Road test: Hyundai Tucson
WE SAY: A class leader thanks to great interior space, ride comfort and kit levels.
What is it?
The Tucson (pron. Toose-on) is the replacement for the ix35 and sits in the mid-size crossover segment competing with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai.
How safe is it?
There’s no Euro NCAP score yet, but high-spec Tucsons are loaded with safety kit. SE and above have lane keeping assist and Premium models include autonomous braking.
Who should buy one?
The Tucson has a very broad appeal working as both a roomy and practical everyday family car, an economic business car and (in 4×4 form) a decent off-roader.
Road test by Tristan Young published 21 November 2015
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
We drove almost the full range of engines in the Hyundai Tucson and all versions are remarkably accomplished on the road. For starters, you sit high enough to give a good view of the road ahead. The combination of comfortable seats and compliant suspension, yet a welcome lack of body roll when cornering, means that the car is both fun and rewarding on a twisty B-road and also refined and comfortable on the motorway – something few rival cars seem to judge as well as the Tucson.
The only weak point in the driving experience is the lack of feedback to the driver from the steering wheel, even though the steering accuracy is easy to judge.
Almost all the engines are refined, further helping longer journey comfort. They also offer good overtaking ability. Again, there is one exception, the 116PS (114bhp) 1.7-litre CRDi diesel which is lacking in shove. As a result it has to be worked harder to give better performance. At the same time, working it harder means more engine noise. If you choose not to change down a gear to compensate for the lack of urgency, the 1.7 diesel will struggle on motorway inclines when fully loaded.
We would avoid the 1.7 CRDi in favour of the 2.0 CRDi, which delivers 136PS (134bhp) or 185PS (182bhp) depending on the state of tune.
While most Tucsons will be sold as front-drive cars, there is also a four-wheel drive option for most engines except the least powerful petrol and diesel models. For those that tow or need four-wheel drive, these versions are also remarkably capable and confident in slippery conditions, even on standard road tyres.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Hyundai claims the Tucson has ‘best-in-class’ properties when it comes to interior space, and both on paper and in use, it certainly looks it. The amount of rear legroom, even with a 6’ 2” driver, is impressive. Adults could be comfortably accommodated for longer journey both in terms of legroom and headroom in the back seats.
Rear seat passengers also have their own air vents and the Premium models come with heated rear seats. Heated front seats are standard on all but the entry model.
The boot is also huge. Hyundai claims there’s 513 litres of space in the back, although this drops to 488 litres if buyers opt for a proper spare tyre. As a comparison, the segment best seller, the Nissan Qashqai, has a 430-litre boot.
Drop the back seats for more luggage space and the boot volume increases to 1,503 litres (or 1,478 litres with a spare wheel). That’s not far short of the capacity of some estate cars.
The list of standard safety kit across the range is long. All cars have six airbags, an active bonnet that pops up slightly in the event of a pedestrian collision to reduce head injuries, hill start assist and a front airbag deactivation switch. However, only the two outer rear seats have Isofix points. The SE trim level adds lane keeping as standard and the two Premium trim levels gain autonomous emergency braking.
From SE up, the standard kit list includes goodies such as two-zone climate control, auto headlights, front fog lights, cruise control with speed limiter, powered folding door mirrors, full-size spare alloy wheel, rear parking sensors, USB and Aux connections and a trip computer. Hyundai expects the SE Nav – which adds an 8-inch colour TomTom – to be the best seller. With all this equipment, it’s easy to see why.
Running costs for the Tucson are some of the lowest in the class, thanks to great residual values, good official fuel figures – which see the 1.7-litre diesel return 61.7mpg – and the five-year, unlimited mileage warranty which means most buyers will only experience standard servicing costs at their garage. Even the four-wheel drive 185PS 2.0-litre diesel manual still returns 47.9mpg on the official combined cycle.
WE SAY A class leader thanks to great interior space, ride comfort and kit levels.
AT A GLANCE:
Price: £22,795 as tested
Performance: 0-62mph in 13.7 seconds
Economy: 61.7mpg combined
Insurance: Group 16E
Tax: Band A (£0 first year, then £30)
Figures for the Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDi 116PS SE Nav manual