Hyundai Tucson

Premium SE 1.6 T-GDi

Hyundai Tucson, front
Hyundai Tucson, rear
Hyundai Tucson, profile
Hyundai Tucson, interior
Hyundai Tucson, interior, rear
Hyundai Tucson, touchscreen
Hyundai Tucson, boot
Hyundai Tucson, front, dynamic

HYUNDAI has experienced meteoric growth over the past decade and is now firmly established as one of the top 10 car brands in the United Kingdom.

Last year the South Korean giant sold almost 90,000 cars here, achieving its highest ever market share.

More than 27,000 of those were Tucsons.

Having been resurrected in 2015, after briefly being superseded by the ix35, the family-friendly mid-size SUV has quickly become the brand's No.1 UK model.

A makeover in the middle of last year helped to maintain that status, with cosmetic changes to the front and rear ends as well as upgrades to interior materials and equipment freshening things up nicely and ensuring the current version feels modern and well-equipped.

A revised engine line-up features a couple of petrol and diesel options as well as, for the first time in a Hyundai, a mild-hybrid diesel system, as the firm continues to expand its development of eco-models, as it calls them.

Our car, though, was powered by the more traditional 1.6-litre turbocharged T-GDi petrol unit, kicking out a maximum 177ps, mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

This combination is not able to match the fuel-economy of the diesels, claiming an average 37.7 miles per gallon, but offers livelier performance, for those to whom such things matter, and will shift the Tucson from 0-62mph in a sprightly 9.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 126mph.

Handling is competent and assured without being overly dynamic and the well-weighted steering offers good feedback, although it can occasionally feel a little heavy at lower speeds in urban traffic.

There's little body roll in corners, though, and the suspension efficiently irons out all but the worst imperfections in the road surface, while motorway cruising is relaxed and reasonably refined.

Head and leg room is decent all around and, although you'd only want three adults in the back on shorter journeys, three kids should be fine and the rear seats also recline - so everyone can get comfortable.

Softer plastics now cover many of the frequent touchpoints in the cabin, along the dashboard and door panels, for instance, giving it a more upmarket feel, and there are plenty of useful storage cubbies, making the Tucson a pretty decent motor for the average family to travel around in.

The boot, ranging from 513 litres to 1,503 litres, is one of the biggest in class and more than capable of handling most day-to-day family needs as well as trips away.

Four trim levels - S Connect, SE Nav, Premium and SE Premium - are available and all come with generous amounts of technology and convenience features for their respective prices, which has always been a Hyundai strength.

Even entry-level models, which start at a reasonable £22,060, get alloy wheels, a touchscreen infotainment system, digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, rearview camera, autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist.

Stepping up the range adds a bigger touchscreen, navigation, cruise control, various amounts of chrome trim and electric lumbar support for the driver.

Our flagship car costs much closer to £30,000 but for that you get some features that even premium brands don't offer unless you start ticking the options boxes, such as heated and ventilated electrically adjustable front seats, keyless entry and ignition, a heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging and a panoramic tilt and slide electric sunroof.

A five-year, unlimited mileage warranty adds extra peace of mind for potential buyers, rounding off a practical, easy-to-live-with package that has plenty of appeal.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai Tucson Premium SE 1.6 T-GDi

Price: £29,970

Mechanical: 177ps, 1,591cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 126mph

0-62mph: 9.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 37.7

Insurance Group:26

C02 emissions: 173g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles

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