New Hyundai Tucson MHEV 2021 review

Mild-hybrid tech adds an efficiency boost to the well equipped mid-size Hyundai Tucson SUV

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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It’s on the pricier side in top-spec Ultimate trim, but this mild-hybrid Tucson packs plenty of kit and enough of a premium feel to justify its price, while the hint of electrification helps efficiency. It’s mostly comfortable and refined, plus good enough to drive, but it’s the way the Tucson mixes its individual style with a new-found premium feel, plenty of practicality and a relaxing drive that makes it an appealing prospect in this class.

We had our first taste of the all-new Hyundai Tucson at the start of the year and rated it highly in hybrid form. Hyundai has since added a sportier N Line trim, while there’s also a plug-in hybrid on the way, but here we’re testing the more affordable mild-hybrid model.

Prices start from £29,440, rising to £35,390 for this top-spec Ultimate auto. Compared with pure-combustion rivals, the element of electrification here adds appeal.

Hyundai’s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine is supported when moving off by a belt starter-generator powered by a small lithium-ion battery (for a total of 148bhp). This gives a small surge of torque to help the petrol unit. However, the main purpose of the mild-hybrid system is so that the Tucson’s engine can shut down on the move when coasting, or earlier when coming to a junction, to help boost efficiency. The small battery runs the power steering, for example.

As with all mild hybrids, the Tucson can’t run on electric power alone, but claimed efficiency of 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 147g/km on this Ultimate model’s large 19-inch alloy wheels are good.

You’ll not notice the electrical assistance on the move, and the Hyundai’s 9.6-second 0-62mph time isn’t exactly rapid, but this is a vehicle that focuses on refinement and comfort, and its nice cruising at a leisurely pace, helped by the dual-clutch gearbox’s smooth but far-from-quick shifts.

Despite the large wheels the car’s ride comfort is okay, with only the really obvious potholes and bumps in the road upsetting the Tucson’s relatively relaxed demeanour.

There’s some road noise and a little bit of background fidgeting to the ride on rough surfaces, but the suspension controls body movements fairly well, aiding comfort.

The steering is light and direct, so the Tucson isn’t taxing to drive, especially at lower speeds where it’s easy to manoeuvre, helped by a suite of sensors and cameras on this Ultimate-spec version. Cameras on the flanks show an image down either the left or right side of the car when you indicate, highlighting on the standard 10.25-inch digital dash what might be in your blind spot. You also get front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.

 Safety tech is excellent and includes blind-spot warning and collision-avoidance assist, collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, autonomous braking, a system that stops you turning across traffic at a junction, rear cross-traffic alert and collision avoidance, semi-autonomous adaptive cruise with lane-follow assist, and lane-keep assist. If the Tucson will be family transport, then it should offer plenty of peace of mind, alongside good practicality.

Despite the mild-hybrid battery, boot capacity is 577 litres, rising to 1,756 litres with the seats folded down. A powered tailgate is also standard. Space in the rear is good enough, a match for the best in the class and it certainly offers the flexibility buyers of mid-size SUVs like this require.

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It backs that up with a level of kit that is extremely impressive, as you’d expect from a top-spec car. Ultimate trim has electric heated and cooled leather seats, three-zone climate control, automatic high-beam LED lights, a panoramic roof and a heated steering wheel.

The central 10.25-inch touchscreen has sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A five-year subscription to Hyundai’s Bluelink connected services is included, plus an upgraded nine-speaker stereo (including a subwoofer) and wireless phone charging. The infotainment works well, with sharp graphics, quick responses and plenty of screen area; the menu system is also logical.

It’s also neatly integrated into the dashboard, with an interior layout that highlights Hyundai is forging ahead with its premium push without compromising ergonomics. The cabin materials are good but not great, while the build is solid, too.

Model: Hyundai Tucson 1.6 T-GDi DCT MHEV Ultimate
Price: £35,390
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl MHEV
Power/torque: 148bhp/250Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto, front-wheel drive 
0-62mph: 9.6 seconds
Top speed: 117mph
Economy/CO2: 43.5mpg/ 147g/km
On sale: Now

Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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