The Tucson’s a comfortable family cruiser with a range of fairly efficient diesel engines, but don’t expect the driving experience to set your world alight
The Tucson’s available with a selection of petrol and diesel engines fitted with either a manual, a traditional automatic or a quick-shifting twin-clutch automatic gearbox. Both two and four-wheel drive models are available in SE Nav trim and above.
Entry-level S and SE models are offered with a 1.6-litre petrol engine that’ll be your best bet if you spend a lot of time driving around town. It’s quieter and smoother than the larger diesel engines and Hyundai claims it’ll return 44.8mpg but you can expect to see a real-world figure in the mid thirties.
If you regularly travel long distances, pick the 1.7-litre diesel version. It’s not the most powerful model on offer but it’ll happily cruise at motorway speeds and, in the real world, returns around 46mpg. It does grumble slightly when you accelerate hard but it quickly settles down to a quiet hum when you’re cruising.
The Tucson’s more comfortable than the Kia Sportage, but can’t match the Nissan Qashqai’s excellent ride
If you want the option of four-wheel drive or plan on towing anything then one of the 2.0-litre diesels will be more suitable. The most powerful version – a 185hp model that’ll return a claimed 54.3mpg – comes fitted exclusively with four-wheel drive while a more efficient 136hp model – that’ll return a claimed 58.9mpg – offers four-wheel drive as an option. These 4×4 models can tow up to 2,200kgs compared to the 1,400kg a basic petrol manages.
The 1.7-litre diesel can be fitted with a quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic gearbox while 2.0-litre models can be had with a conventional auto. Both help take the stress out of long journeys and heavy traffic but they can’t quite match the fuel economy of their manual counterparts. Expect to see a dip of between four and 11mpg across the range if you pick an automatic ‘box.
The Hyundai Tucson shares many components with the Sportage but it’s more comfortable to drive. It irons out bumps slightly better than its Kia cousin but doesn’t lean excessively or wallow on winding roads. It can’t quite match the class-leading comfort offered by the Nissan Qashqai, however.
Its light steering and pedals help make the Tucson a breeze to drive around town while its high driving position gives you a good view of the road ahead. Unfortunately, the thick pillar between the windscreen and the door creates a significant blind spot – most noticeably at junctions and around tight corners.
The large side windows make it easy to glance over your shoulder to check for traffic before changing lanes on a motorway but the small rear windscreen makes parking a little tricky. Thankfully, all but entry-level S models come with rear parking sensors as standard while top-spec Premium SE versions even come with an automatic parking feature that’ll help steer you into and out of tight parallel and bay parking spaces.
The Tucson isn’t exactly noisy on the move but you’ll hear a slight whistle from the door mirrors and a drone from the tyres at motorway speeds. Neither are particularly distracting – especially with the radio on.
The Tucson achieved a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP 2015. The testing regime has been made significantly stricter since then, but this rating still makes the Tucson an impressively safe family car – especially in high-spec Premium and Premium SE guises thanks to their standard automatic emergency city braking feature.