In-depth reviews

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid engines, drive & performance

The Tucson's hybrid drivetrain works well and the SUV is a satisfying and capable performer in town, country or on the motorway

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£31,651 - £36,551
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
8.0s120mphFour227bhp

The hybrid drivetrain in the new Tucson is very well executed; there's a good amount of performance available, with enough torque to make it feel faster than the eight-second on-paper 0-62mph time would suggest. The engine doesn't get thrashy as those in some other hybrids can, instead producing quite a tuneful exhaust note under harder acceleration. Driven more sensibly, the Tucson is smooth, quiet and refined – most of the time you won't be able to tell which power source you're using.

With just a 1.49kWh battery, it's not surprising to learn that the Tucson's ability to run on electric power alone is fairly limited. Once you pull away from a standing start, it's not long before the petrol engine kicks in as you get up to speed. However, that transition is at least very smooth, and once the car is cruising at a steady speed, it starts to run in electric mode for significant periods, boosting overall efficiency. It's easy to get used to how sharply you have to prod the throttle to bring the petrol engine into play, and therefore easy to avoid doing so unintentionally. 

Unlike some competitors, the Tucson Hybrid doesn't overdo it with the driving modes: there are just two to choose from. The first is Eco, which works well in everyday driving and returns the best efficiency, while the second in Sport, which gives greater assistance from the electric motor and stronger acceleration.

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

A 1.6-litre petrol engine combined with a 59bhp electric motor that sits between the engine and six-speed automatic gearbox gives the Tucson Hybrid a total power output of 227bhp. That's enough for 0-62mph in eight seconds exactly and a top speed of 120mph. The forthcoming plug-in hybrid version will make 261bhp, so should be even faster.

Handling

The good news continues with the Tucson's ride and handling, both of which are excellent. Its steering is accurate, weighty and precise – far more so than most other SUVs of this sort – and there's a pleasing lack of body lean in corners.

The Tucson's ride is firm-ish but still very comfortable, even on the 19-inch wheels of our test car. Overall, it's just a smidge less involving to drive than the Ford Kuga, but pulls clearly ahead of other hybrid SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V in this regard.

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