Hyundai Tucson


There’s a list on my desk, of cars I’m trying book from various manufacturer’s press fleets, for review purposes over the coming months. My scribblings run to nine cars currently -no doubt I’ll add more - and with the exception of one electric city car and one slinky supercar (I’m a sucker for both), everything else I’ve written down, from Bentaygas to Qashqais, is SUV shaped.

    It’s perhaps just a small indication of how we as car buyers have become so smitten with the so-called Sports Utility Vehicle – despite most of them being neither sporty, or these days, particularly utilitarian either. In most cases, an estate car will perform the family duties far better than any hatchback on higher suspension; nevertheless, a loftier driving positon seems to tempt us time, and time again. I for one should know. A Skoda Yeti now occupies the garage that once used to house what became a series of Volkswagen Golfs.

     It’s into this most demanding and fickle marketplace that Hyundai have launched their fourth generation Tucson, a car - sorry, an SUV – that they hope will tempt buyers away from the likes of Skoda’s Karoq, SEAT’s similar Ateca, Toyota’s C-HR, sister-brand Kia’s Sportage (soon to be replaced) and Nissan’s ubiquitous Qashqai. Hyundai are also pitching their new Tucson towards prospective buyers of the Volvo XC40, Audi and BMW’s respective smaller Q and X offerings, and possibly even Range Rover Evoques. Hyundai are going premium – or at least, they’re trying to.

      You might well still consider Hyundai a more budget-biased brand – many an I-10 was purchased during the government’s scrappage scheme – however, the base price for a Tucson now trumps that of a both a Kuga, and the Tiguan. To be fair though, you do get a significant amount of kit as standard in the Tucson, the kind of which you’d probably only find on a options list in both a Ford and a Volkswagen showroom. All Tucsons get dual-zone air-con, cruise control, a rear camera, and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen with sat-nav and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. Plump for the sportier N-Line variant and you’ll get 19 inch alloys, sports seats, twin tail pipes, and more aggressively styled front and rear bumpers.

     Not that you’ll be left wanting when it comes to the Tucson’s styling that is. In a market sector that seems to play things all-very safe, the Tucson’s body cuts a welcome dash. Its heavily creased flanks may remind some of those of Toyota’s C-HR, there’s more than a hint of Peugeot 3008 in its rear lights, and aren’t those squared-off rear wheel arches all a bit RAV 4? On the other hand, is it Lamborghini Urus?  I’m sure I’ve seen that chrome strip on the rear pillar somewhere before too. Nevertheless, as I was saying, the Tucson stands out from the crowd, and I personally think the way the they’ve integrated the day-time running lights and front indicators into the grille is a work of genius.

   Behind that grille, there is only one engine choice, a 1,598cc, turbo-charged, 4-pot petrol, but it’s available in various states of tune. There’s a petrol-only version with 150 bhp, a mild hybrid with either 150 or 180 bhp – available with either an automatic or manual gearbox and two, or four-wheel drive – and then there’s the car Hyundai lent me, a 230bhp automatic that uses the same 1.6 litre petrol engine that’s works in unison with a 48V electric motor.

     At slow speeds, the Hybrid Tucson runs on the electric motor alone – and it’s very smooth and quiet. Push a little harder and the engine joins in. There’s more than sufficient performance for day-to-day driving duties (0-62 takes 8 seconds) and there’s even a Sport Mode – albeit, in a car such as this, largely superfluous. Like the majority of SUVs the Tucson feels at its best when it’s not being hustled along. The ride is little bit firmer than you might have expected and the gearbox can come over all flustered if you’re continually asking it to kick-down to overtake slower moving traffic. The steering is a bit light and lacking in feel too.

    Relax a little, and the Tucson will thank you for it. It’s comfy, it will seat five at slight push, the boot is a good size – the load cover stores nicely under the floor – and there’s plenty of tech and charging points to keep everyone happy. “My” Tucson even had heated rear seats. I particularly like the way the digital dash displayed an image of the respective inside rear wheel and blind spot whenever I indicated too – nice touch that.

      Since it launched in 2004 Hyundai have sold over 7 million Tucsons, 1.4 million of those being in Europe. The Tucson is their best-selling SUV, and with its bold styling, and its unashamedly bold ambition, the new Tucson has everything it needs to become another hit. But, it’s pricey, and in certain circles it wears the wrong badge. Only time will tell if Hyundai have done enough to make the new Tucson not just another SUV on what is fast becoming an ever-growing list.




Hyundai Tucson Ultimate 1.6 T-GDi 230ps Hybrid (with Tech Pack)

Engine: 1,598cc, 4Cyl, 16V DOHC petrol

Transmission: 6-speed. Automatic with manual mode. Front-wheel Drive

Power: 227 bhp @ 5,500 rpm

Torque: 196 lbft @ 1,500 – 4,000 rpm

0-62mph: 8.0 sec

Max Speed: 125 mph (limited)

MPG: 49.6 (combined).

CO2: 131 g/km

Price: From £37,400 OTR


Many thanks to Natasha and Robin at Hyundai’s UK press office for the loan of the Tucson.




Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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