Hyundai Tucson (2015-2017) review
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
What's not so good
Hyundai Tucson (2015-2017): what would you like to read next?
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.
The Tucson’s a great family car – the cabin fits five adults and has numerous storage areas to help keep it tidy. The boot is also big, although some alternatives have even more room
The Tucson’s interior gets the fundamentals – such as passenger, cubby and boot space – bang on, but it lacks that little extra something to transform it from a star pupil to a genius
The Tucson is one of the roomiest SUVs you can buy for this kind of money. There’s plenty of head and legroom for the driver and front-seat passenger but only Sports Edition models and above come with passenger-seat height adjustment.
All but entry-level S models feature heated front seats and electric lumbar support for the driver as standard. The latter will help make long-distance drives as comfortable as possible. Sport Edition models and above come with leather seats as standard.
There’s noticeably more head and legroom in the back than you’ll find in the Nissan Qashqai. The Tucson’s roomy footwells, fair shoulder room and reclining rear seats – standard on all models – mean there’s enough room for three tall adults to get comfortable. The large doors openings and raised ride height mean six-footers can jump in the back without stooping, too.
The Tucson’s height and wide rear door openings make leaning in to fit a child seat particularly easy. The Isofix anchor points are clearly marked, too, and come with clever folding covers instead of easy-to-lose plastic caps.
A number of handy cubby holes are dotted around the Tucson’s cabin. The door bins aren’t quite as large as those in the Kia Sportage but they do come with a sculpted recess that’ll stop a one-litre bottle sliding about.
A fair-sized glovebox and small storage tray under the centre console offer enough space to hide away a few more family bits-and-bobs, but the storage bin under the front armrest isn’t quite as big as the one you’ll find in a Nissan Qashqai. The centre cupholders are, however large enough for the bulkiest of service-station coffees while a pair of 12V sockets and a USB port will help keep your phone topped up with juice.
The Tucson has a roomy 513-litre boot with the rear seats up – more than both the 430-litre Qashqai and 503-litre Sportage. Fold the rear seats down in a 60:40 split – you’ll have to open the back doors to reach the seat catches – and you’ll have access to a roomy 1,503-litre load bay that’s 11 litres larger than the Sportage but lags behind the Qashqai by 82 litres.
You’ll fit two small suitcases, a buggy or a set of golf clubs in the back without folding the seats or removing the load cover. Unfortunately, there’s only room to store the cover under the boot floor on entry-level models and no models are offered with a handy ski hatch – an annoying omission if you need to carry long items and two rear passengers.
Fold the rear seats down and the boot floor is completely flat and there’s no awkward load lip. As a result, sliding in large, heavy items is easy and there’s even enough room to carry a large bike without removing its wheels. Unlike the Kia Sportage, the boot floor can’t be raised or lowered, nor are there storage trays underneath to hide away any valuables.
There isn’t a 12V socket in the boot but Hyundai has fitted a few tie-down points and a set of handy hooks to stop your shopping bags rolling around. Premium SE models come with a smart automatic bootlid that’ll automatically open if you approach it with the key – perfect if you’ve got armfuls of shopping and can’t reach into your pocket.
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 more comfortable than the Kia Sportage, but can’t match the Nissan Qashqai’s excellent ride
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.
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.
There’s little to get excited about inside the Tucson – the plastics are grey and there aren’t many colourful trim pieces to smartern it up. Having said that, it is easy to operate