It replaced the ix35 here in 2015 and while most will remember the Tucson name from a previous iteration, this time around it is a much for formidable foe for competitors including the Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV-4
Ranging from $27,990 to $47,450, there is a Tucson that fits most needs and Hyundai currently have some excellent runout deals that are well worth looking at.
With sharp angular lines, a smattering of chrome and low-profile alloys, the Hyundai Tucson makes for an attractive picture. The easy links between the front and rear design, the slim LEDs and a greater leaning towards a European feel serves to further enhance that picture.
The interior mirrors those lines but in a much less interesting way. In the Active X, there is a sense of austerity around cabin feel, where comfort is a box ticked rather than a sumptuous heady offering.
Yet, the design is a practical one, the buttons most used in easy reach and the steering providing controls for sound and cruise control. Fit and finish is as you would expect, harder plastics confined to those areas not usually within reach and the mix of real and synthetic leather a tad softer than you would think.
Passengers, both in the front and back, have more than a fair bit of room for heads, shoulders and toes and can also enjoy sensibly-placed cup holders, good-sized door pockets and a number of other storage cubbies and pockets. Rear seat passengers also get air vents in the floor.
The boot is a roomy 488 litres and can hold a pram and a couple of bags even with the 60:40 back seat in place. Lower the seat and that cargo space grows to a considerable 1478 litres allowing you to carry bulkier items should you need to.
The Active X is suitably equipped with cruise control, reversing camera, rear sensors and LED running lights featuring on the list of standard inclusions.
The 7.0-inch touchscreen that feels slightly after-market is used to control the Tucson’s infotainment options. It is pretty easy to navigate but I am not a big fan of the graphics package which feels dated but is all perfectly usable of course.
There is support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You will have to use your Smartphone to access navigation features too as Hyundai does not offer built-in sat nav in this spec.
Bluetooth connectivity and mobile phone pairing is easy to work out and there are two USB ports and two 12V points.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Variety seems the spice of life here with the Tucson offered in 10 variants across four model grades. You can choose from petrol or diesel, front-wheel or all-wheel drive and manual and automatic transmissions.
Our Active X sported a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit which was good for 121 kW of power and 203 Nm of torque. It was paired with a six-speed auto transmission, an additional $2500 cost on the six-speed manual.
For the Tucson Active X, a five-star ANCAP rating due to it having six airbags, stability and traction control, EBD with brake assist, hill-descent control and reverse camera with sensors.
Frustratingly, features like autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and forward collision warning are only in the range-topping models and aren’t even available as an extra in the cheaper models.
Most people who buy a Tucson, this Active X variant in particular, are looking for a practical spacious car that travels well and keep a family in safety in comfort.
To this end the Tucson does exactly what it says on the box. The ride is genuinely affable, the rear suspension setup and comprehensive local tuning making for a compliant uncomplicated drive.
In fact it is fair to say that the Tucson is one of the best in class for body control and bump absorption. While it may not match rivals who offer a more dynamic handling experience, it can boast about overall ride quality and it is extremely adept too at keeping the intrusion of road noise to a minimum.
Seats are surprisingly comfortable offering length under thigh and gentle all-round support with the raised driving position also improving visibility.
Hyundai claims fuel economy figures of 7.9 litres per 100km but we struggled to get better than 9.8 L/100km despite a week of mostly longer drives.
The Tucson is covered by Hyundai’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty with free roadside assist and a fixed price servicing schedule for the same period. Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000km.
The Hyundai Tucson rides well, is comfortable, looks good and is well built – a pleasing combination that will keep it among the frontrunners in a very crowded segment. Yes, it could do some things better, but it does most things well enough to turn the heads of buyers looking for an uncomplicated all-rounder.
HYUNDAI TUCSON PRICING AND SPECIFICATIONS:
Price: from $31,990 (drive-away)
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder GDI petrol
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, FWD
Fuel: 7.9/100km (ADR Combined)
Warranty: Five years unlimited kilometres
Safety Rating: Five Star ANCAP
WHAT WE LIKED:
Overall drive quality
Good comfort levels
WHAT WE DIDN’T:
Advanced safety package in top variants only
Cheap plastics in some parts of cabin