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TERRA FIRMA (some text hidden)
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Introductionword count: 101
Just when you thought every Far Eastern off roader was turning a little fey, Hyundai launched the Terracan, a vehicle that offers old school ruggedness and solidity with old school pricing to boot. With the grit-spitting Terracan at the head of the range, cars like the Santa Fe and, latterly, the Tucson 4x4 could concentrate on offering a tarmac bias without fear of ridicule. Tracking down a used example might take some time as they were never big sellers, but a Terracan can make a very interesting buy when the initial slug of depreciation's been taken care of by somebody else.
Modelsword count: 6
Models Covered: (5dr 4x4 2.9 turbodiesel)
Historyword count: 141
The Terracan had been around for quite some time in its native market before it was launched to mildly puzzled British car buyers in summer 2003. Here was a car that seemed to buck every trend in 4x4 motoring. Where was the monocoque body and the svelte lines? Despite appearing a little antediluvian, the Terracan is in fact the fruit of a $240 million dollar investment, developed in-house by Hyundai at the Namyang Research and Development Centre. This sort of big, bruising all-wheel drive vehicle is essential in many global markets and the truth is that Hyundai don't expect the UK to account for a significant proportion of the Terracan's global figures. What it does represent is a worthwhile alternative to the more rugged Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Nissan products that have long eked a steady if unspectacular living on these shores.
What You Getword count: 291
Emboldened by their success with the Santa Fe compact 4x4, Hyundai have launched into the family 4x4 sector with a vengeance. The tale of the tape shows the Terracan to be longer, taller and wider than the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Mitsubishi Shogun Sport and the Nissan Terrano, so there's no shortage of metal for your money. But, as we often find in this market sector, quality and quantity are often mutually exclusive. Hyundai aim to prove otherwise. The styling is fairly generic 'big 4x4' from the side, with wheelarch extensions and skirt cladding giving it a beefy appearance. The seven-slatted grille and clear-lensed lights give the car a rather surprised face but the overall effect is far more appealing if the cladding and front air dam is finished in body colour rather than in a darker two tone. As you would expect from an upspec Hyundai, the Terracan has had all manner of equipment levered into it. Expect to find twin airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, side steps, a rear limited slip differential, climate control and electric windows all round. Add electric heated door mirrors, a CD-based stereo, alloy wheels, remote central locking, an alarm/immobiliser and fog lamps and you end up with a car that starts to look good value for money. Cabin space is above average for the class although Hyundai don't offer seven seats. As a consequence, there's plenty of legroom in the rear and the back bench features a 60/40 split and double fold to offer a wide array of cargo carrying options. A net and tie down hooks do their best to keep your goods in one place at the back while a sliding cover keeps your valuables out of sight of prying eyes.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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