Hyundai Tucson Hybrid review
A strong look, great build quality and lots of equipment make the latest Hyundai Tucson Hybrid a real contender in the family SUV class
- Striking looks
- Great to drive
- Impressive build quality
- Not the most fun-to-drive SUV
- Plug-in version will be more efficient
- More expensive then previous models
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With its futuristic appearance – unlike that of any other family SUV – you'd be forgiven for thinking the latest Hyundai Tucson was a concept car. Its so-called 'Perimetric Hidden Lights' dominate the front end, with two rows of LED projectors offering a sci-fi feel when they emerge from the grille, while the rest of the car feels just as sharp and forward-thinking. Hyundai is committing to a bold new design direction here, and we like it – gone are the days when all modern SUVs looked the same.
It's a similar story of progress under the bonnet, where the Tucson ditches diesel and is now offered with a choice of electrified drivetrains alongside mild-hybrid and traditional petrol options. The full hybrid version gets a new 'Smartstream' 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with an electric motor and a small (1.49kWh) battery. There's 227bhp on tap, with acceleration made trouble-free by a six-speed automatic gearbox feeding power to all four wheels.
The Tucson is also available in front-wheel-drive form and with a manual gearbox, although the latter is reserved for non-electrified versions. A plug-in hybrid version, offering a decent fully electric range and ultra-low CO2 emissions, is set to join the range soon, although we haven't driven it just yet.
Hybrid SUVs are proliferating these days: key rivals for this Tucson include the Honda CR-V, Ford Kuga and Toyota RAV4, while its eye-catching design, cutting-edge technology and high-quality interior mean it now has to be considered in the same bracket as premium offerings like the Lexus NX, Audi Q3 and Volkswagen Tiguan.
This is a car that impresses in almost every area: the interior is just as high-quality and strikingly designed as the exterior, while still being practical and easy to use. It's not quite as much fun to drive as its close rival the Ford Kuga, but it remains comfortable and composed on almost any type of road. And its hybrid drivetrain works very well, with smooth transfer between electric and petrol power and back, along with decent real-world efficiency.
Overall, the latest Tucson is one of the finest mid-sized SUVs on the market. It'll soon offer a powertrain to suit all needs (apart from a pure-electric option) and every important aspect has been carefully considered and well executed – including some genuine showroom appeal. Throw in Hyundai's excellent warranty and strong reliability record and things start to look even more promising for the South Korean brand's latest effort. For a more detailed look at the latest Tucson, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingA strong look, great build quality and lots of equipment make the latest Hyundai Tucson Hybrid a real contender in the family SUV class
- 2MPG & CO2 emissionsThe hybrid Tucson does reasonably well here, but for the best figures we'll have to wait for the upcoming plug-in version
- 3Running costsThe cheapest Tucson to run will be the forthcoming plug-in hybrid, but for now the hybrid is pretty affordable to keep on the road
- 4Engines, drive & performanceThe Tucson's hybrid drivetrain works well and the SUV is a satisfying and capable performer in town, country or on the motorway
- 5Interior & comfortPremium-quality materials and cutting-edge on-board technology combine to make the Hyundai Tucson interior one of the best in its class
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThere's no seven-seater version, but in all other respects the Tucson is a very practical and versatile vehicle, ideal for family duties
- 7Reliability & safetyThere's limited independent data on these areas so far, but Hyundai's reputation is good in both respects, so the Tucson should be a good choice