Hyundai Tucson SE Nav 1.7 CRDi.
Hot dog, jumping frog..
Call me shallow, but how a car looks is of considerable importance to me, especially if I am going to be driving it every day for 3 or 4 years. A case in point is the Hyundai ix-35 which accounts for 20% of Hyundai sales here in the UK & I’m guessing that a fair amount of these will be corporate sales. It’s a very good car but it’s a little bit dowdy to look at, especially when compared to sibling the KIA Sportage as well as the Nissan Qashqai Mk 2.
However, when Hyundai launched the larger Santa Fe earlier this year, it became clear that not only had they sprinkled some magic fairy dust on the new model, which is miles more attractive than it’s predecessor, but there was also a hint in the way it looked that perhaps Peter Schreyer, head car designer from KIA, had been involved in the design. When Hyundai launched the replacement for the ix-35, the Tucson, which is very much a baby version of the Santa Fe, Hyundai admitted that their new Qashqai competitor had indeed be designed by the German famous for his work on the Audi TT, in his newish role of president of design for Hyundai. And this brings me nicely back to my original point. The Tucson which I drove in September is not only more attractive than the ix-35, but is also prettier than either the Nissan Qashqai or the new Renault Kadjar with slightly more masculine looks than either.
Having made my point, some of you out there may not be as bothered by how the Tucson looks, but will be more interested in how it performs both as a family car & in it’s fuel economy & emissions. Luckily, the Tucson doesn’t disappoint in these areas either.
The engine in the new Tucson has been carried over from the outgoing ix-35, but it’s been improved by Hyundai to meet strict Euro6 emissions regulations. With a rather sedate time of 13.7 seconds to reach 62 mph from a standing start this Tucson won’t set your heart racing, but, with CO2 emissions of just 119g/km & a combined fuel economy of 61.7 mpg, it performs well with the tax man & at the fuel pumps.
How does this compare with the competition ? Well, a similar diesel powered Qashqai claims a slightly better mpg with emissions of only 103g/km of CO2. But, if you want your Qashqai to match the Tucson for equipment, you’ll have to find about £1000 to do so, which is another feather in the cap for the Tucson.
What do you get on the SE Nav Tucson ? It’s quite a list; 17” alloys, a rear spoiler with integrated LED brake light, a silver front skid plate, a full sized alloy spare wheel, ABS with EBD, 6 airbags, an active hood system, brake assist control, downhill brake control, ESP, hill start assist control, lane keep assist, trailer stability assist, leather wrapped steering wheel/gear knob, electric drivers seat adjustment, hated front seats, climate control, LED brake, daytime & positioning lights, power folding electric mirrors, rear parking sensors, an 8” touchscreen SatNav, with TMC, reversing camera, shark fin antenna, Bluetooth, cruise control with speed limiter, steering wheel audio & phone controls, an RDS DAB radio with MP3 & last but least USB & Aux in connections.
The Tucsons interior follows a similar theme to that found in the larger Santa Fe & is ever so logical. The electric mirror & window switches are inside the drivers door & the majority of buttons can be easily reached in the lower middle of the dash & include heated seats & the climate control switches. The 8” touchscreen sits proudly in the top centre of the dashboard & is both large enough see clearly & easy to decipher & use whilst in motion. The steering wheel controls for the phone & infotainment are on the left of the wheel, the cruise controls are on the right.
Cabin storage, includes a good sized glove box, two cup holders & two deep door bins. With it’s longer wheel base & taller body than the ix-35, there’s good leg & head room in the front & in the back of the car. If you need to utilise the boot the opening is handily wide & low with 513 litres of space available, more than all of its closest competitors, with all 5 seats in use. Folding the rear seats down into the floor space increases this to a very useful 1,503 litres.
I drove the Tucson on country roads & along the A1 in Yorkshire & found the ride to be comfortable & the cabin a nice place to be The Tucson handles well. The 6-speed manual gear box is smooth & precise & the steering light & responsive. There is some body roll around tight corners but that is to be expected of cars in this category. On the move it’s easy to concentrate on your driving & be able to navigate the cars controls without too much distraction, always useful for a motorway commute. The cruise control speed switches are a little fiddly to use & some of the plastics used on the door pockets, centre binnacle & glove box are perhaps not a good as they could be, but the dashboard & in particular the car’s exterior are well finished.
To win over corporate customers, it will be interesting to see what contract hire prices Hyundai offer on the Tucson. In what is a fiercely competitive sector, this could be the key to success in the SME fleet market, where company directors & fleet managers are looking to save as much money as they can.
Where Hyundai’s new Santa Fe set the bar higher than ever for the brand, the Tucson more than matches it & is most definitely Hyundais best car yet & I have no doubt that existing ix-35 customers will switch to the new model in due course. For those customers who have bought in to the mid-range SUV sector there is an awful lot of choice. So where does this leave the Tucson ?
With it’s combination of low emissions, good fuel economy, high level of standard equipment & competitive pricing, the Tucson is a very capable machine. Like all Hyundai’s it comes with peace of mind which is a 5 year unlimited mileage warranty, including 5 years road side assistance & 5 years of annual vehicle health checks. Hyundai also has a reputation for reliability & with the final piece of the jigsaw now added, it’s good looks, the Tucson is sure to give the competition a run for their money.
A Breaking Bad 4/5.