Hyundai Tucson (2018-2020) review
The Hyundai Tucson is a small family SUV that’s roomy inside and comes with lots of kit, but it doesn’t look particularly stylish and alternatives have more spacious boots.
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The Hyundai Tucson is a small SUV which you should consider if you’re looking for a practical family car with a raised driving position and plenty of standard equipment. It doesn’t feel quite as posh as some alternatives, though, and don’t expect its styling to turn many heads.
If that’s going to be a dealbreaker, the wilder-looking Kia Sportage might be a better bet, but at least the high-riding Hyundai Tucson still towers over most conventional hatchbacks in the supermarket car park.
Climb inside, and there’s less to help you tell the Hyundai Tucson’s interior apart from a run-of-the-mill hatchback. Sure, most of the Hyundai Tucson’s plastics feel nice and soft and you get a neat free-standing infotainment display like in a Mercedes, but it all feels a bit bland compared with the interiors in a Kia Sportage or Mazda CX-5. It’s a bit like a new toaster – it all works very nicely but you won’t be rushing to show it off to your friends next time they pop round.
That being said, at least the Hyundai Tucson comes with plenty of kit as standard. Just like the Sportage, the standard touchscreen infotainment system comes with all the smartphone mirroring features you need to use your favourite apps on the car’s built-in screen.
It’s comfortable, too. You get loads of seat adjustment and the standard reclining rear seats mean there’s more space for passengers in the back than you get in a Nissan Qashqai.
The Hyundai Tucson covers all the important family SUV bases, so it’s pretty roomy, well equipped, fairly economical and comes with lots of safety kit as standard.
It’s a similar story when you need to pack the Hyundai Tucson’s boot. It’s dead easy to load and there’s more space than you get in the Sportage. A Skoda Karoq is roomier still, however – especially with the back seats folded down.
The Hyundai Tucson is slightly more comfortable to drive than the Sportage and CX-5 and its raised seating position gives you a good view out and it doesn’t lean a great deal when you head out of town onto a twisty country road.
A Mazda CX-5 feels more nimble, but you can’t get that car with a clever mild-hybrid system like the Hyundai which helps save fuel by turning the engine off when you coast to a stop or cruise downhill.
You can only get this feature in top-spec 2.0-litre diesel models, but don’t worry; the Hyundai Tucson’s other engines are still pretty economical as standard. The most powerful diesel cars also come with four-wheel drive, but the two-wheel-drive models are plenty grippy enough to tackle a steep leaf-ridden driveway in the rain.
Whichever model you pick, you get a bundle of clever safety features to help prevent accidents including automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist – a feature usually reserved for high-spec cars.
All this means the Hyundai Tucson is a very capable small SUV which represents good value for money. Head over to our Hyundai Tucson deals page to see how much you can save on one.
You won’t have any trouble fitting five adults in the Hyundai Tucson, but there isn’t quite as much space in the boot as you get in most alternatives
The Hyundai Tucson serves up a tasty combination of space and comfort, but that alone isn’t enough to make it stand out from other equally desirable – and more practical – SUVs
The Hyundai Tucson comes with absolutely loads of room in the front, so you won’t have to worry about your head touching the roof if you’re very tall. You get a decent amount of seat adjustment as standard, too, and all but entry-level S Connect cars come with adjustable lumbar support to help stave off backache on long drives. Top-spec Premium SE versions even get heated and ventilated front seats – perfect for cold winter mornings and roasting hot summer afternoons.
Passenger space in the back is pretty good – there’s more room than you’ll find in the back of a Nissan Qashqai – and the Tucson’s standard reclining rear seats are just the thing for making sure tall passengers are comfortable on long journeys.
There’s a slight lump in the Hyundai Tucson’s rear floor that’ll get in the way of your middle passenger’s feet, but its wide body means there’s enough shoulder room for three adults to sit side-by-side without feeling cramped. There’s a decent amount of space under the front seats for three people to put their feet, too.
The Tucson’s tall roof and wide rear door openings mean it’s dead easy to lift in a bulky child seat. The standard Isofix anchor points come with neat folding covers, too, so you can secure the seat base without having to remove any fiddly plastic caps.
You get a decent number of storage bins dotted about the Hyundai Tucson’s cabin, from a large bottle-shaped recess in each door to a pretty spacious glovebox and a pair of generous cupholders in the centre console.
There’s space under the front armrest to tuck a few valuables safely out of sight and you get a USB port and 12V socket for keeping a few gizmos charged, too. In the back, your passengers get a folding armrest with two built-in cupholders.
