- Classy design both inside and out with lots of on-board kit as standard
- Comfortable and easy to drive
- Spacious interior with good storage options
- The steering can feel a little light at times
- Fuel gauge drops quickly when driven hard
- Wide B pillars hinder visibility
The Hyundai Tucson is a vitally important car for the South Korean car maker as it is the company’s challenger to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga. But it copes really well with the pressure and has recently undergone a mid-life make-over.
This Tucson looks sharper, features more economical engines, improved connectivity systems and more premium styling. It is also the first car from Hyundai to offer a diesel mild-hybrid powertrain supported by a 48-volt electric motor.
The Tucson is Hyundai’s best-selling model in the UK and the latest version is guaranteed to gain plenty of attention.
On The Road
The latest Hyundai Tucson is available in trim levels called S Connect, SE Nav, N Line, Premium and Premium SE. Customers also have a good choice of two petrol and two diesel engines, along with a diesel mild hybrid unit. There are manual or auto gearboxes plus front or all-wheel drive
We opted for the range-topping Premium SE model powered by a 1.6 T-GDi petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This turbocharged petrol powertrain could develop 177PS with 265Nm of torque. And that translates into pretty impressive performance stats for a family SUV. Our Tucson could complete the 0-62mph sprint in 9.2 seconds and topped out at 126mph.
On motorways, it cruised effortlessly at 70mph and then on more open country lanes, there was a constant supply of power on tap which helped make light work of overtaking.
In and around town, the Tucson was agile and easy to manoeuvre and there are all manner of sensors and parking aids to make you look the ultimate professional when reversing into a tight space.
The six-speed gearbox was responsive and the raspy sounding petrol suggests that this SUV has some character.
The Tucson does feature quite a stiff suspension system which means you will feel the occasional bump and dip along the way. But on the plus side, the car is nicely planted with minimal body lean into corners.
Our test model was fitted with 19-inch alloy wheels and they seemed to suit the car perfectly. It felt well balanced and responded positively when being pushed hard through the country lanes.
The Tucson has something of a split personality. When driven with a little respect it displays all the great characteristics necessary in a family SUV. But, then when the mood takes you, the Tucson has an edgier side. If the gear changes are dragged out to maximise rev counts then the noise levels are accentuated along with the handling. In addition, the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine delivers all the power you could possibly want.
The road holding was nice and grippy, plus our car featured Hyundai’s Flex Steer power steering system that allows you to switch between Normal and Sport. With Normal selected little steering effort is required. But, in Sport mode, the wheel feels far heavier which is better suited to faster driving.
The Hyundai Tucson has had quite a makeover and the results are impressive. It now features the company’s instantly recognisable Cascading grille design and there are full LED headlights to help give the vehicle a high-tech image. There is an enhanced front bumper, skid plate and wheel design. Factor in new rear taillights, a redesigned bumper and tailpipe and it soon becomes clear that this is anything but a gentle freshen up.
Move inside and the interior is ultra-modern with a new dashboard design and layout. There is a nice combination of leather and textile trims and the focal point is the floating touchscreen which is positioned ergonomically to allow drivers to stay focused on the road ahead.
There is some top-quality kit on offer too with a Krell sound system, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a heated steering wheel plus full navigation via that really smart curved touchscreen.
The cabin is well insulated against outside noise, although the petrol engine does have quite a raspy note when the car is started. But it is all nice and calm when motorway cruising.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Getting a comfortable driving position is quick and simple inside the Tucson with ample seat adjustment along with full height and reach movement on the steering wheel. The front seats are powered and can be heated or ventilated.
The slightly elevated seating means the driver has an excellent view of the road ahead and generally the all-round visibility is good, apart from over the shoulder due to the wide B pillars. The seats are both comfortable and supportive and all the dials, controls and readouts are well positioned for ease of use.
Our range-topping Premium SE model was packed with kit, such as an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system with traffic messaging channel and live services, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a pitch-perfect Krell sound system with eight speakers and a subwoofer, Bluetooth, a wireless phone charging pad and plenty more besides.
The car has a really premium feel to it with lots of soft-touch surfaces, neat contrasting decals and leather trim. It’s also a bright and inviting cabin thanks to lots of rays flooding in through the large windows and panoramic sunroof, which tilts and slides.
And when it comes to parking the car, which measures 4.47 metres in length, there are is a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and a surround view monitor to make the task much simpler.
Space & Practicality
One of the first things that you notice when you take your seat inside the Tucson is how spacious the car feels. Up front there is loads of legroom and back seat passengers are treated to plenty of leg, head and shoulder space too. Three adults can fit in the back although it may feel a little too cosy. But it’s just perfect for three youngsters and the Isofix fixtures on the rear outer seats make it ideal for transporting child seats too. These seats in the back can also be heated which is a welcome treat in the winter.
Luggage limitations shouldn’t apply as the boot is generously sized with a capacity that ranges from 513 litres to 1,503 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
The tailgate is fully electric which is good news when approaching the car laden down with boxes. And there are plenty of handy storage compartments within the car, including an illuminated glove box with cooling function, bottle holders in the front centre console and doors, front and rear cupholders plus a sunglasses section.
In the boot, there is a luggage cover, along with hooks and a net to stop items rolling around.
The Tucson has a maximum braked towing weight limit of 1.9 tonnes and there is the option of AWD models for the slightly more adventurous.
The Tucson line-up starts from £22,060 for the entry-level S Connect model and rises to £34,970 for the Premium SE mild hybrid model with AWD and an automatic transmission. Our test car was priced at £29,970 and there were no added extras to bump up the cost.
When it comes to running costs, the 1.6-litre T-GDi powered car could deliver a combined fuel economy of 37.7mpg with carbon emissions of 168g/km. This CO2 figure would result in a fist year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £530 and then would drop down to the standard rate of £145 after the first 12 months.
We struggled to see anywhere close to the official fuel efficiency figures and averaged closer to 33.0mpg throughout the week.
The insurance rating for the test car is group 21.
Quality & Reliability
The Hyundai Tucson has a solid build quality with robust fixtures and fittings that should last the test of time.
The Korean company tends to perform well and score highly in reliability surveys and there are no clear indications that customers should experience any issues with the latest Tucson.
The inside has lots of wipe-clean surfaces and the upholstery is well put together so shouldn’t show any signs of deterioration. In fact, the completely new upper dashboard features top quality, soft-touch materials with double stitching that helps give the car a very upmarket appearance.
And for added peace of mind, Hyundai offers an excellent five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty on its cars. This includes five years of annual service checks along with Hyundai Roadside Assistance.
Safety & Security
When the Hyundai Tucson was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating, it was awarded the maximum five stars. And our range-topping Premium SE model was packed with safety kit and driver assistance aids to help prevent accidents happening in the first instance.
Safety features included lane keep assist, blind-spot detection, autonomous emergency braking, brake assist, downhill brake control, hill-start assist, high beam assist, rear cross traffic alert, trailer stability assist, vehicle stability management and a full suite of airbags.
The Tucson will often feature on family holidays and may be used for towing, so another safety system worth mentioning is the trailer stability assist to help prevent or reduce any swaying when pulling a trailer or caravan.
The Tucson has an immobiliser and alarm to keep uninvited attention at bay.