In-depth reviews

Hyundai Tucson SUV - Engines, drive & performance

Taut handling and a powerful petrol hybrid move the game on for the Tucson

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.2 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Bold looks
  • Smart interior
  • Good to drive

Cons

  • Price increase
  • Slightly firm ride
  • Boot size varies

While the Tucson has never been considered class-leading for the way it drives, the 2015 model represented a big step forwards from the Hyundai ix35 that preceded it. And so it is again here - Hyundai has clearly learnt what its customers want and tried hard to deliver it.

The Korean brand has a development team based at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany, and countless hours of driving on European roads, and the famously tortuous Nordschleife track, has clearly done the Tucson no harm at all. Unlike most SUVs, there's feel in the steering as well as accuracy, and the Tucson feels keen to turn, with very little body lean. It may not be quite as involving as the Ford Kuga but it's more agile than the Toyota RAV4.

Hyundai Tucson hybrid engines

We’ve already been able to try the Tucson Hybrid, with a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine and 59bhp electric motor giving a combined 227bhp. A six-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive get the SUV from 0-62mph in a respectable eight seconds, and on to a top speed of 120mph.

Summon its maximum power with your right foot and there's a decent surge of acceleration. Perhaps more unexpectedly, there's also a fairly sporty engine note, which hints that Hyundai's N performance engineers have had some input. Drive more sensibly and the Tucson Hybrid's powertrain is remarkably hushed, meaning you often have to refer to the on-screen display to see which power source is in use.

The transition between petrol and electric power is very smooth, and while it can be difficult to keep the Tucson Hybrid in its EV mode when pulling away, the dashboard indicator often shows you’re in it while cruising along. There are only two driving modes; Eco is the default, while Sport turns the gauges red and increases throttle response and the assistance of the electric motor. However, the petrol engine also works harder to increase performance. 

Petrol engines

It's clear Hyundai isn't expecting as many diesel buyers this time round because along with the Hybrid there's a range of three 1.6-litre petrol engines. The entry version has 148bhp, front-wheel drive and an ordinary six-speed manual gearbox. If your budget allows, the mild-hybrid version will be cheaper to run and should feel a touch more sprightly under acceleration thanks to the electric assistance. It can be fitted with either the aforementioned six-speed manual IMT gearbox or a seven-speed automatic and it's two-wheel drive.

The range-topping regular petrol has power bumped up to 178bhp and either the IMT manual with two-wheel drive or a seven-speed automatic and four-wheel drive.

Diesel engines

If you spend lots of time on the motorway, or like the low-down pulling power of diesel engines, the 1.6-litre CRDi engine may well appeal. It only gets 134bhp though, so performance is likely to be satisfactory rather than scintillating. With fuel economy a firm priority, a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive is the only setup offered here. 

Most Popular

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

New Mercedes EQS electric saloon unveiled
2021 Mercedes EQS front 3/4 tracking
Mercedes
15 Apr 2021

New Mercedes EQS electric saloon unveiled

Best new car deals 2021
Skoda Fabia
Deals
16 Apr 2021

Best new car deals 2021

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Best cars
24 Dec 2020

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
1 Feb 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks