With the compact segment being filled by the Stargazer and Kia Carnival being the only player in the segment, TC Motor has quickly responded to the market with the Hyundai Custin – a name that may sound unfamiliar but is actually very promising.
A crowded segment
First of all, it is necessary to acknowledge that TC Motor made a wise choice to bring the Hyundai Custin (called Custo in the Chinese market) to Vietnam. This is a bold move, because the Hyundai Custin has only appeared in the Chinese and Taiwanese markets. In this move, TC Motor was even faster than all other countries in the region such as India, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
In terms of size in the lower segment, Hyundai Custin surpasses the 7-seater MPVs priced below 700 million VND, which are becoming crowded, and especially it does not encroach on the Stargazer.
In the upper segment, the Hyundai Custin is not as bulky (to the point of being difficult to maneuver in the city) and “overpriced” like the medium-sized MPV group – where many names have had to “surrender” such as Ford Tourneo, Peugeot Traveller…
Moreover, the Custin is a “helmet to cover dangerous heads” when its low front end fits perfectly into the high-end versions of cheap MPV models, while the high end approaches the low end of the “big brother” Kia Carnival – which is currently dominating the market. Thus, Hyundai Custin will make the upcoming Toyota Innova Hybrid in a difficult position, as it cannot be priced higher and is disadvantaged by being launched after the Custin which is equipped with advanced technology.
This is the feast of giants – where the “big boys” are eyeing each other to “plot” for the greatest benefit, from a business perspective. As for the product perspective, is the Hyundai Custin a “cheap and good” choice for consumers? What does it have?
A different appearance
Coming from the Hyundai-BAIC joint venture in China, but the Hyundai Custin carries the “superior gene” of Korea, with the N3 frame platform – which is already very familiar on names such as Tucson, Sportage, K5, Santa Fe, Sportage, or Carnival.
Compared to the models in the cheap 7-seater MPV segment, the Hyundai Custin is superior by a level in terms of size. The dimensions of the car are 4,950 x 1,850 x 1,734 mm, while the wheelbase reaches 3,055 mm.
The size falls in the middle range, allowing Hyundai Custin to have more room for cargo even when all 7 seats are occupied – something that cheap MPVs cannot do. At the same time, the car is easy to maneuver in cramped city streets, unlike larger MPV models.
Learning from its sibling, the Stargazer – with a unique exterior design that is somewhat difficult for consumers to accept; the Hyundai Custin has much more modern and familiar lines. The front of the car is designed in the Parametric Jewel Hidden Light style, similar to the Tucson.
The rear of the car lights up with a continuous LED strip running horizontally across the body – with a hint of modern Western style. The sides of the car stand out with convenient power sliding doors – a typical feature of MPVs. The wheel arches are painted in the same color as the body, bringing unity to the appearance. The car’s feet are equipped with 17 – 18-inch wheels depending on the version. The two-tone machined wheels are very modern and eye-catching with a five-spoke design.
The exterior details are designed very sophisticatedly and cleverly. Notably, the headlights are hidden in the grille, the integrated mirror signal lights and the 360-degree camera; or the 4 diamond-patterned door handles that are very eye-catching. Indeed, aesthetics has always been an advantage of Korean models in general and in this case, the Custin.
Along with the modern exterior design, Hyundai Custin also has a very eye-catching passenger compartment. The modern four-spoke steering wheel that is familiar on recent Hyundai models is present on the Custin, reminiscent of an aircraft control stick.
The driver’s seat is designed with a wide view, the window glass is enlarged to limit blind spots, providing a panoramic view. In Vietnam, TC Motor distributes the Custin with two engine options.
The 1.5L turbocharged petrol version produces 170 PS of power and 253 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the higher-end version is equipped with a 2.0L turbocharged petrol engine that provides up to 236 PS of power and can reach a torque of 353 Nm; helping the car accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 8.2 seconds.
Both versions are equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission. In the real experience, the 2.0T version of the Hyundai Custin performs well thanks to its immediate acceleration and surplus pulling power.
The electric power steering provides flexibility, quick response, and easy handling in narrow spaces or crowded city streets. The noise isolation capability of the Hyundai Custin is also excellent. The suspension system effectively eliminates vibrations, creating a comfortable experience for passengers.
In addition, a series of safety features are also present in the car, ensuring the ability to take the owners safely to their destinations. Notable examples include the Hyundai Smartsense package and many external features such as blind spot warning, 360-degree camera, 6 airbags…
Quick conclusion, Hyundai Custin possesses an attractive design, spacious and feature-packed interior, flexible and safe operation, and especially a price that cannot be more reasonable. These reasons are enough for the Custin to confidently welcome the upcoming end-of-year shopping season and step onto the list of the top 10 best-selling car models in the market, making its competitors in the MPV segment wary, especially the upcoming Toyota Innova.
Anh Phan (Tuoitrethudo)
Photos: Huy Bách