This week we’ve had the Hyundai Tucson with the entry-level 1.7 CRDi diesel engine and mid-range SE Nav Trim in for review and road test.
The Hyundai Tucson arrived in the UK almost exactly a year ago, replacing the ix35 in Hyundai’s range and bringing with it the resurrection of a name Hyundai has previously used on a less than inspiring SUV.
The ix35 Hyundai has replaced with the Tucson was an able and appealing compact-ish SUV which found much favour amongst UK buyers, and although it was never the best in class or default choice it offered solid and dependable motoring in a competitive sector, along with a five year warranty for peace of mind.
But with Hyundai’s plans for world domination still very much in play, simply replacing the ix35 with a titivated version with a new name wasn’t really an option, so we’re expecting the Tucson to be a properly noticeable jump forward from the ix35.
We have a week, and a chunk of miles, to find out if the Tucson has more to offer than the ix35 did, and see if it can compete with cars like the Kuga, Kadjar, Qashqai et al.
Hyundai Tucson SE Nav – Inside & Out
Yes, you could claim the Tucson looks a bit like a Santa Fe on a boil wash, but actually it’s better than that.
The big bold grille certainly makes a statement (and is no doubt a Marmite feature), but it’s the cohesive design with well-judged creases and lines, a strong silhouette that looks coupe-ish but really isn’t, and a feeling that Hyundai has got the Tucson’s proportions dead right. We’re sold.
Where we’re not as sold is on the interior, but perhaps that’s perhaps because it’s more competent than appealing.
The neat flourishes the designers have wrought with the Tucson’s exterior do seem a little lacking on the inside, although there’s nothing much to moan about either.
Ergonomically the Tucson is just fine, the switchgear is positive and tactile, the cheaper plastics are, on the whole, out of reach, there’s plenty of space front and back for proper adults and their stuff, and the boot – seats up or seats down – offers more than you’d expect.
This may only be a mid-range SE Nav trim, but there’s plenty of spec in the price with stuff like Cruise, Lane Departure Warning, Bluetooth, electric mirrors, 8″ touchscreen with Sat Nav and Reversing Camera, electric windows, heated seats, hill start assist and much more.
It would be nice if the interior had a little more flair, but it’s well bolted together, feels durable, is comfortable and delivers what’s needed.
Tucson SE Nav 1.7 CRDi – Performance and on the road
That said, the Tucson’s 1.7 litre diesel does feel livelier than the 13.7 seconds to 62mph it says on the spec sheet, although its initial willingness to come out to play does tail off quite a bit once you’re past mid-range.
But keep it in a nice tidy mid-range rev band and the 1.7 litre diesel is more than quick enough around town, on a back road or on the motorway, with a light touch to the steering around town, a decent turn in and the ability to corner relatively flatly a pleasant surprise on back roads, and a decently composed ride at motorway speeds, giving the Tucson a decent hat-trick of abilities.
In all the ways that matter, the Tucson is a better drive than the ix35, and its new underpinnings offer a decently supple setup which manages to offer a comfortable ride (most of the time) and better than you’d expect handling, and although the 1.7 litre diesel isn’t exactly a firecracker, it offers performance that suits the car and decent real-world economy – we managed 43.2mpg.
The steering is a bit lacking in feel, but the manual gearbox is perfectly good and the overall impression is of a combination of abilities perfectly suited to the Tucson’s family market.
2016 Tucson SE Nav 1.7 CRDi – Verdict
Hyundai know how important the smaller SUV market is, and the Tucson delivers in all the ways that matter to a family looking for an SUV to ferry kids and stuff to school, off to the shops, weekends away or any of the multitude of family ferrying jobs the Tucson will have to handle.
That means a car that looks good, is well bolted together, can do a bit better than keep up with the traffic, has plenty of room and doesn’t cost a fortune to buy or run. The Tucson ticks all the boxes.
Yes, for our money we’d probably prefer the more potent – and only slightly less economical – 2.0 litre diesel, but that would put the price up by £1,400 from this car’s £23,675 (including metallic paint).
We’d also like more toys, but climb to the top of the Tucson tree and you could spend almost £10k more and really, the spec on this SE Nav is more than good enough for a family workhorse.
Which leaves this Hyundai Tucson SE Nav 1.7 CRDi with its manual gearbox as probably the pick of the Tucson range. Sure, if you’re happy to spend more you can get more, power and equipment, but you don’t need to.
And yes, the Hyundai Tucson is a significant step on from the able ix35 in all the ways that matter.
Hyundai Tucson SE Nav 1.7 CRDi Review Quick Tech Specs
- Engine: 1685cc, 114bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 13.7 seconds / Top Speed 109mph
- Economy: 61.7mpg – Official / 43.2mpg – Test
- Emissions: 119g/km
- Price: £23,145 / Price as tested £23,765
- Test car supplied by Hyundai UK