Carzone drives Hyundai’s best selling mid-sized SUV
Pros: Stylish looks, diesel engines, well equipped
Cons: Rivals more practical, less favourable petrol engines
Demand for mid-sized SUVs in Ireland is at an all-time high and this means that cars like the new Hyundai Tucson and Nissan Qashqai are currently topping the sales charts. So far in 2016, the Hyundai Tucson is Ireland’s best-selling new car and its popularity looks set to continue in 2017. With handsome looks, a strong line-up of diesel engines and a spacious interior, it’s easy to see why too. Competition in the segment is tougher than ever before with new clean-cut models such as the SEAT Ateca now on the market, so can the Tucson maintain its position as the best seller in 2017?
What is it like?
It’s fair to say that Hyundai did a great job when designing the Tucson’s exterior. Up front an imposing grille, sharply-shaped headlights and a swooping roof line make for sleek styling, while the dark wheel arches and body coloured bumpers give it the all-important SUV look. Alloy wheels are standard across the range from base specification, and our ‘Executive’ specification model is equipped with 17-inch alloys and finished in a vibrant blue paint scheme.
Inside, the Tucson feels like an SUV, offering a commanding view of the road to the driver. The cabin is well finished with good quality materials and a neatly arranged dashboard, which includes a touchscreen infotainment system on higher specification models. The seats are comfortable and supportive, thanks to an adjustable steering wheel and driver’s seat. The Tucson is well-suited to families with its wide opening rear doors and a similarly spacious boot door. Two-wheel drive models have 513 litres of boot space while the four-wheel drive version we drove has a smaller capacity of 488 litres.
The Tucson is available with three different engines in Ireland, with 1.6-litre petrol, 1.7-litre diesel and 2.0-litre diesel options to choose from. The most popular version is the 1.7-litre diesel with its low annual motor tax rating (€200) and good economy credentials. We drove the larger 134hp 2.0-litre diesel Tucson which is fitted with a four-wheel drive system as standard. Performance is brisk and on par with most other cars in the segment, with 0-100km/h taking just over 10 seconds. We achieved 6.2-litres per 100 kilometres (45mpg) during our test, but if you need better fuel economy the two-wheel-drive 1.7-litre diesel makes for a better buy.
As far as midsized SUVs go, the Tucson drives and handles well in most scenarios. Body roll is minimal and there is plenty of grip through corners, with the larger alloy wheels on higher specification models giving it a firm feel on the road. This means it isn’t quite as smooth as other cars in the class like the Renault Kadjar, but it is nonetheless a strong all round performer.
The Tucson is well equipped from base specification with four different models to choose from. As standard, the base ‘Comfort’ model features 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth with Voice Recognition, a rear parking assist system, leather steering wheel and gear nob and cruise control. The higher specification ‘Executive’ model that we drove gains leather heated seats, an 8-inch touch screen display, a rear view camera and Satellite Navigation to name a few.
Prices for the Tucson in Ireland start from €26,245 for the base 1.6 petrol version, which puts it in similar territory to both the Renault Kadjar and Nissan Qashqai. Some of its rivals are better equipped at base level so we’d recommend opting for the Executive trim upwards. We’d also encourage buyers to go for the diesel versions which are likely to command stronger residuals and desirability for years to come, in addition to the better driving experience.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
There’s a lot to like about the Tucson and it’s easy to see why it’s particularly popular here in Ireland. Desirable looks, a strong range of diesel engines, practicality and a keen price point have all lent to its success, and we suspect it’ll continue to be one of the best sellers in 2017. The choice of cars in the segment is growing with each year however and that means buyers should carefully consider their options.