Hyundai Tucson review

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With 7 millions sales globally the Tucson is Hyundai’s best selling SUV so no pressure on the new model eh! So can Hyundai take the fourth generation Tucson to the next level? Yes! The best selling SUV in Ireland now has styling, driving dynamics and an interior to match its popularity. Available in diesel, petrol/hybrid form we’ve been testing the drastically improved new Tucson this week.

The Hyundai Tucson is a much loved family car in Ireland. Its sales success up to now has been attributed to its dealer network and competitive pricing, while its average looks, performance and dynamics are seldom mentioned. The new Tucson tackles any shortcomings and now needs no excuses for its success – the new Tucson is simply a very good machine. ‘Comfort Plus’ is the entry grade followed by ‘Executive’ and then ‘Executive Plus’ that gets all the toys. A two-tone (roof) paint option is available on all grades also – bar the entry grade.

A new and quite dramatic front grille catches the eye and features very cool integrated lights. When the car is switched off the lights seem to disappear. Lights on and the Tucson has a unique presence. The rear gets nice lights too with a full width lightbar graphic. The bodywork has more creases than you can shake a stick at help and according to its design team gives the Tucson its ‘Hyundai look’, with Bertone-like styling mentioned as an influence. Some might see a bit of Toyota RAV4 styling influence also. The rear end of Tucson is particularly well executed to my eyes with a handsome, sophisticated and chunky design. The new Tucson is larger than before yet retains the same height (1650mm) and ground clearance (170mm) as the outgoing model. Tucson is now wider (+15mm) and longer (+20mm) too, at 4500mm. The wheelbase is slightly longer too at 2680mm. The boot grows in capacity also to an impressive 616 litres. For reference Volkswagen’s big selling Tiguan is lower (-15mm), wider (+26mm) and 9mm shorter in length.

The new Tucson’s interior is premium in both feel and finish. The cabin seats five and is airy with great space for the class. Up front you can really sense the cabin’s impressive width. There is 26mm of additional legroom in the rear, making it a good five seater. The new dashboard layout is striking although oddly is set very low for an SUV – but this adds to the sense of airy cabin space. With my driver’s seat at its lowest I still felt like I was looking down on the dash. Tucson’s new dashboard design features some nice depth, layering and materials that instil a premium class feel. Our top grade test car featured two 10.25 inch digital displays for the driver and centre dash. Our Hybrid test car lacked a gear selector lever, instead it featured gear selection buttons on centre console. The console also housed a toggle switch to let you select the driving mode ‘eco’ or ‘sport’ – eco is the default.

The centre touchscreen display allows access to a myriad of secondary controls. Hyundai’s ‘Bluelink®’ app on the Executive Plus grade only has loads of connected functions. Voice activation, remote parking, two phone simultaneous connection are other highlights. One party trick we enjoyed in our test car was the ability to select anyone of a number of ambient sound effects that can be played through the sound system e.g. a street cafe, rain forest or even an open fire much like the one in a Tesla. Hyundai also has a new digital key option with Tucson that works with android phones. Hyundai’s Tucson is safe too. ‘SmartSense’ is a suite of the latest assistance systems to help keep the Tucson and its occupants safe.

Boot space is 616 litres, and with the rear seats down there’s up to 1,799 litres of cargo space.

Ireland and Europe gets the standard wheelbase Tucson but other markets like Asia, North America, Africa and Russia also offer a long wheel base version. Globally the Tucson has 12 different engine options including a plug in hybrid (PHEV) with 265hp. Front wheel drive and all wheel drive versions are also available. The Irish market features specific power trains to suit pricing and buying trends. As I write only 2WD versions are on sale in Ireland – an all wheel drive option is coming in July (Hyundai’s ‘HTRAC’ multi-mode all wheel drive system looks impressive). The 1.6 litre CRDi diesel produces 115hp and has with a manual gearbox. The only petrol option for now is the Hybrid (HEV) automatic. The diesel is a few grand cheaper than hybrid, and is proving to be the 2 to 1 preferred choice of Ireland’s Tucson buyers (according to Jan 2021 figures). Our 8-speed automatic hybrid test car features a turbocharged, four cylinder ‘Smartstream’ 1.6 litre GDi petrol engine and a 60hp electric motor that gets its power from a 1.49kWh battery. The hybrid’s combined power output is a very impressive 230hp & 265nm. 0-100km/h takes 8 seconds and its emissions are a quoted 130gCO2/km. Average WLTP fuel consumption is quoted at between 5.5-5.9 l/100km. During our test we averaged higher consumption than that but a gentle foot should deliver reasonable consumption. A sporty performance ‘N Line’ Tucson is also being built.

On the road the front wheel drive hybrid has loads of power available although you can lose traction when moving off if the conditions are damp. Power deliver is very smooth and in normal use the power train is refreshingly quiet too. Our test car’s suspension (on 19 inch alloys) was on the nice side of firm and cornered well. The car’s chassis is composed and had a premium feel. The large leather steering wheel of our top grade car was tactile with little hint of any harshness or vibration from the road through it. The steering sensation has a self-centering feel and is very well damped. There is a lack driving ‘feel’ that more enthusiastic drivers like, but this is seldom desired in this class. Overall the Tucson goes where you point it with ease.

So should we be surprised by how good Hyundai’s new Tucson is? No. Hyundai has for many years recruited some of the top people from BMW and other European car makers (like ex BMW M Division chief Albert Biermann) to assist in its car’s design, engineering and development – and with the new Tucson it really shows! Pricing starts from €32,845. Our Tucson 2WD Executive Plus with two tone roof costs €42,095. This year Hyundai Ireland expect to sell 5,000 Tucsons. The new Hyundai Tucson is a guaranteed hit.

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year. Michael is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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