There are three diesel and two petrol engines to choose from, with the majority of buyers expected to opt for a diesel.
There’s an entry-level 114bhp 1.6-litre diesel unit, followed by a 134bhp version of the same engine, which has a 0-62mph time that’s around half a second quicker than its less powerful sibling (but it’s no quicker if you opt for an automatic gearbox).
Above those, there’s a 182bhp 2.0-litre engine, which is actually classed as a mild hybrid because it is paired with a small 48V lithium ion battery, and it’s the only one we’ve driven so far in the facelifted Tucson. It’s the quickest diesel engine on offer and provides decent performance that feels quick around town and strong enough for regular motorway use, with a useful amount of low-end shove to help with towing.
As for the petrols, you’re likely to have to thrash the 1.6-litre naturally aspirated unit quite hard to make quick progress. There’s also a 1.6-litre turbocharged unit with a lot more power and is the quickest engine in the line-up. We have yet to drive either of these, though.
Relatively stiff suspension keeps the Tucson’s body neatly tied down over dips and crests, so your passengers aren’t likely to feel nauseous along undulating country roads. However, the trade-off is a fairly firm ride at low speeds; the Tucson is less forgiving over sharp-edged bumps than, say, a Nissan Qashqai and fidgets around a bit too much, whatever your speed.
You can choose from a variety of alloy wheel sizes. The biggest 19in wheels lead to an even rougher ride on poorly surfaced roads, though, so are best avoided.
The Tucson doesn't roll much through corners – certainly less than a Qashqai – and there's plenty of grip, even in poor weather conditions. There's little in the way of fun to be had, though, in part due to the steering's slightly vague feel around the straight-ahead position and a shortage of feedback from the front wheels.
The steering is light enough to make parking a breeze, however, and weights up enough on the motorway to prevent the Tucson from feeling nervous or twitchy. If you go for the 2.0 diesel model, the handling doesn’t feel quite so sharp, because the extra weight of the hybrid system makes the Tucson feel slightly more laboured in its cornering ability, even though it’s quicker in outright acceleration than the other diesels. We suspect the lesser-powered engines will prove marginally better dynamically.
We’ve driven only the 2.0 diesel so far in the latest Tucson and it’s nicely hushed at idle and when cruising; however, it does sound very coarse when accelerating and there’s a bit of vibration felt through the steering wheel and pedals.
The Tucson’s manual gearbox is light and fairly precise, if a little notchy, while the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic – offered only with the 1.6 T-GDi – shifts quickly but can hang onto gears for too long.
You can now get an eight-speed automatic gearbox with the 2.0 diesel that is smooth and slick. That engine also offers an exceptionally smooth stop-start system – a benefit of mild hybrid technology – but the brake pedal, which uses energy from braking to recharge the battery, has a very spongy feel and grabby effect, meaning smooth stops are difficult to judge.
It's easy to get comfortable in the Tucson. There’s a wide range of seat adjustment and the steering column moves for both height and reach, so it's not hard to find your optimum driving position. The seats are soft yet just about supportive enough to avoid inducing backache on longer trips, so few should have any gripes.
Driver's seat height adjustment is standard across the range, as is a front armrest. If you move up to SE Nav trim, you get electric lumbar adjustment as standard for the driver, too, that further improves comfort. Boosting the Tucson's ease of use are its sensibly placed and easily interpreted controls.
Forward visibility is decent by class standards. Your view out of the side windows is generally good, too, although the front pillars can obscure your view at junctions. In the rear, the rising window line means shorter rear passengers don’t enjoy a great view.
Entry-level S Connect versions get a reversing camera as standard, while SE Nav comes with rear parking sensors and Premium adds front parking sensors to that. If you splash out on a top-spec Premium SE model, you'll also get a parking assistance system that aids parallel and bay parking.
Even entry-level S Connect trim gets a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, a USB socket and a DAB radio, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. This prevents the cheapest versions of the Tucson from feeling too basic.
We’ve only tried the bigger 8.0in touchscreen that you get with SE Nav models or above. It's quick to respond to presses and easy to use. Wheel-mounted audio and phone controls are standard across the range.
