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Used car review Hyundai Terracan 2001-2007

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    There was no escaping it, Hyundai was going to be closely scrutinized when it launched the Terracan here.

Graham 'Smithy' Smith reviews the used Hyundai Terracan 2001-2007: its fine points, its flaws and what to watch for when buying it.

It was no mistake that Hyundai chose the Victorian high country to debut its diesel Terracan, the company knew its new offroader was perfectly capable of conquering the tough terrain and was more than happy to demonstrate it.  The diesel Terracan CRDi was a new addition to the Terracan range in 2005, and the first diesel model Hyundai released in this country.

It had been available in other countries for a year or two, but couldn't come here until the quality of the local diesel fuel improved. That had happened by 2005, so it was with great excitement that the Korean carmaker added it to its Terracan range.

The petrol-only Terracan was unveiled four years earlier, in 2001, when Hyundai was stepping up its presence here and moving from a seller of cheap-and-cheerful cars to a serious player in the market mainstream.

The addition of the diesel served to underline the shift and brought with it an important new choice for SUV buyers.

MODEL WATCH

While the Terracan CRDi was a new model to the range in 2005, apart from the diesel engine it was the same as the petrol-engined wagon that arrived in 2001.

The market for offroaders is a highly competitive one, one in which Hyundai was up against carmakers with years of experience building rough, tough vehicles for the most extreme conditions.

It is one familiar to many Australians who love nothing better than a weekend away in a remote corner of the country. These people know their stuff when it comes to an offroader and mark any vehicle that fails to meet their demands hard.  There was no escaping it, Hyundai was going to be closely scrutinized when it launched the Terracan here.

True, the market for offroaders has divided into a number of sub-segments as families have adopted SUV all-wheel drive wagons as their preferred means of transport, but any new model with the claim of being an offroader comes under the spotlight of serious offroaders.  Before the launch of the CRDi in 2005 the only engine available was a 3.5-litre V6 with 145 kW and 302 Nm when it was being pressed at its peak. 

The addition of the 2.9-litre common rail turbo diesel in 2005 changed the landscape for the Terracan, the diesel was much better suited to serious offroading and was also handy when it came to towing.  Both engines carried the option of five-speed manual and four-speed auto transmissions and drove through all four wheels.

The Terracan's suspension had come in for some criticism, it wasn't that great once the black top ran out, but in 2005, when it introduced the diesel model, it also added an improved suspension option developed locally.

With a package of goodies including Edelbrock gas shocks, revised rear springs and bump stops the 'Trek n' Tow' suspension pack made a huge improvement over the standard set-up, and better still it was fully backed by the factory.

While the suspension copped some flak early on, the Terracan was generally praised for its value-for-money proposition.  There were in essence two well-equipped models in the range, the Terracan and Terracan Highlander.

The base Terracan had air, cruise, remote central locking, immobiliser, alarm, power windows and mirrors, six-speaker CD sound, roof racks and fog lamps.  Step up to the Highlander and you also got auto air, leather, woodgrain, as well as ABS braking with EBD brake distribution.  An update in 2004 made ABS and EBD standard across the range.

ON THE LOT

Pay $10,000-$21,000 for a base Terracan, $11,500-$22,000 for a Highlander.

IN THE SHOP

Hyundai's star is on the rise as can be seen through its rising sales. That's a reflection of its model range that is hitting the spot with new car buyers, but it's also a sign that the company is getting right in terms of quality, durability and reliability.

It wasn't that long ago that carsGuide was regularly receiving queries from readers with complaints about their cars, but it's not so now.  The complaints and criticisms, certainly deserved, have largely dried up.

That's a great start when looking for a used car. Hyundai's like the Terracan that have been built in the last 10 years are a cut above those built in earlier times.  The Terracan can be approached with confidence, it's really only necessary to carry out the basic checks you would on any used car.

Those checks include inspecting for panel damage that would suggest a car has been in a fender-bender, and confirmation that it has been well serviced.

IN A CRASH

Before 2004 only the Highlander had the important safety features of ABS and EBD, so it's best to opt for a post-2004 model to have those essential features.  All Terracans boasted dual front airbags and pretensioners from 2001.

AT THE PUMP

Like most four-wheel drives with petrol engines the Terracan V6 is a thirsty beast, not surprising given its bulk and the extra gear the engine has to drive. On average a 3.5-litre V6 Terracan will do around 15 L/100 km.  The diesel is better, and the best option for most situations, and it will do 10.5 L/100 km on average.

LOOK FOR

Improved suspension after 2005 . High fuel consumption of V6 . Good performance and economy of diesel . Only has front airbags . ABS not fitted to all models . Good build quality

ALSO CHECK THESE

TOYOTA PRADO - 1999-2007 A blend of civilised on-road transport and off-road competence the Prado is as good as it gets in the mid-sized four-wheel drive market. The petrol engine is a good performer on or off the road, while the diesel is a powerful and efficient alternative. Pay $12,000-$50,000.

