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
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.
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
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. Combine this with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating (albeit from 2015 when the crash tests weren’t quite as strict as they are now) and the Tucson makes a very safe family SUV.