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Hyundai Tucson goes for bold with brand new image

PUBLISHED: 14:53 17 December 2015 | UPDATED: 14:53 17 December 2015

Hyundai has revived the Tucson name to highlight its all-new sport utility vehicle marks another big step forward for the brand.

Hyundai has revived the Tucson name to highlight its all-new sport utility vehicle marks another big step forward for the brand.

Hyundai

Out with the old, in with the new. Hyundai has revived the Tucson name to make a point about its new compact SUV. And it does, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

What’s in a name?

I thought it was a backward step when Hyundai chose to revive the Tucson – pronounced Too-son – name for its compact sport utility vehicle having switched to the ix35 tag for the previous generation.

The old Tucson’s saving grace was its value pricing but Hyundai has gone back to the name to again emphasise that this all-new SUV is a big step forward, aimed at changing perceptions, heralding the future direction of the brand, and wooing conquest sales.

And no one can underestimate the importance of Tucson, and SUVs in general to Hyundai with more than 1.2 million SUV sales in Europe in 15 years – more than one in 10 in the UK – and the ix35 accounting for one in every five Hyundais sold here last year.

Hyundai Tucson

Price: Hyundai Tucson Premium SE 2.0 CRDi 185PS Auto 4WD £32,345 (range from £18,695)

Engine: 1,995cc, 185PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-62mph 9.5 seconds; top speed 125mph

MPG: Urban 35.3; extra urban 50.4; combined 43.5

CO2 emissions: 170g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 32%

Insurance group: 23 (out of 50)

Warranty: Five years, unlimited mileage

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,475mm; W (excluding door mirrors) 1,850mm; H 1,645mm

New name, new level

There’s no disputing the Tucson raises Hyundai’s game with a bold, athletic design, enhanced levels of comfort and convenience, enhanced driving appeal, new technology and clever packaging.

Add an all-new platform that makes for a very spacious cabin, a more upmarket ambience and top-notch build quality – justifying the price hike over the ix35 – and you have a good-looking, practical vehicle that deserves serious consideration if you are in the market for an SUV.

Under the bonnet

The wide range of updated and new engines sees 132PS 1.6-litre petrol and new 177PS 1.6-litre turbo petrol and 116PS 1.7-litre and 136 and 185PS 2.0-litre turbo diesels. While the smaller diesel will find most favour, the 2.0-litre units are also offered with four-wheel drive for added traction and optional automatic transmission.

I drove the high-power 2.0-litre unit which is well suited to the six-speed auto box but it’s not cheap.

Surprisingly nippy and zippy to drive, helped by that smooth-shifting transmission, and a comfortable, quiet cruiser, real-world economy hovered between 36 and 40mpg.

How does it drive?

All Tucsons for Europe are engineered for Europe and built in Europe in the Czech Republic, which has paid dividends when it comes to the driving experience.

The suspension and running gear have been developed for the best combination of ride, roadholding, comfort and steering and the Tucson is an impressive all-round package and surprisingly capable and competent given its heightened ground clearance and ability to go off the beaten track.

It feels well planted on the road through corners, with body roll kept in check, and soaks up bumps and lumps in its stride with little feedback and tyre noise on poor surfaces.

Space and comfort

For a compact SUV, the Tucson is really rather roomy thanks to that new platform and clever packaging.

With a couple of six-footers up front there’s still loads of legroom in the back for large adults to stretch out in comfort, and plenty of headroom too with that tall body.

The boot provides a useful 513 litres of cargo capacity with the rear seats in use, while the widest opening in the class helps when it comes to loading large, bulky items. The high floor means the boot is on the shallow side with the cover in place but you can store smaller items under the boot floor inside the upturned full-size spare wheel.

Rear seat backs split 60/40 and lock down flat with the boot floor – they drop easily but are quite heavy to lift back into place.

Most of the trim materials where it matters look and feel good, making the cabin a pleasant place to be with efforts to minimise noise, vibration and harshness successfully paying off.

And it’s also very family-friendly when it comes to storage with a large central lidded locker, big glovebox and doorbins, cubbyholes and drinks-holders.

At the wheel

With that higher driving position giving good all-round visibility – further enhanced by parking sensors and a reversing camera on the test car – the Tucson is naturally easy to drive with a wide range of driver’s seating and steering adjustment to find the ideal set-up whether short or tall.

The dashboard is logical and uncluttered with straightforward rotary and push-button controls for the heating and ventilation, large clear instruments and a big touch screen display for most vehicle functions.

Trim and equipment

Available in S, SE, SE Nav, Premium and Premium SE, there’s an Tucson to meet everyone’s needs and budget. And, being a Hyundai, there’s no skimping on equipment or safety features. Premium SE may look pricey but comes fully loaded in all departments.

Final say

Hyundai has done it again with the new Tucson, another new model that takes the brand on leaps and bounds and gets it noticed by a new audience.

This is a quality SUV that looks the part and doesn’t disappoint when you drive it and that makes it very hard to ignore.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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