 JEEP CHEROKEE - 2001-2007 Very good offroad, less so on-road, the Cherokee is small by comparison to others in its class. Fit and finish is inconsistent, used cars need to be closely inspected. Petrol V6 is also thirsty, but that's not unusual for this type of vehicle, diesel is a good alternative. Pay $13,000-$30,000.

MITSUBISHI CHALLENGER - 2000-2007 A tried-and-proven medium-sized off-road wagon the Challenger comes with the credibility of the larger Pajero attached to its running boards. Only available with petrol V6, but with five-speed manual and four-speed auto choices, the Challenger was a good allrounder without being outstanding in any area. Pay $11,000-$28,000.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Value-for-money off-roader that is capable of going the hard years in the bush.

RATING

70/100

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 24 comments

  • I purchased my 2005 Terracan 2.9crdi at 66000km, it has now done 132000km and each year tows caravan approx 6000km. Fuel consumption great and you don't know van is behind you. Never had a problem with it ---- best vehicle I have owned.

    gary sanders of Australia Posted on 04 April 2014 2:40pm
  • i am about to purchase a terracan 2008 model 75000 km on the clock for R120000.00 is this a bargain or am I looking for trouble Full service history was used for towing a caravan , owned by an elderly gentleman kind regards amod

    amod Happy of Pietyermaritzburg Southafrica Posted on 31 March 2014 5:24am
  • Every make,every model can have the odd dud.With Terracan they are rare.My 2006 Highlander,bought new,is exactly the same today(March 2014)as the day I bought it is Reliable,tough,capable.I have spent nothing other than a set of tyres and scheduled services.(not even a battery!) It actually goes like a rocket and tows like a dream.These cars were (are) an absolute bargain buy.For the average person they make sense.

    Leigh Deppeler of Australia Posted on 07 March 2014 1:16am
  • Possibly the worst car I have ever owned, buyer beware stay away from the v6 . Bought mine from car yard with 160.000 on clock abs does not work cruise control does not work gear box is on it's way out replaced heads and all coil packs including crank sensor needed replacing . I will never ever buy Korean again

    David Martin Hagen of Kelmscott Posted on 24 December 2013 12:22am
  • has anyone have a problem with useing an after market power steering hose. on a 2005 hyundai terracan 2.9 diesel

    mick daly of guyra Posted on 09 November 2013 10:37am
  • Thinking about getting an 06 CRDI, anyone know what they are like a towing up hill, I have a 1.9ton boat and trailer and live up a big hill, my nissan struggles like mad. Thanks

    Paul of Adelaide Posted on 08 October 2012 11:27pm
  • I bought a second hand 2003 petrol Terracan with 79K kms on the clock back in 2009. Three years late it's done 145K kms and besides having to replace the power steering pump, water pump, battery and alternator this car has served me well. I've since put on a Tough Dog heavy duty suspension kit which has given me a 2" lift, 15" steel rims on 275 Kumho tyres, a Walker ultraflo muffler and K&N filter which has improved power and fuel economy. She's still a thirsty beast but then again it is a V6 pushing almost 2.5 tonnes of steel, but runs much smoother and better on 98 octane fuel. Great offroad car after modifications. Great introductory offroader that you would even recommend to your mother-in-law. Only problem is that parts are expensive and not much in the way of aftermarket 4WD mods. After the small modifications to ride height this car will keep up with most Cruisers and Patrols, and to date hasn't let me down. Highly recommended.

    Nudge of Perth Posted on 22 August 2012 7:14pm
  • We bought a 2006 Highlander in 2010; just traded it in after a problems with overheating; has always been serviced by Hyundai dealer mechanics who have no idea what the problem is with the car. Fault arose after a major service. Weren't prepared to pay anymore money, traded it and bought a Navarra. As we have another Hyundai car and were repeat customers of this dealership, we are very disappointed in their follow up service and lack of ability to find the problem, but keen to replace any part they could see at our expense without diagnosing the problem correctly. There won't be a third car from them.

    Sue Rogers of Balhannah Posted on 05 March 2012 10:27pm
  • I have a 2005 Crdi which I bought new. Now have 120,000km with not one problem , not even one claim under warranty. The car pulls my 1.5 tonne boat with ease and returns excellent mileage. Have travelled to Fraser Island, Inaminka, flinders and gannon ranges and several bush trips with out so much as a hiccup. I love this car and will run it till it drops which I expect will be a long time as I know of owners who have in excess of 300,000km up with next to no troubles. Great value for money vehicle

    brian sullivan of melbourne Posted on 30 December 2011 10:56am
  • Russell of Rockhampton Posted on 09 September 2011 5:35pm - Sorry to hear Russ but that was your problem, they are not the best to deal with - I have a 2005 CDRi Terracan that I used to get them to service and found they would not service properly. I have not had any problems with mine in 6 years and I still get over 800km to the tank. Another little trick is to put a cup of trans fluid in the tank when filling up it. It lubes the pump as diesel is abrasive. I will be giving it a two inch lift as well as setting it up for more serious 4x4 driving.

