Make and model: Hyundai Tucson
Description: Medium-sized SUV/Crossover
Price range: £34,640 to £45,130 (plus options)
Hyundai says: “Since its launch, the Tucson has become Hyundai’s best-selling SUV with 7 million sales globally – including 1.4 million in Europe.”
We say: It’s easy to see why the Tucson is such a strong seller for Hyundai, this generation is a modern take on the highly competitive mid-size SUV.
First seen in 2004, the Tucson has now arrived in its fourth generation which was launched in 2020. It’s already been extremely popular with UK customers and it’s currently the fifth best selling car in 2023. The sixth best seller of the year is its rival the Kia Sportage, both are performing well in the midsize SUV segment thanks to attractive design and economical hybrid engines.
Hyundai has undergone some huge changes over the past few years. Its product lineup now includes some thoroughly futuristic EVs whilst its existing models have gained greener hybrid options and improved styling. The Tucson shows off this new era whilst appealing to customers that aren’t yet ready to get an EV.
As of July 2023, media reviews of the Hyundai Tucson have earned the car an Expert Rating of 75% on The Car Expert’s award-winning Expert Rating Index.
What is the Hyundai Tucson?
This midsize SUV sits just below the Santa Fe which is Hyundai’s large seven-seater. The Tucson only comes with five seats so it’s a slightly smaller vehicle but unless carrying seven people is a must, buyers will generally be looking at midsize SUVs.
This category of cars includes the likes of the Ford Kuga, Renault Austral and the Skoda Karoq. These are all super practical cars that are suitable for families or those looking for a bit more space and a higher ride height.
It’s not often an SUV is interesting to look at, they’re often functional vehicles where styling is less of a priority. Hyundai says this is its first SUV to be “developed according to the company’s ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ design identity.” This new direction seems to be working because the Tucson is definitely eye catching, especially in the flesh. The angular door design makes the car look dynamic even when it’s parked.
Inside, the layout is easy to get used to and the gear selectors are buttons on the centre console so there’s a flat surface between the driver and passenger. The climate control panel can be annoying to begin with as its sensitivity means buttons can be pressed accidentally whilst using the main touch screen. There’s also a lot of different functions on it so it can be hard to find buttons on the move.
We like: Attractive dynamic exterior styling
We don’t like: Oversensitive climate control screen
What do you get for your money?
Prices vary depending on which engine you go for but the range starts at around £30,000 and reaches in the region of £45,000 before options. Within this price bracket, there’s five trim options to choose from.
SE Connect is the entry level trim that costs between £30,000 to £35,000. It’s well equipped so it’s a good value pick, it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, lane keep assist, 17-inch alloy wheels, reversing camera and rear parking sensors. The next trim level Premium adds blind spot collision warning, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, wireless phone charging, keyless entry and 19-inch alloy wheels.
N Line gets special styling packages including leather and suede seats and on the tech front adds lane follow assist. N Line S comes next and adds a panoramic sunroof, smart electric tailgate and blind spot collision avoidance assist. At the very top of the range is Ultimate which has three zone climate control, heated outer rear seats and ventilated front seats.
In terms of equipment and value for money, we’d pick Premium trim for around £37,000. The Tucson was tested by Euro NCAP and achieved a five star safety rating, the area it scored lowest in was protecting vulnerable road users, in particular pedestrians but it had a very high score for protecting adult and child occupants.
The Hyundai Tucson comes with a five year unlimited mileage warranty.
We like: Well equipped from entry level
We don’t like: Range-topping trims are very similar
What’s the Hyundai Tucson like inside?
The interior design is made up of clean lines and good quality feeling materials. There’s quite a lot of buttons, including buttons to select gears and the central touch screen has some shortcut buttons beneath to jump to music or navigation. Climate control is operated via a small screen with buttons integrated into a flat panel, these can be quite easy to accidentally press whilst trying to operate the main screen. The piano black finish looks sleek but to keep it free of fingerprint smudges it needs to be regularly cleaned.
There’s lots of handy storage compartments, including two cubbies beneath the centre console, ideal for sunglasses. In the back, there’s a fold out cup holder when no one is sitting in the central seat and there’s a decent amount of head and leg room. All the back seats fold down individually and the outer seats have release levers that are accessible at the base of the chairs. The boot is a great size and has a 12V connector which is especially useful for avid campers.
We like: Functional storage spaces throughout
We don’t like: Piano black finish gets grubby quickly
What’s under the bonnet?
Just like the trim options, there’s five different engines to choose from. A 1.6-litre petrol, a 1.6-litre mild hybrid with either 148bhp, 178bhp and four wheel drive or 227bhp. At the top end there’s also a plug-in hybrid with 261bhp.
The mild hybrids are a good choice for those looking for something that will be economical but doesn’t require plugging in. The most fuel efficient version is the plug-in hybrid but it needs to be plugged in regularly to realise the fuel savings. At a 7kW charging box it should top up in one hour and 40 minutes. This version is also the best on carbon emissions so company car users will want to consider the plug-in. Its official electric-only range is 38 miles.
For towing, the mild hybrids will provide greater flexibility as they can tow a braked trailer up to 1650kg, whilst the plug-in can tow up to 1350kg. All versions also have roof rails that will take up to 100kg.
What’s the Hyundai Tucson like to drive?
It’s very easy to get used to driving the Tucson, the hybrid engines make taking off or crawling through traffic quiet and relaxed. When the engine kicks in it can be a little noisy until it’s warmed up. The steering is light but delivers a good amount of feedback from the road so it’s never an arm workout to manoeuvre the car. It feels like it has quite a tight turning circle so it’s not cumbersome in a carpark.
The high ride height makes it feel authoritative on the road and all round visibility is quite good. Electric power means when you need a little boost to get up to speed it doesn’t hang about but it can take a second to think about it. The lane keeping assist is useful on the motorway but sometimes on country lanes it can be a bit annoying, jumping in when you don’t need it to. Regardless of how you drive, fuel economy is good and it’s a comfortable car for long journeys.
We like: Good manoeuvrability
We don’t like: Engine can be a bit noisy
The Tucson is an incredibly attractive SUV that delivers plentiful tech and a smooth driving experience. Inside, the centre console looks modern but the glossy black finish can get dirty very quickly. It’s an accessible car for those with children and there’s loads of storage room.
The midsize SUV segment is one saturated with choices from every manufacturer so the Tucson’s exterior styling makes it stand out from the crowd. It sits at a reasonable price point and those looking for extra luxury can opt for higher trim levels without breaking the bank. If you’re on the lookout for an SUV, the Tucson is well worth considering.
If you’re looking at the Hyundai Tucson, you might also be interested in these alternatives.
Citroën C5 Aircross | Ford Kuga | Honda CR-V | Jeep Compass | Kia Sportage | Mazda CX-5 | MG HS | Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross | Nissan Qashqai | Peugeot 3008 | Renault Kadjar | SEAT Ateca | Skoda Karoq | SsangYong Korando | Subaru XV | Suzuki S-Cross | Toyota C-HR | Vauxhall Grandland X | Volkswagen Tiguan
Model tested: Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
Price as tested: £37,505
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol hybrid
Gearbox: Six-speed automatic
Power: 227 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
Top speed: 120 mph
0-62 mph: 8.0 seconds
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