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In-depth reviews

Hyundai Tucson review - Engines, drive & performance

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

Carbuyer Rating

4.5 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

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 German racetrack, has clearly done the Tucson no harm at all. That’s not to say it’s the sportiest car in this sector to drive – the Ford Kuga offers a little more fun, but the Tucson strikes the perfect balance between comfort and agility that’s bound to appeal to the bulk of buyers.

Hyundai Tucson petrol engines

The Hyundai Tucson range revolves around a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, starting off with a basic manual unit producing 158bhp and is capable of 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds. Go for the automatic version and mild-hybrid tech is added, but this merely improves efficiency while the power figure remains the same. Nonetheless, 0-62mph takes 9.9 seconds in automatic guise, which is slightly quicker than the manual. Both have a top speed of 117mph. Unfortunately, Hyundai hasn’t provided acceleration stats for the four-wheel drive version of the mild-hybrid automatic.

Hybrid engines

The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is much more powerful than the standard petrol or mild-hybrid versions, with a more potent electric motor that contributes to a total output of 212bhp. As it’s a full hybrid, it’s only available with an automatic transmission which gets it from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds in front-wheel drive guise. Despite the extra traction of the four-wheel drive system, it’s actually slower to 62mph, taking 8.5 seconds.

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Drive 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. We recommend keeping the car in Eco mode if you want the most refined drive, because putting the Tucson Hybrid into sport means it stays in the same gear for longer and thus revs more aggressively, which can spoil the serenity from inside the cabin.

The quiet powertrain makes the car refined at motorway speeds, because the Tucson Hybrid is able to cut engine power when you lift off the throttle while cruising. This feels smooth and almost imperceptible, making driving relaxing and easy.

The Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid is able to drive on electric power for up to 58 miles, which is perfect for hushed around-town driving. It’s the most powerful car of the range, but also the heaviest, so it doesn’t necessarily feel as quick as its 249bhp power figure might suggest – it does 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds, while the four-wheel drive model does the same sprint in 8.2 seconds. Still, the weight hasn’t negatively affected the Tucson’s agile feel.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.6 TGDi SE Connect 5dr 2WD
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £31,535

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6T Plug-in Hybrid Advance 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £39,275

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6 TGDi Hybrid 230 SE Connect 5dr 2WD Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £35,950

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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