The Hyundai Tucson looks sharp, is hugely practical and comfortable to drive, but it’s let down by a disappointing interior and a noisy basic diesel engine
The Hyundai Tucson is a stylish-looking family SUV with a huge boot and plenty of space for your passengers, and it has a range of reasonably efficient petrol and diesel engines.
On the outside the Tucson looks more upmarket than most practical family SUVs – from a distance you could be forgiven for thinking it’s an Audi, thanks to that angular grille and sharp headlights. Unfortunately, it’s a very different story inside. The Tucson’s bland cabin features some disappointingly cheap-feeling plastics and drab-looking trim pieces.
A few high-tech touches help make sure it doesn’t feel too last-century – even entry-level S models get a DAB digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity – but you’ll have to pick a mid-range SE Nav model if you want a slick touchscreen infotainment system with built-in satellite navigation. Cruise control comes fitted to all but entry-level models, as do rear parking sensors.
All but the most basic S models come with electric lumbar adjustment for the driver – to help prevent back-ache on long journeys – and two heated front seats as standard so you’ll have no trouble getting comfortable. Unfortunately, only Sports Edition versions and above come with seat height adjustment for the passenger.
Your back-seat passengers get plenty of room in a Tucson – even three six-foot-tall adults will have enough room to stretch out. The footwells are roomy, there’s plenty of knee and headroom and the rear seats recline as standard on all models. The wide rear door openings make it easy to fit a child seat too.
Meanwhile the roomy 513-litre boot can easily carry a baby stroller and a couple of soft bags. Fold the rear seats flat in a 60:40 split and you can easily carry a bike in the 1,503-litre loadbay. The full-size spare wheel fitted to all but basic S models means you can’t adjust the boot floor height or store the load cover underneath, but it saves faffing at the side of the road with a puncture repair kit.
The Hyundai Tucson is a car you can buy with your head and your heart – it’s stylish, practical and perfect for families
You can get the Tucson with a choice of three diesel engines and a single petrol option. If you do most of your driving around town, pick the 1.6-litre petrol model – it’s smooth and returns a claimed 44.8mpg. If you spend more time cruising on motorways, choose a 1.7-litre diesel instead. It’s powerful enough to keep up with fast-moving traffic and it’ll return around 46mpg.
Need to tow a trailer? Two 2.0-litre diesel models are available with 136hp and 185hp. Both come with the option of a smooth automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. Neither can match the 1.7-litre model for efficiency but the four-wheel drive’s extra grip could prove useful if you live somewhere that regularly suffers harsh winter weather.
The Tucson received an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2015, making it a safe and secure family car – even if the testing procedures have been made stricter in recent years. For a little extra peace of mind, high-spec Premium and Premium SE models come with automatic emergency city braking as standard.
The Tucson might not be the most entertaining SUV to drive but it looks sharp, won’t cost the earth to run and boasts a more practical cabin than either the Kia Sportage or the ever-popular Nissan Qashqai – watch an in-depth comparison between the three in our group test video.