    Don of Camden Posted on 05 October 2011 11:28pm
  • 2005 Hyundai CRDI manual 150000ks good economy, power for towing and comfort started motor fitted under warranty 2000ks loss of power problems, fault in fitting trailer brakes under warranty 4 wheel drive low range never repaired after warranty dual mass flywheel and clutch replaced $5000 head lights replaced $600, air-conditioner compressor $1500 rear diff spewing out oil. Had enough, traded it in … no back up support from Hyundai.

    russell of Rockhampton Posted on 09 September 2011 6:35pm
  • I had a 2005 CRDi auto - used for towing a caravan and normal driving. It was great until we were driving to Sydney on the Southern Freeway when it just stopped and would not start again. We had the thing towed to Paul Wakeling Hyundai in Campbelltown who gave us the good news that the fuel pump had packed it in and shed metal filings throughout the fuel system and the repairs would come to $11,000. Yes that is ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! Only viable thing to do was trade it in for a lousy $3000 on a new i30. It left a sour taste in the mouth. Advice to other Terracan owners ... GET RID OF IT BEFORE IT HAPPENS TO YOU and it will, it is a known problem.

    R Head of Riverina Posted on 27 July 2011 4:44pm
  • I bought a diesel terracan in 2005 with the manual gearbox. The car has now covered 130,000kms with amazing fuel consumption 8.6L/100kms. It has been one of the best vehicles I have owned and there has been many. However the gearbox has started to make a slight whining noise which I suspect is the input bearing. Given that this vehcle is built on an old Mitsibushi Pajero chassis it is reasonable to assume the gearbox is from the same vehicle. The Pajero also suffered from early wear in the manual gearbox bearings. Anyone know different?

    Tony Sutherland of Australia Posted on 26 May 2011 3:32pm
  • Own a Terracan Highlander automatic - top vehicle, best I have ever had in cars but you need to tow a service station behind you.

    byron eade of adelaide Posted on 12 May 2011 4:24pm
  • I owen a 2001 terracan its a great car..i live in a very hot area in africa and its air conditioning system never failed me ... for real its a car i`m happy to owen

    hisham mohamed of khartoum Posted on 25 April 2011 6:40am
  • I have owned a 2005 diesel Terracan, we had to have the injector pump replaced $10,000 and all four injectors replaced $1500 each. Thank God Hyundai replaced them free of charge. Great truck, we are looking at buying another one! We will get it checked first, would like to know what are the manual Terracans like, do they have gear box problems?

    jonathon brown of new zealand Posted on 05 April 2011 7:06pm
  • Have a CRDI 2006 auto, towed a 21' caravan round Australia last year, fantastic vehicle, spoke to a few people with Nissan's, Toyota's, and other makes, heard the problems they were having, mad me feel great about the Terrican. Have a DP chip fitted over all fuel 14.6/100k for the whole trip. Only problem had alternator replaced. covered by warranty.

    Bob Curtain of Redland City Qld Posted on 23 March 2011 12:41pm
  • I own a late 2006 Terracan I bought in late 2010. In response to Cath White, I hope you bought your one. Mine had been serviced religiously by Hyundai dealers wherever it was in OZ - even Darwin and Alice Springs. That's why I bought it. The previous owner didn't option the Trek-and-Tow kit, but fitted after-market air suspension and new shock absorbers (rear) and Maxi-Trac shocks (front). No sign of the suspension bottoming out, which I was told happens all-too-frequently with the standard set-up. Steering is a bit vague, but I was warned about that. It's also a little bouncy with the air bag suspension. This thing tows my 1.7 tonne - 5.8 metre fibreglass boat no problems. Not tried it for any serious off-road work yet.

    Keith Range of Winston Hills NSW Posted on 08 March 2011 1:13pm
  • My husband and I have owned a Terracan CRDI model for 5 years the only trouble that we have had with it is the following. We have had to replace an injector and now the motor has blown up. it is going to cost us around 10,000 dollars to fet it fixed. apart from all of that we have had no problems with it. Great car, being a short person it suited us well.

    leah burch of nsw Posted on 04 February 2011 10:15am
  • We are looking at purchasing an '06 Terracan, under 100,000k's - just wondered what people thought bout the car and it's longevity etc.

    Cath White of Melbourne Posted on 14 January 2011 9:41pm
  • I am looking to add a luggage tray to my Terracan and need to know if the current (standard) racks can support this. the maximum load would be about 20 KGS

    Daryl Burns of Geelong Vic Aust Posted on 12 January 2011 11:28am
  • Is the petrol Terracan hylander more economical on gas, and does anybody know if I can get it done in Wollongong and where do they put the tank

    Les Mills of Wollongong Posted on 05 January 2011 4:54pm
  • Rear window washer is filled through the bottle that feeds the front window.

    Simon Dunne of Melbourne Posted on 11 October 2010 4:10pm
  • My 2005 Terracan now has 165000k on it and returns 8.7 lt /100 on diesel on highway runs. Some transmission seals replaced under warranty, no other issues,except that I do not know where to refill the rear window washer.

    Kevin Fowler of Brisbane Australia Posted on 10 July 2010 6:24pm
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