Hyundai Tucson review - Engines, performance and drive

Hyundai’s experience with petrol-hybrid powertrains pays off with the Tucson

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

3.9 out of 5

  • Hybrid power
  • Great on-board tech
  • Premium feel
  • Expensive plug-in hybrid model
  • Engine thrashy at higher revs
  • Not especially fun to drive

Hyundai has built the fourth-gen Tucson using an all-new platform and advanced hybrid technology - highlighting the manufacturer’s serious aspirations for its latest mid-size SUV.

The hybrid powertrain works well, both at motorway speeds and around town. We noticed that the six-speed automatic transmission is keen to shift up early, but as the engine becomes slightly thrashy at higher revs, it’s not such a bad trait.

You’ll probably want to keep the Tucson in its Eco drive mode most of the time. Choosing the Sport function modifies the throttle response and improves assistance from the electric motor, but really it just encourages you to work the engine harder which, ultimately, doesn’t sit well with the Tucson’s focus on comfort.

A nice piece of engineering, and one which helps to boost efficiency, is the hybrid model’s ability to cut engine power when you lift off the throttle at speed. It manages this in a particularly smooth and effortless manner, to the extent that you might not even feel the system working at all.

But, where Hyundai has really succeeded with the Tucson is in its ability to manage decent agility through corners, while remaining controlled and composed over the typical broken tarmac of UK roads. You wouldn’t necessarily turn to the Tucson for a fun Sunday morning blast through country lanes, but it does provide relaxing, agreeable point-to-point company.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The 148bhp 1.6 TGDi petrol-only model delivers a rather sedate 0-62mph time of 10.3s, although upgrading to the mild-hybrid version improves things a little to 9.6s. Top speed for both is 117mph.

Moving onto the 178bhp car also sees an increase in torque, from 250Nm to 265Nm. Consequently, acceleration to 62mph is enhanced to a more spirited 9.0s, with maximum speed increasing to 125mph. Full-hybrid tech brings 230bhp and cranks up sprinting performance to 8.0s.

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