The Hyundai Tucson’s 513-litre boot is slightly bigger than what you get in the Kia Sportage and leagues ahead of the rather small Nissan Qashqai’s load bay, but it can’t match the more practical VW Tiguan for load-carrying ability.
That said, it’s still more than spacious enough to carry a large weekly shop, a few bulky baby buggies or a family’s luggage for a week away and there’s a handy space to store the load cover under the floor if you need to remove it.
The back seats fold in a two-way (60:40) split so you can carry some long luggage and a rear-seat passenger at once, but some alternatives come with a more practical three-way split which leaves room for two passengers in the back seats.
If you need even more space, fold all the back seats down and the Hyundai Tucson’s load bay grows to a roomy 1,503 litres. The completely flat floor makes it as easy as possible to push heavy boxes all the way up behind the front seats and there’s even space to carry a bike with its wheels attached, but a VW Tiguan is even roomier still.
Whichever engine you pick, the Hyundai Tucson is a doddle to drive and it soaks up bumps pretty well. Other five-seat SUVs are more fun and more frugal, however
Unlike plenty of alternatives, the Tucson doesn’t try to live up to the Sports in Sports Utility Vehicle – instead, it tries to be as comfortable and as easy to drive as possible
You can get the Hyundai Tucson with two petrol and three diesel engines and with either a manual or automatic gearbox.
If you do lots of city driving, go for the 132hp 1.6-litre non-turbo petrol. It’s far from the most powerful engine around, but it’s quieter than the diesels and slightly cheaper to run than the perkier 1.6-litre turbo unit. Hyundai claims it’ll return more than 57.6mpg, but you can expect it to manage a figure in the high forties in normal driving conditions.
If you do a fairly balanced mix of town and motorway journeys, the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine with 177hp will be much more suitable. It has enough power to overtake slow-moving traffic and cruises along fairly quietly at 70mph. With a gentle touch on the accelerator, it’ll return around 30mpg – that’s compared to Hyundai’s claimed 37.7mpg.
If you do lots of motorway driving, a diesel will be a better bet. The entry-level 115hp 1.6-litre unit feels a little underpowered – especially with five people and lots of luggage on board – but the perkier 136hp model is right at home cruising along at motorway speeds. Hyundai claims it’ll return 54.3 mpg but you can expect it to return a figure in the low forties.
The most powerful Tucson you can buy is the 2.0-litre diesel model. It comes with a 186hp four-cylinder engine that’s assisted by a small electric motor. Together, this combination helps boost performance and reduce fuel economy – although you’ll probably see it return a rather modest 40mpg rather than Hyundai’s claimed 49.6mpg.
The 1.6 petrol and diesel engines come with front-wheel drive and only top-spec 2.0-litre diesels get four-wheel drive as standard for a little extra grip in slippery conditions. Unless you regularly tow, however, the standard two-wheel-drive models will be sure-footed enough for most.
The Hyundai Tucson irons out bumps in the road more smoothly than the likes of the Kia Sportage, but it’s not quite as comfortable as the Nissan Qashqai. It’s still pretty relaxing to drive around town, however, and it doesn’t lean much in tight corners so your passengers are unlikely to feel car sick.
The high driving position gives you a good view out over the road ahead, but the pillar between the front doors and the windscreen is quite thick so you have to lean forward to spot traffic approaching at junctions.
Still, at least the Hyundai Tucson’s light steering helps make it easy to manoeuvre and you get rear parking sensors to help you avoid low-speed bumps and scrapes. To make bay and parallel parking even easier, top-spec cars come with an automatic parking feature that’ll steer for you into tight spaces.
The standard six-speed manual gearbox is reasonably easy to use in traffic, but the optional seven-speed automatic can be slightly jerky at low speeds. It does make driving for long distances a bit more relaxing, however.
Head out onto a motorway and you’ll notice some wind noise coming from the Hyundai Tucson’s door mirrors, but there isn’t too much tyre noise and you don’t feel any unpleasant vibrations through the steering wheel or pedals.
To help make long drives as stress-free as possible, you’ll want to pick a Premium SE model with adaptive cruise control as standard. This helps you maintain a safe distance to cars in front by automatically braking if it senses you’re getting a little too close.
Thankfully, all Hyundai Tucsons come with automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist as standard which helps make it a very safe family SUV.
The Hyundai Tucson’s smart dashboard comes with a big infotainment screen and loads of equipment as standard but only top-spec models get leather seats