First Drive Review: Hyundai Tucson

Independent review by Chris Russon

4-minute read

Blue Hyundai Tucson Exterior Front Driving

First Drive: Hyundai Tucson

Explore the key features of the Hyundai Tucson in our expert first drive review

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Hyundai pulled no punches with their latest Tucson, giving it a raft of gadgets and tech to ensure a pleasant driving experience.


  • Loaded with tech
  • Distinctive design
  • Very practical
  • Competitively priced
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A new Hyundai Tucson SUV has been brought to market, and it comes packed with innovative features inside and out.

Sharp styling, plenty of technology and a wide range of engine choices set the newcomer apart in the burgeoning sports utility vehicle world.

In terms of pricing, it's quite a step up from the previous model, but it's hugely impressive on all fronts with standout design and engineering.

From its bold grille design which incorporates ‘hidden’ daytime running lights in the sides to a high-tech interior, the new Tucson sets a high standard in the medium-sized SUV market.

It’s the fourth generation model - with UK models built at Hyundai’s factory in the Czech Republic – and since the Tucson first arrived in 2004 it has become one of the brand’s top sellers with more than seven million sold so far.

The new model doesn’t just build on that, it leaps ahead and puts the Korean brand at the top of the mid-sized SUV market ahead of the likes of Honda with the CR-V, Toyota and its RAV4, and the Volkswagen Tiguan.


Bigger all round, the new Tucson is almost an inch longer than its predecessor and comes with more room inside and a much bigger boot at 620 litres – that’s a full two suitcases more than before.

Maximum cargo space is of near van proportions at 1,799 litres, and on the top-range Ultimate model we sampled that was hidden behind a powered tailgate.

Driving Experience

The car we tried was a full hybrid and came with a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine mated to an electric motor.

Together they develop a healthy 227bhp, and that gives the car a 0 to 62 acceleration time of 8.0 seconds – the quickest of all versions in the range.

Top speed is 120mph and on the economy front it is rated officially at 49.6mpg with emissions of 131g/km.

We managed to exceed that in everyday driving, seeing an average of 52.3mpg on the onboard computer, although after a long stint of motorway work that dropped to an overall average of 42mpg.

For a car that tips the scales at almost 1.7 tonnes, the Tucson's efficiency is to be commended, and shows Hyundai’s commitment to the new wave of green motoring.
Chris Russon

The hybrid has a 6-speed automatic transmission with gears primarily selected via push buttons on the centre console, backed up with paddle shifters on the steering wheel for manual selection if required.

It has four-wheel drive with specific modes for snow, mud, and sand yet remains nicely agile as SUVs go.

Technology and Equipment

Manoeuvrable it is, and parking is helped by a high definition camera system – a feature Hyundai has gone to town with on the new Tucson.

Rearview camera screens appear in the instrument panel when indicating to help avoid collisions, and replace either the speedo or rev counter with a display of what is behind the vehicle as soon as the signal is activated.

Information about the speed and revs are shown as small digital readouts while the system is in action, and it’s a brilliant feature for improving driver safety.

The interior is a class act and incorporates a 10.25-inch central touchscreen in the middle of the dash above touch operated controls for the ventilation – another first on a Hyundai.

The Tucson has what Hyundai calls a Multi-Air Mode system, which uses a combination of direct and indirect air vents for the air conditioning and heating to create a more pleasant in-car environment with a gentle air flow – and it works front and rear.

The digital instrument panel can be configured in a number of ways depending on driver preference, while the navigation and infotainment system uses the latest version of Hyundai’s Bluelink connectivity set up which delivers a plethora of information and features including remote vehicle locking and a smartphone link for last mile navigation when out of the vehicle and checking fuel levels.

Wireless phone charging is another feature, while other new safety equipment includes alerts when passengers exit the vehicle and a sensor which detects when the car ahead has moved off when in traffic.

They're all hugely relevant and useful systems on today’s ever congested highways, and see Hyundai making full use of technology as an aid rather than purely as a gimmick.


The hybrid Tucson I sampled was the most expensive within the new Tucson range. However, it's still very competitively priced within the cut-throat SUV market. The new Tucson is a step-change model for Hyundai and with its blend of practicality, roominess, refinement, and eco-friendly performance it’s a force to be reckoned with among the current crop of SUVs.