I’ve just had the 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD in for the 24,000 KM service even though it has just over 20,000 KMs. Why so early? My wife and I are going to go on a bit of a road trip soon. Thus we figured that it would be better to get the service done early so that there would be no issues on the road trip.
Now the service that we were scheduled for was for the following:
- Oil Change
- Front Brake Service
I also had the windshield wiper inserts replaced as those should be replaced yearly. But two more items were added to the list. One was a recall to address a hood latch issue. The key details on this recall are on this link at Transport Canada, but in short, if you don’t close the hood properly, it may pop up without warning. The fix is to replace the secondary hood latch catch with a revised component that does the job better. There’s also a software update to change the logic of how the car detects that the hood is open or not. The full details on what they do are here [Warning: PDF]. To me, that sounds like someone needs to be taught how to close the hood on a car. But that may just be the cynic in me looking at things in a glass half empty manner. Seeing as this is a recall, it’s likely should be viewed by me more seriously.
The second thing was a service campaign. That’s automotive industry speak for things that a car company should fix, but don’t qualify as a recall. This one was for a software upgrade for the dual clutch transmission that the Tucson uses. Now there have been a lot of complaints about it such as a massive thread on the Hyundai Forums. But I have not had any issues with it personally. However my wife had a hard time adjusting to it until I took her out to an empty parking lot and taught her about the unique aspects of a dual clutch transmission. Before I did that, she would complain that the Tucson lacked power off the line. Let me touch on that for a moment by talking about what a dual clutch transmission is. That way I can frame the rest of the discussion.
A dual clutch transmission is basically a pair of manual transmissions in the same body. One handles the odd numbered gears (in this case, 1-3-5-7) and the other handles the even gears (in this case 2-4-6). Technically it’s not an automatic transmission. But the whole thing is run by software which does the shifting for you, so it is considered to be “automatically shifting manual” transmission. Having said that you can shift it yourself in most cases and it doesn’t require a clutch pedal to do so. The upshot to such a setup is that the shifts should be lightning quick which means that you can often get better performance from the car, better fuel economy or both depending on the application because it doesn’t rely on a torque converter like traditional automatic transmissions do. The downside is that drivers can find that the shifting is not as smooth as they expected. Additionally, there can be some slowness in the selection of the next gear, especially when trying to accelerate at lower speeds. Those are the “unique aspects” of the transmission that I spoke of earlier. When it comes to what people have reported about the Hyundai transmission, they have reported the following:
- Hesitation off the line.
- Vibration when slowly rolling off the line.
- The transmission would overheat forcing you to pull over and stop until it cools down. Typically this exhibits itself in stop and go traffic.
- In some circumstances, the shifts would be less than smooth.
- In some circumstances, the vehicle will not move at all off the line.
I have only been able to replicate a vibration at extremely slow speeds (like 2 KM/H). But I’ve also been able to replicate with other cars with dual clutch transmissions. But for the record, if you’ve driven a manual you’d see this as well. Neither my wife or I have seen the other issues.
Now issues with dual clutch transmissions is not a unique problem to Hyundai. Ford had this problem with the Focus. In fact I trashed the Focus when I reviewed it a few years ago for that reason. VW also have had to deal with this issue to the point that there are even Facebook groups like this one that speak to this. So it’s no shock that Hyundai is dealing with issues too. And they are dealing with it via the software update that I spoke of. It will change the behavior of the transmission so that it mitigates some of the more “unique” aspects that it can exhibit. Keep in mind that there’s only so much that the software can do. So owners of these cars will have to adapt to their behavior as it’s never, ever going to act like a traditional automatic transmission. My early impressions of this update are that there’s less vibration and it’s more responsive. Having said that, it wasn’t a bad transmission before and I found its performance to be just fine. But I’ve only driven it on the highway and on city streets with no traffic. Let me try it in rush hour traffic where the “unique aspects” of this transmission can appear, as well as on our road trip and we’ll see what difference the update makes. When I do, I will post an update.
I’ll also address the elephant in the room. Why is it that I have had no issues, but my wife has had issues until I took her to a parking lot to help her adjust to the transmission, but we both drive the same car? I attribute this to two things:
- I have driven cars with this type of transmission before and I am used to how they operate. As well as how “unique” they can be.
- I have also driven a manual and since this type of transmission operates in a similar manner and I am used to how they operate.
Both allow me to adapt easily to this transmission. My wife has never done either of the above so she had issues. Once I gave he the inside scoop on how a dual clutch transmission works, she has had no issues either.
One unexpected surprise that I came across this week is the fact that Sirius XM Traffic which never worked for me and attempts to get this remedied were unsuccessful at the time. It started working as evidenced by this picture:
The green, yellow and red lines are traffic flows on the highways in and around Toronto. If you look to the right of the Maximum 80 KM/h sign, you will see a construction icon. Plus when I entered a destination, it took traffic into account. It actually worked very well. If this was working when we first got the Tucson, we might have signed on for it and paid for this functionality. Now it’s likely that this is active because Sirius XM is having a free preview until September 6th, and Sirius XM has finally sorted their issues in terms of providing this service. But if this disappears, we won’t miss it as we have Apple CarPlay which displays traffic for free and accurately on both highways and city streets. I say that because it seems that Sirius XM only displays traffic on major highways. That’s a bit of a #fail.
My next update will be after my wife and I go on a road trip. We will have stuff to carry including my bike as I plan on doing some riding in the area that we are going to. We’ll be documenting where we are going and how the Tucson performs. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: Two more data points on the dual clutch transmission update:
- I drove in rush hour traffic, and the sorts of things that I know will cause the DCT to hang up and not do anything for a few seconds are not present anymore.
- My wife has driven the Tucson three times. She notes that it has a bit more “punch” off the line and crisper shifts.
I think I can now conclude that this update works.