The Tucson is solidly and precisely built, but its interior is let down by the presence of too many hard and unappealing materials.
The dashboard, for example, is mostly made of solid, unyielding grey plastic. Lots of plastics lower down in the interior are easily marked, too – this isn't ideal for those intending to use the car as a family vehicle.
Higher-spec versions look and feel more upmarket inside, but rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca are still much classier.
There's plenty of room in the front of the Tucson, so even taller occupants shouldn't feel at all cramped. There's a lot of leg room and the tall roofline offers plenty of head room, too.
Numerous storage points, including a large cubbyhole in front of the gearlever and two cupholders, mean you won't struggle to stow everything you need. All models also benefit from a cooled glove compartment that's ideal for storing snacks or drinks.
Three adults can just about fit comfortably in the back; there's plenty of leg, head and shoulder room, even with taller people in front. The central passenger will have to rest their feet on top of the central tunnel, but it's at least wide and flat so shouldn't prove too uncomfortable. Versions with a panoramic glass roof have less head room but still feel roomy.
A rear armrest with integrated cupholders is standard, as are three headrests and reclining rear seatbacks, all of which helps to increase comfort. There are also small door bins and cargo nets on the back of the rear seats.
There’s a decent range of seating flexibility, making the Tucson a good choice for those looking to carry lots of passengers or luggage. The standard rear seats split and fold in a 60/40 configuration via an easily accessed lever just inside the door at the base of the seats.
You don’t have to remove the headrests, either, to fold the rear seats down and the end result is an almost flat boot floor. The seats are quite weighty, though, so some might struggle to put them back up.
Other useful features include reclining rear seats that are standard across the range.
The Tucson has a big boot that's easy to access. The rear wheel arches do intrude a little into the space and restrict the boot's width, but there’s a long, square load area. In total, the car offers more than you'll find in a Nissan Qashqai and very similar to what you get in a Seat Ateca, but there’s more boot space in a Skoda Karoq.
There are some practical touches, too, including fold-out bag hooks, tethering points and a multi-position load bay cover. Top-spec Premium SE models get a powered tailgate, which should help when you're laden with shopping.
The Tucson is priced broadly in line with its biggest rivals, the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca, and is predicted to hold its value similarly well. That’s in part due to its long warranty and sensible running costs.
The 1.6 diesel offers the lowest running costs, particularly if you're going to be doing lots of miles. However, it’s not particularly frugal compared with equivalent versions of the Qashqai and Ateca, and relatively high CO2 emissions make the Tucson a pricier company car than its rivals. The more powerful four-wheel-drive diesel models pump out even more CO2.
If you’re buying on finance, it’s also worth noting that the Ateca and Qashqai are usually available with lower monthly repayments.
Buyers can pick from four trims: S Connect, SE Nav, Premium and Premium SE. Even the entry-level version comes with a decent amount of kit, including a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system, air-con and a reversing camera. Since it covers all the basics, we reckon it’s the best-value trim in the line-up.
If you want more luxuries, SE Nav offers sat-nav, cruise control, rear parking sensors and heated front seats. The two Premium trims feature some even neater toys, such as heated rear seats and front parking sensors, but they’re too pricey to recommend.
Hyundai performed well in our most recent reliability survey, finishing seventh out of 32 manufacturers. The Tucson also performed well, ranking fifth out of 13 in the family SUV class for cars of all ages.
A five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty is standard and should help quell any concerns. Every Tucson comes with five years’ roadside assistance and complimentary vehicle health checks. This, in conjunction with the warranty, is a far better deal than that offered by many rivals, most of whom only supply three-year, 60,000-mile warranties.
Every Tucson gets a good level of safety kit, including six airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, trailer sway assist, hill start assist, lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking. Blindspot monitoring only comes with the two Premium trims, though.
A five-star result from Euro NCAP is further evidence that the Tucson should keep you safe from harm; it’s slightly worse at protecting adult occupants and pedestrians in crashes than the Qashqai, but better at protecting child occupants.
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