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
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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.
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.
In This Review
- 1VerdictA 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 & performance - currently readingThe 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