Hyundai Tucson Premium Hybrid Auto first drive

Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson is a quality SUV which many prospective buyers might overlook, at their cost.

The Tucson range runs to five models, SE Connect, Premium, N Line, N Line S and Ultimate, from £31,535 to over £44,575 with 2WD, or with PHEV powertrain to stretch economy and 4WD.

Power outputs accordingly range from 150ps to 265ps with model dependent manual or automatic transmission.

Our revised mid-range Premium grade model used one of the more powerful SmartStream advanced petrol engines with additional boost from a 60ps electric motor, which really transformed the performance when switched from the eco to sport modes.

This makes it something of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, changing its character, performance and responses as well as driver’s display instantly with a flick of the finger on the selector panel housing the drive buttons.

It always starts in the Eco setting and we saw it reach 51mpg at best but mixing the modes to give long legged motorway cruising or sharper responses on main roads brought it down to an average 44mpg, which is still respectable.

However you drive there is not much you can do to reduce emissions overall unless you creep around and you have to pay for a 31% BIK rate if used in business.

The sportier mode sits well with the Tucson thanks to its individual front struts and rear multi-link suspension keeping everything nicely planted on the road, with good steering input, predictable handling and no nasty surprises. Changes were extremely smooth.

You can hear the tyres on coarse surfaces but that’s not too bad as it copes well with bumps and the many road-rash potholes regularly encountered. There’s modest engine noise unless you push it hard.

There’s little sway on bends or dipping under brakes and throttle. The brakes were powerful yet progressive and the electric parking brake was secure on a steep hill.

Minor controls are packed onto the column stalks and wheelspokes, convenient and well marked as well as the manual paddles to make any changes if preferred over the automatic mode.

The driver’s instruments display is a good size, simple and clear for engine or road speed, charging, fluid levels etc. and you have a selectable mini screen to show preferred settings for things like tyre pressures, trip, navigation.

The infotainment screen is a decent 10.25 inches and packed with functions including control of the Krell Premium Audo, mobile phone connectivity, mapping, and even a whopping selection of 64 colours to bathe the interior. You have heated wheel and front seats for comfort, powered windows all round but no standard sunroof.

Heating and ventilation was excellent throughout and there’re lots of places to plug in games consoles or phones or chargers. It’s a real family car with many oddments places throughout too.

Access was very good into the boot or cabin and space was generous but the front seats had only manual adjustment in this specification, but their range of selection was wide helped by a tilt and height adjustable column for the driver. Unusually, the rear seats also had a bit of reach and rake adjustment.

Premium grade includes a reversing camera and sensors front and back, which are really necessary as the ends are otherwise out of sight and a wide c-pillar with a very small third window gave little ability to see something over the shoulder when reversing or pulling out. Low waistline and big windscreen were good for side and forward sight, with big efficient wipers and washers and really bright headlights but I would have preferred faster automatic adjustment at night.

Day or night, smooth or rough roads, the Hyundai Tucson Premium never produced a rattle or squeak, and its interior equipment, fit and finish was very high quality with a satisfyingly solid feel to the controls and lidded compartments.  

At the end of the day with any car, it’s the little things which really count and this car adds up to a good buy, particularly with any offers going at the moment.


Model: Hyundai Tucson Premium Hybrid

Price: £38,150

Mechanical: 230ps 4cyl 1.6 litre petrol-electric, 6sp auto 2WD

Max Speed: 120mph

0-62mph: 8 seconds

Combined MPG: 44

Insurance Group: 19E

CO2 emissions: 130gkm

Bik rating:  31%, VED£210FY, £180SR

Warranty:  5yrs/ unlimited mileage

Size: L4.51m, W1.87m, H1.65m

Bootspace: 616 to 1795 litres

Kerbweight: 1685kg

For: Agile, good handling, good seats, attractive tech and fairly good room in the back and bootspace, swift mode change, low engine noise, good warranty

Against: Some limited rear visibility, road noise, occasionally coarse ride, average fuel economy and emissions. By Robin Roberts at Miles Better News Agency

Written by