A name like Tucson conjures up images of rugged, desert conditions with maybe a cactus as the only sign of life on the horizon. You’ll be in for quite a surprise when you discover the reality is a pretty standard mid-sized SUV that has some outstanding points. Not quite wild west, more midwest midlands.
In a very crowded category of car, it’s inevitable there’s going to be a certain sameness to the way different models look. It seems like Hyundai has taken certain elements from many of its competitors to create a car that’s a little bland in the looks department.
There are elements of design taken from rivals like the Peugeot 3008, and the front grille could even pass for a Mercedes. It all adds up to a car that looks fine enough, while never standing out in the crowd for its appearance alone.
The front grille could even pass for a Mercedes.
What’s it like to drive?
It’s been said the Tucson is a car that’s been designed for passengers, rather than drivers. This is because the suspension and handling make it comfortable even when the road surface is less than perfect – and there isn’t that typical roll that some SUVs suffer when cornering.
This comes at the expense of just how enjoyable the car is to drive. The steering is light yet quite unresponsive, especially on motorways and other faster roads. The plus side to this lightness is that it makes parking much easier than in some SUVs.
It makes parking much easier than in some SUVs.
One of the first things you notice when you climb in the Tucson is that you’re not as high off the road as in some rivals. That’s because you’re relatively low in the bodywork. The seats themselves are some of the most comfortable in the mid-sized SUV category and on some of the higher spec models they aren’t just electrically heated, they’re air-conditioned too.
The instrument panel is clearly laid out with speedometer, rev counter and trip computer. There’s also a touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard that controls everything from maps to Bluetooth connectivity. It there’s one criticism of the set-up, it’s that the materials used in the car’s interior are all a little plastic and feel flimsy.
In terms of space, there’s plenty of legroom in the back. The fact the rear seats recline means that it’s even more comfortable. Given this is a car that’s going to appeal to families, the two Isofix anchor points for child seats in the back is a plus point. You can get your little cowboys and girls to the ranch safe and sound.
Higher spec models also come with twin-zone climate control as well as heated rear seats to get that balance of temperature just perfect.
When it comes to the carrying capacity of the Tucson, the verdict has to be “good enough”. It’s not the best in its class; it’s not the worst either.
What this means in practical terms is that it will take all the luggage you need for a week or two away with the family as well as big shops, golf bags and pushchairs – just not all at the same time. A couple of minus points include the wheel arches that take up valuable space and the fact the rear seats don’t fold down flat.
Inside the Tucson there’s a good range of cubby holes, storage spaces and cup holders. The one slight inconvenience is the bottle holder in the central console. Put too big a bottle in it and it’s going to interfere with changing gears.
Running costs and reliability
For the former, you can expect between 40.9 and 49.6 mpg. The latter shows only a small improvement at between 47.9 and 54.3 mpg. For petrol engines, the figure is between 34.9 and 37.2 mpg, so certainly nothing to write home about. Of all the engines available, it’s the 1.6-litre CRDi diesel that’s the pick of the bunch for its combination of power and economy.
There’s better news when it comes to maintenance costs and reliability. All Hyundai cars come with a five-year warranty, maybe not as good as Kia’s seven-year guarantee, but pretty reassuring all the same.
What we love
If comfort is what you’re mainly looking for in a mid-sized SUV then the Hyundai Tucson should do nicely. It may not be the most economical car in its class, or even the best-looking, but for ride quality and general passenger satisfaction, it’s pretty hard to beat.
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There are better mid-sized SUVs out there, and there are ones that cost less too. The Hyundai Tucson is always going to find fans who want problem-free motoring in a car that has a higher spec than many of its obvious rivals.
This review was