Independent review by Steve Grant
- Stylish looks
- Very generous equipment
- Pleasant to drive
- Spacious interior
The Hyundai Tucson is one of the best-looking SUVs available right now – which it needs to be because it’s competing in a crowded part of the market.
However, as well as its striking looks, partly created by its new Parametric Hidden Lights, it’s got another ace up its sleeve compared to its long, long list of mid-sized competitors – Hyundai has gone upmarket.
With a much-improved interior, striking looks and plenty of useful on-board tech, it’s clear the Tucson in top-of-the-line Ultimate spec means business.
Design and Practicality
The Hyundai Tucson Ultimate features an eye-catching grille which hides the headlights, daytime running lamps and indicators are all hidden – only coming to life as they’re switched on. You have to see it in the flesh to appreciate it, but I think it’s very stylish and attractive.
There’s plenty of space for three passengers rear, and the boot capacity is a family-friendly 620 litres or a van-sized 1,800 litres with the rear seats folded. The rear seats fold in a 40:20:40 configuration, and there are rear armrests with cupholders and extra storage for assorted oddments, as well as useful USB ports in the back too.
The Tucson trim range is straightforward, starting with SE Connect, N Line and N Line S, then Premium and top-of-the range Ultimate specifications.
Standard kit includes dual-zone air conditioning, cruise control, a rear camera, rear parking sensors and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen with satnav and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
The Ultimate trim also features 19-inch alloys, LED headlamps, ambient interior lighting, leather seat trim with electrically adjustable, heated and ventilated driver and front passenger seats and heated steering wheel, smart adaptive cruise control with stop/go function, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry, an eight-speaker Krell premium audio system as well as a wireless smartphone charging pad.
If that’s not enough, there’s even more safety assistance features such as Rear Cross Traffic Assist and Safe Exit Warning. There’s also heated rear seats, climate control with separate rear-seat control, a panoramic sunroof with front section electric tilt and slide function, and a smart electric tailgate.
All engines are versions of the same 1.6-litre turbo petrol. The base car has a manual gearbox, front-wheel drive, 148bhp and no electrical assistance. Then there are two mild hybrids with 148bhp or 178bhp. The former comes as a manual or auto but front-wheel drive only, while the latter is auto only and comes with the option of all-wheel drive.
As you would expect, the Tucson, already a multi-award winner, comes with Sport and Eco modes, defaulting into the latter on start up. You’ll probably want to keep it there most of the time, as the SUV is really all about comfort.
I drove the Tucson from Plymouth to Reading and back, and it does a lovely job of munching up the miles in a relaxed and refined manner. Off the beaten track it’s fairly nimble and more agile than one might expect, though you’re not going to throw it from bend to bend.
There’s a vast array of driver assistance systems, my favourite of which lives within the 10.25-inch digital dashboard. When you signal left or right, the speedometer or rev counter displays a high-res camera feed from the appropriate side of the car. It’s brilliant, but accompanies traditional door mirrors rather than replacing them.
The Hyundai Tucson has traditionally been bought for its practicality and versatility, and with the well-equipped and stylish Ultimate spec, traditional buyers can still admire that alongside its stylish new looks and upmarket makeover. Overall, the Tucson is an excellent all-round package with some very eye-catching wrapping.