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Driven: Hyundai Tucson. Image by Hyundai.

Driven: Hyundai Tucson
Outmanoeuvred by newer, key rivals, but the Hyundai Tucson is still a great crossover.

   



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Hyundai Tucson

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Good points: Exterior styling, equipment level, refinement, powerful diesel engine

Not so good: Cabin a bit dull, not that much fun to drive, price in this specification

Key Facts

Model tested: Hyundai Tucson 2.0 CRDi Premium SE 4WD Auto
Price: Tucson range starts from 19,450; car as tested 33,715
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: all-wheel drive, six-speed automatic
Body style: five-door crossover/SUV
CO2 emissions: 170g/km (500 first 12 months, 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 43.5mpg
Top speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
Power: 185hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750- to 2,750rpm

Our view:

We won't go into massive detail on the Hyundai Tucson here, as it's a vehicle that's been around since 2015 and we've already driven it a few times in other guises. Most notably we spent a week in the company of a 1.7-litre CRDi manual front-wheel-drive model in early 2016 and ended up doing more than 1,100 miles in the thing over the course of seven days. We liked it then and we still like it now.

However, since it arrived, a few more competitors have arrived on the scene that are in danger of making the Tucson look a little outdated. Think Volkswagen Tiguan MkII. Think SEAT Ateca. Think, most of all, of the glorious Peugeot 3008, rightful winner of the 2017 European Car of the Year Award. So we felt it was right to revisit the Hyundai and see if it still merits its place towards the top of the table of mid-sized crossover/SUVs, or whether it has already been relegated to, er... the status of serving the leading cars their food and drink. Or something.

Moving swiftly on, we've gone to the very opposite end of the Tucson tree from our last experience, and we're in the all-singing, all-dancing 185hp 2.0-litre CRDi diesel model, equipped with an automatic gearbox, four-wheel drive and every conceivable toy going, because it's a flagship Premium SE model. It still looks great, especially on its 19-inch alloys, and it's up with the best-looking machines in the segment, such as the Ateca, 3008 and the Renault Kadjar. Or the fearsomely expensive top-spec Tiguan R-Line. Inside is not so impressive; there are all the luxuries, like heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof, and there's acres of space for five people with a big boot at the back. But in our car, all the door cards were finished with unremittingly grey materials and plastics. A bit like the SEAT, then, the Hyundai has a lovely exterior that's not quite matched by the interior design.

But we still love this Korean machine. Both it and its bigger brother, the Santa Fe, are among Hyundai's strongest products, challenging near the top of their respective classes. We'd still say the Ateca and the 3008 are ahead of the Tucson, although if you decided to go with the fully-laden Hyundai - due to its superb five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty - it would be a completely understandable decision.

Furthermore, while recommending a variant that's 14,265 more expensive than the entry-level car, we think this drivetrain and specification is hugely appealing. The 2.0-litre engine is so strong and smooth, working well with the six-speed auto to bestow decent pace on the Tucson. It's also a highly refined car, with a great ride, minimal wind and tyre noise, and a general feeling of solidity when holding a cruise on long journeys. It also has extremely comfortable seats and an ergonomic correctness, making trips over great distances easy on your constitution.

We'd perhaps say the fuel economy wasn't the greatest, certainly on paper, but actually this Tucson hit its mark: we saw 41.2mpg spread over another mammoth couple of sessions behind the Hyundai's heated steering wheel, culminating in 13 hours and 11 minutes of driving across 676 miles. On one motorway schlep to Farnborough, it even hit an average 43.6mpg - above its quoted combined economy and not far off the 45mpg we saw from a considerably less powerful, manual-equipped Ateca 4Drive in similar driving conditions. A 190hp Tiguan gave back 42mpg with us, but at a lower average speed of 43mph, compared to the Tucson's 51mph. So it's good on diesel.

Overall, the Hyundai Tucson doesn't quite have the star appeal of the concept car-esque 3008, nor the VW Group solidity of the Ateca, but it's still better than the vast majority of cars in the segment - including the original trendsetter, the Nissan Qashqai. We also prefer the Tucson to the closely-related Kia Sportage, which isn't quite as nice to look at on the outside. All of which means that the Hyundai doesn't have to be subservient to the masses, instead keeping its place at the prestigious crossover banquet.

Alternatives:

Nissan Qashqai: The Tucson vies for third place in this class with the Nissan, Renault Kadjar and Kia Sportage. The Qashqai is a strong all-rounder with a nice cabin, the Hyundai is smarter with stronger engines.
Peugeot 3008: The new class leader. Absolutely fabulous cabin is only the start of it, as it looks great, drives sweetly and is hugely refined. Can be a little pricey in upper specs but it's well worth the outlay.
SEAT Ateca: Had a brief reign as market leader, but the Pug surpassed the Spanish motor. However, there's a heck of a lot to like about the Ateca and very little to grumble about.


Matt Robinson - 23 Mar 2017



  www.hyundai.co.uk    - Hyundai road tests
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2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.

2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.2017 Hyundai Tucson drive. Image by Hyundai.








 

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