TEST DRIVE | New Hyundai Tucson
Hyundai’s new Tucson is the latest in a long line of contenders to go up against the Nissan Qashqai – the undisputed leader in the crossover SUV sector.
The Tucson shares many characteristics from the well-established Kia Sportage platform, a fairly good car by all standards, so things already look promising. It also comes with a 5 year, unlimited mileage warranty as well as roadside assistance to further tempt.
Starting with the exterior, there’s no way of getting around the fact that this is a big car. It’s tall and chunky but the large headlights and wheel arches mean that it’s easy on the eye and everything looks in proportion. It almost looks like a real off-roader. The correct wheels for this car are definitely these fancy 19″ diamond cut alloys. If they start to corrode, and they probably will within 12 months because they’re diamond cut, then fear not as they are covered under the robust warranty. Just don’t scuff them!
Open the door and jump up into the car and you are greeted by possibly the most pointless and irritating thing I’ve encountered on any car ever – a welcome tune which sounds like a polyphonic ringtone from a Nokia I had at the turn of this millennium. Completely unnecessary but thankfully it can be turned off.
The quality of some of the interior materials is somewhat questionable but one can’t complain too much on a car which starts at £18,995. But when you climb up the Tucson range to reach almost £33,000 and into German territory, these materials become less welcome in my opinion. The layout of the interior can’t be faulted though, the Tucson intuitive and straightforward with most the controls being where you expect them to be and easy to reach except for the heating/ventilation controls which are a little low down.
This particular model is the 2.0-litre CRDi version in Premium trim with four-wheel-drive, which costs £28,425. The Premium includes dual-zone climate control, satnav with a vibrant 8″ display, DAB radio, cruise control, heated seats all round, traffic sign recognition and automatic emergency braking as well as blind spot and lane departure waning systems. On an Audi Q5 or BMW X3 you will be paying many hundreds of pounds for these options.
There are four other trim levels to choose from: S, SE, SE Nav and Premium SE. The entry level spec equips the Tucson with air con, LED day running lights, automatic lights and wipers, and heated door mirrors. Like Kia, Hyundai doesn’t offer optional extras as such, instead you select your desired trim level and certain ‘options’ are included as you climb up the range to the Premium SE which features some tasty spec including full LED headlights, ventilated front seats, big panoramic roof and self-parking system.
As you might expect, piloting the Tucson is nothing spectacular. I wasn’t expecting it to corner like a Caterham or ride like a Rolls-Royce of course but it handles quite admirably and the all-wheel drive grips well. It neither crashes into bumps nor rolls over round corners and the steering is fairly light but still lifeless. The wide windscreen helps to reduce blind spots and this 2.0-litre diesel has ample power for overtaking and the brakes are excellent too. It’s safe to say it would be an ideal tow car for big caravans.
The Tucson may not be breaking any ground as far as family SUVs go but it is batting in the same league as the Nissan Qashqai. It’s also cheaper and better equipped as standard than the Qashqai.