 178 lbs ft of torque at 4000rpm and has a top speed of 112mph. Its 0-62mph figure is 10.5 seconds.

The Tucson comes with either a five speed manual transmission or four speed semi-automatic ‘H-matic’ gearbox.

Combined cycle economy figures are 39.8mpg for the diesel, and 34.4mpg for the 2.0-litre petrol.

The Tucson employs a ‘torque-on-demand’ four-wheel drive system, developed by Borg Warner. The car runs in front-wheel drive until it detects loss of traction, then the 4WD cuts in. It will then revert to two-wheel drive when adequate traction is detected. Additionally, at speeds up to 19mph, the driver can select permanent four-wheel drive for extra control at the touch of a button.

All models feature six airbags, ABS with EBD, power steering, traction control, air conditioning (climate control on CDX models), electric sunroof, double folding 60/40 split rear seats, CD player, alloy wheels and roof rails.

CDX models have in addition: cruise control, leather seat facings, electric heated door mirrors, heated front seats and metal grain centre console.

The Tucson comes with Hyundai’s five year unlimited mileage fully transferable warranty.

Hyundai expects to sell around 3,500 examples in the UK in 2005, while worldwide sales are expected to reach 200,000 units by 2006.